$270 Million Infrastructure Deficit if Lee County Does Not Change

Lee County Commission’s impact fees reduction policy has resulted in $147 million in lost revenues to date, with a total loss of over $270 million projected before the policy is set to expire

Today Lee Future is releasing the latest Quarterly Impact Fee Revenues Report.  This report documents the actual revenues lost (and collected) from the beginning of the impact fee reduction policies in March 2013 through the 1st Quarter of FY 2020.

Lee Future Report by Darla Letourneau published Jan. 20, 2020.

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Background on Quarterly Impact Fee Revenues Reports

The County has gone to great lengths not to provide the public with any data on impact fee revenue losses as a result of their impact fee reduction policy.   By State law, the impact fee revenue reports are required to be available to the public. The County’s Department of Community Development does prepare a monthly report on impact fee revenues collected each month by type of impact fee and by impact fee district.  This report is not posted on the County’s website.  It is only made available to the public upon request.

From this official County data, quarterly reports have been prepared since 2013, keeping track of the cumulative amount of impact fee revenues (by type of impact fee) that have been collected as well as lost over the past 81 months.  These reports have been distributed to interested citizens throughout Lee County.    These reports simply present the County’s official data in a form that many citizens want to know, i.e., how much revenue are we losing from this impact fee reduction policy.  County officials have steadfastly refused to acknowledge the existence of the revenues lost number.

Summary of 1st Quarter 2020 Report

These are not projections; they are actual revenue numbers from the County’s Office of Community Development monthly reports.   The “revenues lost” number is simply subtracting what was collected from the full rate (100% rate) to arrive at the difference—the lost revenues). * This represents the unfunded infrastructure costs incurred with the approved permits.

*The Board set the collection rates at 20% from March 2013 –March 2015; 45% from March 2015 through March 2019; 47.5% March 2019- March 2020, and each subsequent year increasing it by a 2.5% inflator.

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What this means is that over the past 6 ¾ years the County has permitted residential and commercial development that necessitates $244 million in infrastructure costs for new or expanded infrastructure to support that development (based on the state-mandated impact fee update studies).  However, the County has collected only $97 million of the $244 million deemed necessary to cover those costs.  The $147 million deficit will need to be covered somehow in the future.  The amount of revenues lost each year has more than doubled in the past 2 years—from $17 million to $37 million.

Future Losses

By 2023, the grand total impact fee revenue losses could be a whopping $272 million—more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

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