County Commission’s Impact Fee Reduction Policy Loses County Millions of Dollars

Lee County Commission’s impact fee reduction policy has resulted in $127 million in lost revenues to date – and almost 4 more years of losses to come!

The current impact fee reduction ordinance expires in March 2023. By that time, the total impact fee revenues lost could be more than a quarter billion dollars.

Today, Lee Future is releasing the latest Quarterly Impact Fee Revenue Report. This report documents the actual revenues lost from the beginning of the impact fee reduction policies in March 2013 through the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2019.

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 prepares a monthly report on impact fee revenues collected by type of impact fee and by impact fee district. However, 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 lost over the past six years (as well as what’s been collected). 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 3rd Quarter FY 2019 Report

As of June 30, 2019, a total of $127 million has been lost over the past 6 ¼ years due to the BoCC’s impact fee reduction policy. Of that, $63.4 million would have gone to County Administration programs ($48 million for roads) and $63.4 million to the School District.

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 (at 20% rate through May 2015; and 45% from June 2015 to the present) from the full rate (100% rate) to arrive at the difference (55% = the lost revenues). This represents the unfunded infrastructure costs incurred with the approved permits.

That means, over the past 6 ¼  years, the County has permitted residential and commercial development that necessitates $207 million in infrastructure costs for new or expanded infrastructure (roads, schools, parks) to support that development (based on the state-mandated impact fee update studies). However, the County has collected only $80 million of the $207 million deemed necessary to cover those costs. The $127 million deficit will need to be covered somehow in the future. 

Future Losses

By 2023, the grand total impact fee revenue losses could be a whopping $261.8 million – more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

How can we expect to sustain Lee County’s continuous growth without full impact fees to fund it?

[ Click Here to Read the Full Impact Fees Report ]


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