Lee County Commission’s impact fees reduction policy has resulted in $137 million in lost revenues to date

…and 3 ½  more years of losses to come!

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

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 end of FY 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 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 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 end of  FY 2019 Report

As of September 30, 2019, a total of $137 million has been lost over the past 6 ½  years due to the BoCC’s impact fee reduction policy. Of that total, half would have gone to County Administration programs ($69 million, including  $53 million for roads), and $69 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.

What this means is that over the past 6 ½  years the County has permitted residential and commercial development that necessitates $226 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 $89 million of the $226 million deemed necessary to over those costs.  The $137 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 (In FY 2017, the loss was $17 million, in FY 2019 it was $37 million.)

Future Losses

By 2023, the grand total impact fee revenue losses could be a whopping $265 million—more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

Darla Letourneau, October 23, 2019

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