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Sarasota Tuesday, May. 5, 2009 8 years ago

School impact fees may be suspended

by: Robin Roy City Editor

The Sarasota County School Board unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to ask the County Commission to impose a one-year moratorium on school impact fees, which are one-time fees on new construction.

On the request of the school board, the county created impact fees in 2004 on new construction in the unincorporated portions of Sarasota County, with the money going toward building infrastructure to support new housing developments.

But school board member Frank Kovach introduced the measure to try to help turn the local economy around. Fellow board members supported the idea.

“Our taxes are high already,” said Caroline Zucker, board chairwoman. “Anything we can do to help stimulate the economy.”

New single-family homes are charged about $2,000 in school impact fees. Since 2004, the county has collected $8.3 million in school impact fees.

Sarasota County Commission Chairman Jon Thaxton said relaxing impact fees might do more harm than good.

“(The school board) wants to stimulate more home building?” he asked. “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. The last thing we need are more single-family homes. It doesn’t make sense.”

Thaxton asked if the school board thought the fees were too high, why did they approve them in the first place.

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