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County Commission Takes Long-Delayed Action on Impact Fees


BRADENTON — At Tuesday's Manatee County Commission meeting, board members finally took up the long-delayed issue of impact fees, which the county has long been undercollecting from developers.

The most recent impact fee study showed that the county was only collecting about 40 cents on the dollar in impact fees, which are the primary funding mechanism for new infrastructure necessitated by development growth.

Last April, the board voted to move forward with an impact fee study on a timeline that would prevent the need for a costly update. Stakeholder engagement was to take place in May and June, followed by the item going to the planning commission in July before coming back to commissioners in August.

In late July of last year, Commissioner George Kruse pointed out that while the county had deactivated the link for public comment on the matter on July 19 (effectively ending the stakeholder engagement process), the item had yet to come before the planning commission, and that the hearing schedule for the county had been pushed back twice, first to Sept. 7 and then to Oct. 5. The commissioner didn't get a straight answer as to why.

Kruse added the topic to a BOCC meeting agenda in November as a commissioner item. This time, County Administrator Charlie Bishop, Deputy County Administrator Courtney De Pol and Director of Development Services Nicole Knapp expressed concerns over the "methodology" used in the study, echoing arguments made by developers and their representatives.

During that meeting, the board ultimately approved a motion to direct staff to begin the public hearing process to increase the current impact fee schedule to 100% of the fee schedule approved as part of the 2015 Impact Fee Study prepared by TishlerBise, which would have been an increase of 10 percent on an amount that the updated study showed was only 40 percent of what was currently prescribed. Public backlash was significant.

At Tuesday's meeting, commissioners had the option of moving forward with the deeply unpopular discount, moving to collect 100 percent of the updated study's amount (which would require another hearing and supermajority vote of the board because of recently passed state statutes), or increasing it by 50% over four years (12.5% per year). Commissioners voted unanimously to choose the last of the three options.

"If we would have moved on this last summer ... we would have been collecting the new impact fees back in December and January," said Kruse. "We collected ... $9.99 million during that time. Even at the 12.5% increase, that means we've left $1.25 million on the table these past two months just by not moving on this and delaying this."

Kruse pointed out the ability to collect 100 percent; however, he ultimately settled for what he felt would be the best he could get.

"I'm just happy we're moving something forward, so I'm not gonna rock the boat or push anything," Kruse told his fellow commissioners ahead of the vote. "I will take what I think we all need to get on this one."


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  • san.gander

    It's very clear the ordinary taxpayers of Bradenton have been underserved by the County Commissioners who have delayed for as long as possible collecting needed impact fees to support our county's infrastructure. It's not as if the money was not there!

    I know what would happen if I were to pay only 40 cents on the dollar of what I owed in my duly apportioned taxes. No excuses Commissioners.

    Friday, February 23 Report this

  • David Daniels

    Note to Commissioner Kruse: When you "rock the boat" - you are speaking for the 400K taxpayers that have been thrown off the boat by the 6 other commissioners and their developer masters. We need you to rock the boat by speaking the truth. What about the $480K thrown away on the study that Bishop, Knapp, and Depol, at the last minute, had unexplained "methodology" concerns? Where were their concerns when they signed off on Beruff's illegal building permits? This minimal impact fee does not come close to what it should be. As one of the 400k taxpayers who are subsidizing growth and the destruction of our environment, I am deeply disappointed that the boat was not rocked.

    Friday, February 23 Report this

  • Debann

    Depol and Knapp. .LOSERS..

    Friday, February 23 Report this

  • ruthlawler

    It is the job of each Commissioner to represent the citizens and to be fiscally responsible. George, I'm disappointed. Disappointed in your response "..not going to rock the boat or push anything." We KNOW the other Commissioners are only protecting the developers, even though each of you are legally obligated to represent the residents and to be fiscally responsible. Giving the developers a break in not covering the costs for infrastructure needed due to their developments and houses they sell FOR A PROFIT, and to have the existing taxpayers pay for the shortage due to insufficient impact fees for infrastructure is unconscionable. It is NOT your job to placate the other Commissioners. Ruth Lawler

    Friday, February 23 Report this

  • rjckeuka4

    Sorry folks...those blaming Kruse aren't seeing it for what it is. As the lone voice in a cesspool of seven there's no way, however he might rock the boat, anything would change. Bottom line, it's up to us to make the CHANGE! Vote the MAGA idiots OUT!!! They've only made the swamp deeper!

    Saturday, February 24 Report this

  • andreart

    Commission is voting 10% of the 2015 study recommendations thus saying they increased impact fees. Laws are that the board can vote 0-100% of the studs recommendations. In 2015, the Board voted 90% of the study recommendations. I understand why George did what he did as someone who sat up there. You need to pick your battles.

    Sunday, February 25 Report this

  • Debann

    I'm with Ruth..rock the boat...the developers are still making money and laughing all the the bank..BUNCH OF LOSERS ON THIS BOCC.. .CHANGE HAPPENS AT THE POLLS..VOTE THEM OUT

    Sunday, February 25 Report this