The Pasco County Commission has unanimously adopted higher school impact fees for new residential construction.
The increases will be phased in over three years, beginning Jan. 1, and will be charged against all new residential construction, except for new age 55-plus communities.
Pasco County school district officials have calculated that the higher fees will generate more than $220.4 million over the next 10 years. Those funds will be used to build one new middle school, one high school, one elementary school and one school for kindergarten through eighth grade.
Hugh Townsend, who served as vice chairman of the Pasco County School Infrastructure Funding Committee, was the lone speaker during the public comment portion of the public hearing.
He offered his wholehearted support for the increased fees.
“I think this is a necessary fee in order to supply the necessary schools for all of the new construction,” Townsend said.
Commission Chairman Mike Moore said “what you’re seeing today is everybody coming together.” He later said the obvious result of the higher fees will be more schools to serve the county’s children.
The fees adopted by commissioners represented a compromise between the recommended rate by a consultant hired by the school district and the rate the building community wanted.
The adopted rate was less than what the school board, parents and other stakeholders wanted, but more than homebuilders and apartment developers wanted.
All five commissioners had committed to the proposed ordinance for the higher fees during a July 11 public hearing. The vote was delayed until Aug. 15 to allow some changes to be made to the final document.
David Goldstein, chief assistant county attorney, told commissioners at the July meeting that by the time the rates reach their final amount in 2020, they will represent 92 percent of what the school district’s consultant had recommended.
At the same meeting, Ray Gadd, deputy superintendent for Pasco County Schools, told commissioners: “We didn’t get everything we wanted, nor did the builders.”
There were other stakeholders who didn’t get everything they wanted, either.
Representatives of the multifamily industry, for instance, failed to persuade commissioners to reduce the proposed fee increases for multifamily dwellings.
Parents also were unable to convince commissioners to adopt the full fees that the school district’s consultant had recommended, and to make them effective this year.
In interviews after the commission’s vote, Pasco County School Board member Colleen Beaudoin and school board vice chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong voiced support for the county commission’s action to raise the fees.
“I’m very excited to move forward with our projects, and I’m very proud of the way everybody worked together,” Beaudoin said.
Armstrong added, “It’s wonderful that all of the partners of the community could come together on this issue because it’s so vital for us to prepare and build the schools that we need for the growth that’s coming to Pasco County.”
Single-family detached: $4,828
Single-family attached: $1,740
Mobile home: $2,843
Effective Jan. 1, 2018
Single-family detached: $7,128
Single-family attached: $2,869
Mobile home: $4,377
Effective Jan. 1, 2019
Single-family detached: $7,728
Single-family attached: $3,111
Mobile home: $4,746
Effective Jan. 1, 2020
Single-family detached: $8,328
Single-family attached: $3,353
Mobile home: $5,114
Consultant’s recommended rate
Single-family detached: $9,028
Single-family attached: $3,634
Mobile home: $5,544
Published August 23, 2017