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Thursday, February 02, 2023

County debate over increasing fees goes late into the night

The Alachua County Commission did not approve or disapprove increasing fees to help pay for the costs of road work by press time Tuesday night

The debate over the fees that would help offset the costs of roadwork in the county went late into the night.

Over 30 people voiced their opinions for and against the impact fee.

Impact fees require people or businesses that are building in the county to pay a cost based on several factors to the county.

County Commissioner Mike Byerly spoke in favor of the increase in impact fees.

BImpact fees reduce the tax burden on the tax paying public,C he said.

Alachua County Impact Fee Administrator Jonathan Paul presented information on proposed Transportation Impact Fee amendments.

According to information from the Florida Department of Transportation, Paul said, in 2004 it cost ,1.75 million per land mile to build a lane of road. In 2006 that number increased to ,3.74 million due to an increase in cost of labor and construction materials, Paul said.

The Builders Association of North Central Florida, represented by Melissa Murphy, opposed any increase.

Murphy said that the only people to pay the fee are those who want to buy or build new homes, or those who wish to buy, expand or relocate businesses.

BTo single out those people to pay thousands of dollars implies that they are the only ones who benefit from the development,C Murphy said.

BGrowth is not an event. It is not a process,C she said. BIt is people.C

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She said everyone should share the cost.

Murphy also said that little has been released about where the more than ,3 million has been spent since the fee went into effect.

BIt is very frustrating to not see where this money is being spent,C she said. BSurely there has been time, for the money is in the bank and no plan has been communicated.C

The fee was adopted on Sept. 28, 2004 and went into effect on March 28, 2005.

Every two years, it must be re-evaluated but not necessarily changed.

Since March 2005, the cost of constructing additional roadway capacity has increased more than 100 percent.

If the increase was passed, Florida statute requires a 90-day period to provide public notice of the amendment.

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