BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — The Hernando County School Board is asking county commissioners to increase impact fees to account for future growth in schools. But not all commissioners are on board with that plan.

  • Hernando School Board wants county to increase impact fees
  • Fees were reinstituted in 2016 after being suspended in 2011
  • School District requests hike to $6,000 but is hoping for compromise

School Board Vice Chair Linda Prescott said a report from a public finance group in Tampa showed that the district would need to build three new elementary schools and expand some current schools as the county continues to grow.

It’s something they don’t have the money for, she said.

“We felt that it was time these impact fees be raised so the new residents pay their fair share. These particular impact fees in Hillsborough County are what finance their new schools,” Prescott said.

Right now, Hernando County’s impact fees are set at a little more than $2,100. The school board wants to increase them to over $6,000.

Commissioners have to sign off on the plan. At their last meeting last Tuesday, they talked about raising the fees by $1,000 and voted 4-1 to draft an ordinance of that plan.

Commissioner Steve Champion voted against it, because he's concerned it may hurt growth and effect ad valorem tax revenue the school district receives.

“The danger I see here is you’re building 100 houses a month. You put extra fees on, like the septic and extra impact fees, (and) you’re only collecting that one time. If that drops by 50 percent, you lose 50 times 2,000 forever,” Champion said during the meeting. “If they decide not to build, then you don’t have that tax revenue in the future. That’s all I’m saying.”

Prescott said the School Board is hopeful commissioners will agree to some sort of fee increase.

“We’re hoping that we can come to some compromise that perhaps maybe not the whole $6,000 but maybe half of that, and then every year add additional amounts,” she said.

Commissioners are expected to discuss the issue again December 18.

Hernando County reinstated impact fees in 2016. They had stopped in 2011 because of effects from the recession.