Commissioners made the wrong choice on school impact fees
On Tuesday, the Hernando County commissioners voted not to reinstate the school impact fees. The commissioners were wrong. The citizens of Hernando will now be facing significantly higher property taxes to pay to fund the needs of the school district.
The Commissioners bought into the self serving arguments that "Bob the Builder" and friends put forth anytime that the reinstatement of impact fees is broached: the building industry has not recovered from the housing bubble burst in 2008 and they cannot compete if the impact fees are reinstated. It is not the responsibility of the County Commission or the residents of Hernando County to subsidize businesses that are not competitive.
One has to ask the question, why have the Hernando County builders not been able to compete? Regardless of the builders' rhetoric, it's not the impact fees. This is clearly evident if one drives anywhere in Pasco County where there is large-scale construction all along State Road 54 from U.S. 19 through Wesley Chapel and there is new home construction off the major roads. Pasco County has a school impact fee of $4,876.28 per single-family home unit plus a transportation impact fee of $13,816 per single-family homes between 1,501 and 2,499 square feet for a total of $18,692 - not including park, library and fire rescue impact fees. Pasco County has also elected to adopt a more stringent construction code to address the county's sinkhole issues. The Hernando County builders oppose adopting a more stringent construction code because they don't believe that the sinkhole problem is that bad.
So, if impact fees are not the reason that the Hernando County builders have not recovered from the housing bubble burst, perhaps it is because the county does not provide high quality schools. We rank 38th of 67 counties in Florida. Hernando lacks good schools, roads, parks and other amenities that businesses and families seek when choosing a location.
If Hernando County is to recruit new businesses and industries that will not degrade Hernando County's environment, the county has to support the diversification of industries and not be as reliant on the builders and real estate industry. Of course, if you follow the money trail, the county commissioners are still reliant upon the builders for their election campaign funding so the schools will continue to suffer and so will all the other citizens in the county.
Regarding James Woods' March 9 letter about a lack of foreign car dealerships in Hernando County: I recently bought a new Nissan truck and, yes, had to go to Citrus County to do so. I asked the dealership about this and was told that the manufacturer (Nissan) guarantees each dealer a zone of exclusivity to guarantee that their dealers don't cannibalize each other's customer base. I think that the distance is a radius of 25 miles or something like that.
The best and logical location for car dealerships in Hernando County is along the U.S. 19 and State Road 50 corridors, but, for Nissan anyway, you can't sell there without being too close to either the Pasco or Citrus dealerships. I don't know the rules for other makes.
Fortunately, because my dealer sells other makes in Hernando County, I don't have to drive to Citrus for routine maintenance. It can be done at their dealership on Cortez Boulevard.
John S.V. Weiss
"It's Not The Bag's Fault"
That darn plastic bag! It's in trouble again. Apparently, it has jumped out of someone's hand or escaped from the car and yelled, "I'm out of here and I am going to litter the beach, the park or the highway!"
Well, we shouldn't blame the plastic bag, just because a person didn't dispose of it properly.
Instead of blaming the bag, let's remind our friends, family and neighbors to recycle their plastic bags. Many retailers will take them back. For example, your local Publix has a convenient receptacle right at the entrance so you can drop them off. Plastic bags are then recycled and made into items like shopping baskets or planters.
To find other locations, go to www.abagslife.com and click on the "Find the Location" icon. You will find several other retailers who will be happy to take the plastic bags back and recycle them.
Make sure you recycle the plastic bags at your business too.
So let's stop blaming the plastic bags for littering. Instead let's give that plastic bag a new life.
Florida Recycling Partnership