BROOKSVILLE - Five months after a $38,899 education impact fee study was approved by the Hernando County School Board, it appears the study will not be completed in time for county commissioners to consider before voting Oct. 8 whether to extend the moratorium on the fees.
School Superintendent Lori Romano said the study is basically finished, and that the final draft will be complete in November.
School board members agreed to wait two weeks until the study is complete before they begin any correspondence with commissioners about impact fees. Board member Cynthia Moore said the board could request commissioners postpone their decision six months.
"I think it would not hurt for us to ask, and explain that we'll have our study done," she said.
The workshop discussion Tuesday consisted of most of the same comments by school board members as those that preceded the education impact fee study beginning in February.
The study was established, with a $15,000 enhanced analysis and more than $12,000 in assistance from commissioners, to provide updated land value data that could possibly award more tax funding to the district in the event the moratorium is lifted.
School board members echoed comments about how, even if the district is eligible for more impact fees, commissioners may still snuff their requests for funding.
Board Chairman Matt Foreman, who opposes impact fees on new real estate and business developments, said the fees disproportionately affect a small population in the community, and won't generate as much revenue for schools as other measures not being discussed.
"If we're that concerned, how come nobody mentioned the rollback rate?" he said. "The truth is, supporting impact fees just feels like a cop out, and you should just go ahead and vote on a millage increase."
The school board did not enter into any serious discussion about the rollback rate or about increasing the millage rate, which would entail raising property taxes to fund education.
Board member John Sweeney said it is important that new land value data be provided regarding impact fees, and added he feels the county needs job growth.
Sweeney declined to take a stance until the study is complete, and Vice Chairman Gus Guadagnino said he thinks it is ridiculous that education is funded by property values, and also declined to take a stance until the study is complete.
Guadagnino also said the purpose of suspending impact fees was to improve real estate values.