It has to be great to set your own rate

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2021, 10:47 AM
Advogado Advogado is offline
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Default It has to be great to set your own rate

IT HAS TO BE GREAT TO BE ABLE TO SET YOUR OWN TAX RATE

Background of the 25% Property Tax Hike. In case any readers still don't know about the Developer's sweetheart impact fee and our huge property-tax hike to preserve it, they can watch this video, recorded at the County Commissioner's hearing on September 24, 2019-- as the Developer's puppets on the Commission were about to hike our property tax 25% to preserve that sweetheart fee: Scott Fenstermaker--How can five guys screw 125000 people? - YouTube

As a result of that property-tax increase, we the voters of Sumter County, last year, woke up to what had been going on and tossed out the three Developer's puppet Commissioners (Butler, Burgess, and Printz) who were up for re-election, and we voted in the EMS team of Estep, Miller, and Search. We did so on the basis of a promise by Estep, Miller, and Search to roll back the property tax hike by requiring the Developer to pay for his own county infrastructure through a reasonable impact fee.

Now this tax-reform process is in doubt.

The Developer's Efforts to Keep His Sweetheart Impact Fee. This process is in doubt because the Developer is doing everything in his power to preserve his sweetheart impact fee. He is lobbying the County Commissioners, packing a Commission meeting with his contractors and allies, filling the meeting parking lot with his contractors' heavy equipment so there were no parking spaces for the public, and running a series of propaganda articles in his newspaper vilifying impact fees. His latest ploy is an attempt to “voluntarily” raise his sweetheart road impact fee by 40% in exchange for protection from imposition from any other impact-fee increases. Well, a 40% increase of his sweetheart road impact fee won't come close to covering the costs of all county infrastructure that the Developer should be paying for.

A Comparison of Impact Fees. It is interesting to compare the impact fees that the Developer would pay in Collier County (where his puppets do not set impact fees) with what he pays in Sumter County:
In Collier County, the builder of a retirement community would pay impact fees for:
>Community Parks,
>Regional Parks,
>Roads,
>EMS,
>Schools,
>Government Buildings,
>Libraries,
>Law Enforcement,
>Jail,
>Water,
>Sewer, and
>Fire.
The total of these impact fees in Collier County is approximately $24,000/house, the exact amount depending on where in the county it is built.

In Sumter County, the Developer pays an impact fee of only $972 for roads. (This is only 40% of what the impact-fee study calculated each of his houses is costing the county for new roads). THE DEVELOPER PAYS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR THE OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE that Collier County collects for. Who pays for all the stuff that the Developer doesn't pay for? We, the residents (individuals and existing businesses), do. The Daily Sun articles claim that reasonable impact fees in Sumter County would “paralyze” growth here. Nonsense. The impact fees are 25 times higher in Collier County, and growth there has not been “paralyzed”. Reasonable impact fees allow lower property taxes and are good for the economy. For the truth about the economic benefit of paying for new infrastructure via impact fees, check out this report: Paying for Prosperity: Impact Fees and Job Growth

What Voters Can Do Now to Get Our Property Tax Rolled Back. If the EMS Team had stuck together and stuck to their promises, with 3 of the 5 Commissioners, the process would have started already. But, for some reason, Mr. Estep made a motion to delay even considering the necessary impact-fee increase for six months, and it was passed with the votes of Mr. Search and Developer puppet Breeden. After Mr. Estep was criticized by the public for his motion, Mr. Search came to his defense in the on-line news, calling voters who believed Mr. Estep's campaign promise of tax reform “ill-informed”. In light of the Developer's brazen proposal to set his own tax rate, it looks like the Developer thinks that he has flipped at least one member of the EMS Team and thus controls at least 3 of the 5 votes. Meantime, the six-month delay puts millions of dollars into the Developer's pocket, at our expense, as the Developer pays impact fees at the sweetheart rate and we subsidize him as our property tax accrues at its inflated rate.

Given the fact that the Developer feels confident enough about his influence over the County Commission to believe that he can set his own tax rate, what can we, the voters, do to successfully roll back the massive property-tax increase? I have to admit: I don't know.

The Sad Conclusion.
The sad truth is that we won the battle by voting out the Developer's puppets (Butler, Burgess, and Printz). However, in light of the votes of Mr. Estep and Mr. Search, the Developer may have won the war. Probably all we can do is contact Messrs. Estep and Search and insist they keep their promise to us. We can also contact Mr. Miller and thank him for keeping his. Contact information is available here: About the Commissioners | Sumter County, FL - Official Website Obviously, contacting Messrs. Gilpin or Breeden would be a waste of time. We have to vote them out next year.

Last edited by Advogado; 02-15-2021 at 12:05 PM.
  #2  
Old 02-15-2021, 11:35 AM
John41 John41 is offline
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The developer puppets are posting on TOTV fake news that construction will halt if full impact fee is assessed. New commissioners will roll back the tax increase according to POA.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:11 PM
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2021, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by John41 View Post
The developer puppets are posting on TOTV fake news that construction will halt if full impact fee is assessed. New commissioners will roll back the tax increase according to POA.
The developer made a proposal to voluntarily increase just their impact fee about $400 which is to be discussed at the meeting tomorrow. They also asked for a four year freeze at that amount. Obviously the developer knows that they have been getting away with an extraordinarily low impact fee. The 2019 study on just the road costs for developing south of Rt. 44 called for a $2430 impact fee for The Villages. They have been paying $972 since 2019.

The three new Commissioners campaigned on a platform of rolling back the 25% tax increase we received in 2019 and increasing the impact fees to 100% instead of the current 40%, a 60% discount. They have been in office long enough to have done so. All Sumter County homeowners are paying the increased taxes EVERY year, while an impact fee is paid only ONCE. Send an email to the two new Commissioners who are not willing to keep their campaign pledge. Their email addresses are; craig.estep@sumtercountyfl.gov and gary.search@sumtercountyfl.gov.
  #5  
Old 02-15-2021, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kappy View Post
The developer made a proposal to voluntarily increase just their impact fee about $400 which is to be discussed at the meeting tomorrow. They also asked for a four year freeze at that amount. Obviously the developer knows that they have been getting away with an extraordinarily low impact fee. The 2019 study on just the road costs for developing south of Rt. 44 called for a $2430 impact fee for The Villages. They have been paying $972 since 2019.

The three new Commissioners campaigned on a platform of rolling back the 25% tax increase we received in 2019 and increasing the impact fees to 100% instead of the current 40%, a 60% discount. They have been in office long enough to have done so. All Sumter County homeowners are paying the increased taxes EVERY year, while an impact fee is paid only ONCE. Send an email to the two new Commissioners who are not willing to keep their campaign pledge. Their email addresses are; craig.estep@sumtercountyfl.gov and gary.search@sumtercountyfl.gov.
This is why I think there should be a little give and take from both the developer and the homeowners.

Developers are offering to increase their impact fee almost 50% to just under $1500 per unit.

Homeowners could agree to that, and kick in a lower contribution of - instead of 25%, maybe 15% increase in the rate.

In this way, everyone pays a little more than they did previously, no one bears the entire burden, and the increases are manageable for almost everyone. And honestly - if a 15% increase from what you've been paying for the past 14 years is too much, then you are living above your means.

The only people I would feel badly for are people who moved in, within the last couple of years. They will only have enjoyed their current tax burden for a short period of time and then socked with the increase. People who've lived in the county for a decade or more have enjoyed a lower-than-necessary tax burden, and are now simply being asked to catch up.
  #6  
Old 02-15-2021, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by OrangeBlossomBaby View Post
This is why I think there should be a little give and take from both the developer and the homeowners.

Developers are offering to increase their impact fee almost 50% to just under $1500 per unit.
p.
Did the developer offer give and take on house price or the bond? No!
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2021, 03:05 PM
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I offered to pay 60% of the cost of my groceries at Winn-Dixie today and they refused to accept it.

What am I doing wrong?
  #8  
Old 02-15-2021, 03:20 PM
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Even though I come from the tax capital of the world, any developer that wants to build is asked to make upgrades to the area around them. One company restructured a whole intersection, a mere million dollars and it was a mile away from the 1 building being built by the developer.

I’m moving to Sumter County in 4 months and I’m worried about how things are done by the developer.
  #9  
Old 02-15-2021, 07:18 PM
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I suspect when the county budget was studied by the new commissioners, they realized they can not roll back the 25% property tax increase and increase the impact fees high enough to make up the difference. I read either on TOTV or the newspaper that the impact fee cannot be raised on just the developer of the over 55 retirement community. If raised on the developer of the Villages, it would also have to be raised on builders of all non-retirement community homes, retail and commercial buildings etc in the county. While I do not know if that is correct and while I have no idea of the multiple line items of the counties budget, I do not know what level of impact fee increase even makes sense. The developer is not asking for his impact fee to be increased, he is volunteering to pay 40% more so that the fee does not have to be increased on all other new construction also.

Second, you cannot compare Collier county with Sumter County. Collier is one of the wealthiest counties per capita while Sumter is a more rural county. Look at the difference in cost of living in Naples or Bonita Springs versus The Villages or Wildwood or Bushnell. I imagine there is a big difference between wealth per capita in Sumter versus Collier counties also.

Third the developer built the Charter school, which I believe is not supported by county taxes. His plans for the next 3 to 5 years include a new K-8 charter school and a new Charter High School in the southern area of development. The developer builds parks in his development in the form of rec centers, golf courses, hiking trails, pickle ball courts, pools, preserves, etc. So comparing to Collier county is more like comparing apples to oranges.

The bond we assume when we buy new construction pays for the cost of the sewers, water lines, roads, electricity lines, internet and cable lines, phone lines etc within the confines of his development.
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mincey596 View Post
Even though I come from the tax capital of the world, any developer that wants to build is asked to make upgrades to the area around them. One company restructured a whole intersection, a mere million dollars and it was a mile away from the 1 building being built by the developer.

I’m moving to Sumter County in 4 months and I’m worried about how things are done by the developer.
....and the commissioners.
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  #11  
Old 02-15-2021, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mincey596 View Post
Even though I come from the tax capital of the world, any developer that wants to build is asked to make upgrades to the area around them. One company restructured a whole intersection, a mere million dollars and it was a mile away from the 1 building being built by the developer.

I’m moving to Sumter County in 4 months and I’m worried about how things are done by the developer.
Coming from tax capital of the world (is that Illinois, California,or NYC?) taxes around here will be least of you’re worries?
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Old 02-15-2021, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by OrangeBlossomBaby View Post
This is why I think there should be a little give and take from both the developer and the homeowners.

Developers are offering to increase their impact fee almost 50% to just under $1500 per unit.

Homeowners could agree to that, and kick in a lower contribution of - instead of 25%, maybe 15% increase in the rate.

In this way, everyone pays a little more than they did previously, no one bears the entire burden, and the increases are manageable for almost everyone. And honestly - if a 15% increase from what you've been paying for the past 14 years is too much, then you are living above your means.
.
Do you know the developer is a billionaire and many seniors here depend on SS. Talk about reverse Robin Hood steal from the poor to give to the rich. Nice.
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  #13  
Old 02-15-2021, 10:38 PM
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Dam, can my pension and Social Security go up 25% and be subsidized by someone else? How nice would that be : )
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:03 AM
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If the bond does not pay for infrastructure, what is it used for? Pure profit?
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:26 AM
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If the bond does not pay for infrastructure, what is it used for? Pure profit?
The bond pays for all the infrastructure WITHIN the development. It did not pay for improvements to existing county network roads such as Warm Springs Road, hwy 501, Meggison Road, whatever the county highway was numbered (462?) that was the extension of Morse Road south of 44, the repaving of Morse and Buena Vista between 44 and 466, etc
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