Some Homebuilders Blame "Impact Fees" on Higher Building Costs

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Thirty four Florida counties charge an impact fee on new homes to help pay the cost of new schools and roads. The fees add thousands of dollars to the price of a new house.

Doug Buck with the Florida Home Builders Association doesn't think impact fees are fair to the buyer.

Douglas Buck says, "Most of my home sales are from people in the community that are paying taxes, so they’re getting charged twice."

A statewide panel is looking to regulate the fees and how they are used, but local governments want the state to stay out their business. Collier County is one of the fastest-growing in the state, and Commissioner Jim Coletta thinks all those new residents should have to pay for the additional services needed.

Jim says, "I just don't think it's fair for the average taxpayer who's been there for some time to have to pay for the new growth coming into the area."

Many school officials will tell you the problem is at the state level. Lawmakers just aren't putting enough money into education to begin with, so home builders and buyers are getting stuck with the bill.

Florida school boards are caught in the middle.

Wayne Blanton with the Florida Association of School Boards says, "What we really need is a statewide funding program for education and public schools and at that point. Impact fees would not be an issue."

Recommendations are due in time for the spring legislative session. The average cost of a new-construction home in Florida is $270,000, up 10 percent over last year.