Fees May Make Impact

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Normally, when you start talking a raise in impact fees, voters get nervous. So far that's not the case in Wakulla County. In fact, some people are looking forward to it.

The building boom in Wakulla County is bringing on the banter.

Penny McKinney says, "We are definitely staying busy. The slowdown of the house market that you read about is not affecting our area."

But with all these new homes, the question is who's going to pay for the extra cost for county services? And this week, we got a glimpse at what the county commission has in mind.

It's calling for a study of impact fees on new construction. The family that moves into this brand new home may send two children to Wakulla County schools. It may use the roads eight times a day, or maybe call the fire or sheriff's office a couple times every few years. Well, that all costs money and the county wants this family to pay for those costs before it moves in.

So far builders aren't balking at the idea of new fees.

Mickey Harbin with HHH Construction says, "No, I don't see a problem. I think the county needs to raise the fees. I think we need more schools and roads need to be paved; the county is growing rapidly."

Penny McKinney, owner of McKinney Properties, says, "I have four children in our school systems here. We have enough elementary schools, but I feel at some point we're going to need a new high school. I don't believe the impact fees will affect the cost of the homes enough to injure the market by any means."

The county will study a raise in the fees over the next few months, and just to show you how fast Wakulla County is growing, builders say right now the county is looking to turn 1,000 acres into new subdivisions.

For new each new home, the impact fee right now is a little more than $1,200.