The City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to raise impact fees for parks and recreation, and to begin charging impact fees for police and fire services.
According to information in the City Council agenda packet, the City contracted with Public Resources Management Group to conduct a study needed to support its ability to charge impact fees on new construction for both fire and police services for future capital needs. It also contracted with them to study possible modifications to existing parks and recreation impact fees. All three completed studies have been previously discussed with Council in workshop settings.
PRMG made recommendations based on those studies, which the City Staff recommended to the Council, who accepted the recommendations.
The increased impact fee for parks and recreation will go from $241.05 to $1,060. The new impact fee for police is $747, while the fire impact fee is $708.
The total impact fees for Apopka new housing construction increases from $9,393 to $11,667, which puts it slightly higher than Orange County impact fees ($10,410), but in the middle of similar cities in Florida according to a graph provided by PRMG.
Jeff Welch pushed back on the increased fees.
“I’m not against impact fees,” said Welch, the Immediate Past Chairman of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am against them when they are the highest spike on every one of those comparisons, and I really do believe this would have a negative impact on what we are teeing-up right now… which is great growth. There is a delicate balance between impact fees and general revenues. If your impact fees are high, people will stop annexing and people will stop building… and then your general revenues will become flat. So I would urge the City Council to take a weighted measure on this.”
Commissioner Doug Bankson had given this issue a lot of thought and research he said in his comments, and believes homebuyers would not backup on a purchase because of the increase in impact fees.
“For someone coming to Apopka, knowing that we have top police and fire, top facilities, top parks and recreation… that to me as a home buyer… well I’m not going to balk at that $2,000 difference on the purchase of a house that is $150,000, $250,000 or even higher.”
The final vote on impact fees will come at the January 18th City Council meeting.