Should taxpayers subsidize private companies in Manatee County at the expense of our kids' education?
Of course not, but that is exactly what has been happening since 2009 when the Board of County Commissioners passed Ordinance 09-036, which suspended the collection of school impact fees.
To help offset the cost of new schools, school buses, additional classrooms on existing schools and other capital expenditures needed to accommodate students who will live in newly constructed houses, school impact fees are assessed on those new homes.
Since that fee has not been paid since Jan. 1, 2009, who is paying for all the capital expenditures needed for that new construction?
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You and I are, and we'll be paying even more if the school district gets its wish to increase property taxes and reinstate an expiring sales tax of one-half percent.
Is it fair that we, the existing residents, have to pay for new schools for new and future students? Of course not, but our commissioners aren't concerned with providing our students with the best possible education or in making sure that new residents pay for schools and services.
Instead, they and the school board have not collected over $50 million in impact fees, which can't be recouped from home builders.
At the same time the school district has borrowed tens of millions of dollars to pay for capital expenditures and then claim there's a "surplus."
I am outraged about this, and you should be, too. Our kids deserve better and newcomers should have to pay their fair share.
Tell the commissioners and school board you want collections of school impact fees resumed immediately and that you won't vote in favor of referendums that increase any taxes.
Do it today, everyone. If you don't, you'll soon be paying much higher taxes.