Letters to the Editor

School impact fee a good lesson

Homes are under construction in the Lakewood Ranch community of Country Club East in this April 2016 file photograph.
Homes are under construction in the Lakewood Ranch community of Country Club East in this April 2016 file photograph. gjefferies@bradenton.com

With much ado, Manatee County commissioners approved two ballot measures in a marathon meeting Tuesday, one to extend a sales tax for schools and another for a new sales tax for roads, police and parks.

But as the meeting wound down, they put an end to the biggest political controversy of the year with no fanfare when they unanimously voted to accept a new impact fee ordinance from the school board.

The first time they saw the ordinance it had a proviso to discount developers’ impact fees 50 percent if people voted to extend the school sales tax. It caused such an uproar that the school board finally took it out.

But that first time, only Commissioners Charles Smith and Robin DiSabatino voted against it.

Mr. Smith was especially vocal. He saw an ethical disgrace, took a principled stand against it and deserves credit for inspiring the community to get the school board to see right from wrong.

For their part, school board members Charlie Kennedy and David Miner kept the issue alive for months.

It was a lesson in good civics which should not go unnoticed.

We’ll now have two clean ballot questions in November. Both, by the way, deserve our support.

Stuart Smith

Bradenton

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