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Bill limiting fees on new home builds headed to Governor DeSantis's desk

Posted at 8:01 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 20:01:23-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. —A bill headed to Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk would prevent Florida counties and cities from hiking up fees associated with new homes over a period of time.

As of now, Florida counties and cities can raise what’s called impact fees, or fees for new builds that go toward infrastructure and public buildings, by as much as they want. Phillip Ford, Vice President of Lee Building Industry Association has seen some governments go overboard.

“We had some jurisdictions impose 160% to 300% increases in impact fees,” he said.

That’s why he wants DeSantis to sign H.B. 337.

“So, the next increase, they couldn’t go up more than 12.5 percent, in a one-year period. And then over a four-year period, it could be no more than 50 percent,” he said.

Some homeowners with the 1,000 Friends of Florida are against the bill, stating it would lead to increased property taxes, and declining roads and infrastructure. But, Ford hasn’t seen any evidence of that.

“With 2.5% a year, I haven’t heard of any commissioner or anybody saying that they can’t get their road projects done for instance,” said Ford. “I haven’t seen property taxes going up in Lee County.

Lee County’s increases are significantly low compared to Punta Gorda which charged as low as $1,100 last year and raised fees by more than three hundred percent to $5,000 this year.

Ford says if DeSantis signs the bill, it will retroactively stop any impact fee hikes signed this year if they exceed the 12.5 percent limit. He said that would include Punta Gorda.