Consultant suggests 775% increase for Polk development fees, frozen since 2008

It may cost individuals more to buy a new home in Polk County if commissioners follow the recommendation of a consultant’s new report, which suggests the county raise its development fees by a whopping 775%.

"That’s ridiculous," said Sarah Case, vice president of ECON South.

ECON South is a planning company involved in Cypress Point at Lake Parker, a proposed, moderately priced Lakeland subdivision targeting teachers, firefighters, nurses and first-time homebuyers.

Development fees are assessed to cover the costs of monitoring and inspecting new construction.

"Residential site inspections are $1,250," Case explained. "The proposed fee is $10,000."

Polk County froze its development fees in 2008 when the recession hit. Even though a consultant has looked at the situation every five years and advised the county to raise its fees, Polk refused.

Polk County Commission Chairman Rick Wilson says the county often comes up short and has to take money from an area to subsidize the services it provides.

"We take that money out of the general fund, and when you take it out of the general fund, you’re affecting everyone in the county that’s paying taxes," Wilson said.

READ Realtor offers tips for buying a home amid 'frenzy' in Tampa Bay housing market

READ Lakeland's Midtown Lofts move city toward affordable housing goals

Commissioners plan on kicking around the idea of a possible increase next week.

"What it is going to be at the end of the day, I can’t answer that," Wilson commented.

But he says it would be more reasonable than what the consultant is suggesting.


Download our free news app

Sign up for our daily newsletter