Sarasota Herald-Tribune | By Steven Walker | June 28, 2022
The Sarasota County School District expects to collect an additional $3.4 million over the next five years for building new schools and other capital projects after the School Board voted to phase in a 50% increase in impact fees this month.
The board’s vote on the fee increase June 7 was unanimous. It marks the first increase in impact fees for education since 2016.
Impact fees are a one-time charge on new construction to help offset the cost of accommodating population growth for roads, parks, schools and other services.
The increase in fees now goes to the County Commission for a procedural vote this fall, since the county serves as the collection point for impact fees. The increase will take place over a four-year period, and differs depending on what type of dwelling unit someone lives in. By the fourth year, single-family, multi-family and mobile home units will pay $3,048, $774 and $282, respectively.
The anticipated revenue increase over the coming decade was projected by a board study. The fees must be spent in the next five years, and the funds are earmarked for development.
The district has several school construction projects in the works, including a new high school and K-8 school in Wellen Park and a K-8 school near Clark and Lorraine roads.
Some members called the change overdue. The rapid increase of students in Sarasota County since the last fee increase drove the need for the change, they said.
“This has been a long time coming,” said board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin. “… We really are in a growth mode now. And we have to do something “
With the board voting unanimously, District 1 Board member Bridget Ziegler expressed agreement with the fee increase.
“We know we’re building, we know we’re growing, and we know how important our schools are to our community,” Ziegler said.