Last week Commissioners Lutz and Gibbs were unsuccessful in getting a moratorium on impact fees. This week, the Gainesville/Hall County Homebuilders Association want to get even. I received a forward of an e-mail that they sent to the county commissioners:
“Attention builders and associates affected by construction in Hall County:
Carl Williams, President of the Home Builders Association of Gainesville-Hall County along with Rob Owens of Habitat for Humanity have been working with the Hall County Commissioners trying to jump start the construction industry in Hall County. Since there is basically no construction going on in Hall County to speak of, Carl and Rob proposed a moratorium on impact fees to try and encourage some of the people that are on the fence to make a move and get some builders back to work. The HBA was led to believe that we had the support of the majority of the commissioners.
During the meeting, four people spoke in favor of the moratorium and two (a husband and wife) spoke against it.
As it turned out, the commission voted to defer the impact fees until the occupancy permit is obtained. This is basically a way for the commissioners to pat themselves on the back for doing nothing! Deferring the impact fees will not do anything to encourage building. Billy Powell (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tom Oliver (email@example.com), and Ashley Bell (firstname.lastname@example.org) seem to think that impact fees will generate more revenue than a thriving building industry.
Below is a portion of the email that Carl Williams sent to the Board of Directors concerning this decision:
“Members of the Board,
The county commission has surprisingly voted down the proposed moratorium on impact fees down headed up by Billy Powell and Tom Oliver.” (At the time, Ashley Bell had pledged his support, but apparently flip-flopped.) “I don’t know who else was persuaded by them but no matter, we are going to keep battling on this with the help of Robb Owens. As it stands, the County Commission voted on deferring impact fees until the Certificate of Occupancy is obtained. This doesn’t help us one bit as builders and totally disregards the reason that I purposed the moratorium in the first place which is to make new construction more affordable by getting rid of the taxes associated with building new homes. As you can imagine, by deferring impact fees the Commission hopes that The HBA looks at it as if they are doing something for us when in actuality, they have given nothing. “
I urge every builder to take the time to call the county commission at (770) 535-8288 and/or email the commissioners and let them know how you feel about their support, or lack of support for the building industry in Hall County.
When the next election cycle comes around, please remember the commissioners that support the builders and the ones that do not.”
I don’t think we have heard the last of impact fees. My guess is that when times were good, they probably made a contribution or two to the new “gang of three” (Bell, Oliver and Powell). I wonder which one will be the first to succumb to the pressure. I am putting my money on Bell.
Hugh Hall County Akston