I borrowed heavily from Ennis Davis's various posts. I don't think it's good to resend identical emails in general though. Use concpets and points, but not copy & paste. Those are easy to spot.
Thank you for your service.
I and many others are very disappointed to learn about your support to place a moratorium on mobility fees, which are the integral part of the recently approved, award-winning 2030 Mobility Plan.
Waiving these fees has the direct result of forcing tax payers to subsidize private development and it's negative impact on infrastructure 100%, which would otherwise be paid by the developer.
Here's a few things to consider:
- The 2030 Mobility Plan has a broad base of support and stands to benefit the entire city. Waiving this fee cuts the plan off at it's knees and neuters it before it ever has a chance to work.
- A recent Dollar General development generated about $60,000 worth of mobility fees. That's one small development. Expound that out, and you can see how much money the City of Jacksonville is sacrificing that is supposed to go towards public infrastructure, transit improvement, and Quality of Life projects. $60,000 alone can go along way, as many aspects of the plan are relatively low cost and easy to implement. I hope that you will be keeping track of the total amount of fees waived, as that's the amount of money the City of Jacksonville will be forgoing, and the amount that you are asking the tax payer to cover. The cost of maintaining and adjusting infrastructure due to new development will not cease to exist because you waive the fees, nor will the demand for new transit options and improved QOL. The costs will simply be shifted to the tax payer instead of the developer.
- Concurrency, mobility fees, impact fees, or whatever name we choose for them, did not create the economic crisis of underwater homes, vacant strip malls and office complexes that consume our landscape now, and waiving these fees will not solve the problem. There will be no landslide of new development that pulls Jacksonville out of the doldrums because developers save 1%-5% on initial costs, which are only shifted to the public. Placing the burden on an already struggling taxpayer will not stimulate the economy. However, it will hamper us by indefinitely delaying the public infrastructure improvements that Jacksonville must invest in to economically compete with its peers in the 21st century economy. Study after study indicates that educated professionals, the demographic that every city is competing for, desire the attributes that the 2030 Mobility Plan will create. Jacksonville has fallen behind it's peer cities on this very important issue, and will continue to as long as the plan is shelved.
- There is no factual evidence that this strategy has successfully worked in any location in Florida. Literally. TischlerBise, a nationally recognized fiscal & economic planning firm, detailed this very issue in a recent news letter, which I have attached to this email for you to read at your earliest convenience. The numbers don't lie, and neither do the plethora of objective analysts and experts who disagree with the exact action you are currently considering. Here is the first paragraph of the article:
5 Reasons Not to Reduce or Waive Impact Fees in an Economic Downturn
by TischlerBise Fiscal & Economic Newsletter
Many elected officials are considering or being pressured by outside groups (e.g., home builders) to either waive, reduce or enact moratoriums related to impact fees, claiming that it will act as a means of stimulating new development and new economic activity. Some local governments around the country have already suspended or eliminated their impact fees in an attempt to encourage development. To date there is no evidence of the efficacy of this action.
The full article is attached to this email.
- Jacksonville does not lack in available, existing development. In fact, we are drastically overbuilt. What we do lack in is any coherent reinvestment plan of our existing development and infrastructure. The 2030 Mobility Plan would address a large portion of this, while generating jobs via all the various projects and initiatives within the plan. It is rather ironic that while the Plan is receiving state-wide and national recognition, often being cited as a model for others, you are considering gutting it of it's most valuable mechanism.
In closing I'd like to say this.
We, Jacksonville residents and leaders, all say we want a better Quality of Life, parks, transportation options, and to be considered a first rate city. We want to be a destination where people choose to live, work, and visit, rather than just a pass through.
However, we don't want to pay fees, or taxes, to fund these projects. When someone, the now former Planning Director Bill Killingsworth, finally creates an innovative way to fund improvements without tax dollars, the approved plan is cut off at the knees, while increasing the financial burden of development on ourselves. We complain about the amount of money the Skyway loses but then fall in love with an Outer Beltway that will need a level of annual subsidies that could be as much as 12 times the Skyway's. We claim to want to be fiscally conservative, but when there's a new proposal to save $800,000 by not building a tiny road in the front of the courthouse, we complain about that too.
We can use buzz words and preach about our potential all day, but the one and only thing holding Jacksonville back from greatness is ourselves.
Thank you very much.
"If I dress good, I look good; If I look good, I feel good; If I feel good, I play good; and if I play good, they pay good!" - Deion Sanders