What do you think?
From: Charlene Sears
To: "'Rick Rogers'"
Hi Mr. Rogers,
My vote was based on several requests from business owners and organizationswho are experiencing a dramatic decline in their businesses. I told them ifthey wanted the Camden County Commission to consider their request theyshould put it in writing and submit it to the board. These businesses andorganizations asked that the commission try a temporary suspension of impactfees to see if property owners or people interested in buying a new homewould go ahead an invest in Camden County.
When I worked for my neighbor, Jack Parr last year I started when the marketwas deteriorating for all builders. I saw the progression and through it Isaw how many people and local small businesses depend on home building tostay afloat.
Landscaping Lighting Waste DisposalPainting Hardware ApplianceCabinetry Septic Tank and Well Granite Framing Equipment Rental Concrete Plumbing The Landfill GutterElectrical Roofing Vinyl Siding/SoffitCarpenters Sheetrock Flooring
While I realize that there are other effected vendors most of the time theyare not local and I was more interested in helping our local economy. Theseother companies are material or equipment source vendors. Manufacturers thatmake the products and sell them to our local source providers andcontractors. There are also membership driven organizations that depend onthese local businesses for support. Habitat for Humanity, Civic Groups andthe Chamber of Commerce are some examples.
I also witnessed hardworking people trying to invest in their dream homeonly to find out that banks are not providing enough money for people toafford their home. Even though the federal government had made this moneyavailable to the banks, the banks are not releasing it into the market as Ifeel they should. Local people with excellent credit history and good jobswere told that they would only be financed at 75% and that they would haveto come up with the rest in cash. Banks are also using unrealisticcomparative values when appraising new homes which requires potential homebuyers to need more cash to build.
My Goals for the Suspension of County Impact Fees:
*Keeping Local Businesses Open. By keeping local businesses open wegenerate tax revenue.
*Keeping Local People Employed. Keeping people employed keeps money flowingthrough the entire county.
*Giving a Small Incentive to a Potential Homeowner or Current Property Ownerto Build - $2100 of which we have only collected a little over $40,000 inover a year with the declining market. Many counties charge this feebecause they anticipate future water and sewer services and we have no plansto incorporate water and sewer into the county. I think Camden would bebetter funded by yearly tax revenues than this one time $2100 impact fee.
*Improved Property Values. Currently north end property values aredeclining sharply in comparison to what the properties were purchased forjust 2 - 3 years ago. Thus creating less of a tax base each year and manyproperties have fallen into a state of bankruptcy in which we collect no taxmonies yearly. My goal was to get roof tops on property to reinstateproperty values so that we do two things: Collect needed tax dollars andkeep people from losing value in their property and possibly losing theirproperty. Last year alone our anticipated tax collection of which we set ourbudget by fell short a little over 2 million dollars mainly because ofbankruptcies. I also place blame on the hurdles that banks have put inplace for potential home buyers by requiring so much cash to build a home.This year we feel certain that we will see other properties fail to producerequired tax dollars for our current budget that was set in July 2009. Thiswill put us short coming into our year end June 30, 2010.
*To create improved tax revenues that we can use anywhere in Camden County.At the current impact fee collection rate it would take us a decade to buildany service related need for the north end. These monies must be heldseparately just for the use of a certain affected area. We can't use themas we have needs in other general budget areas. I felt like our decision would be putting more money by way of improvedproperty taxes in the general revenues. This money could be used by morepeople all over the county rather than setting it aside just for one groupin a decade or so.
*To set a 6 month review to see if the suspension of impact fees wouldcreate any improvement for affected businesses. If no improvement then itwould be my recommendation to put the impact fees back in place.
*Not my Goal - Refunding collected impact fees: I did not want to continuethe Commissioner Berry grandstand the other night at the meeting so I didnot buck the refund that Commissioner Keene had placed in his motion but myrequest at the first public hearing will be to not refund this money becauselegally builders would not be required to refund it to the home buyer. The builder already made their profit so this money would be over and above thecontract price and should be left alone at this point. I should have saidsomething the other night but sometimes you have to pick the time and placefor a battle and I knew that we were going to have several meetingspertaining to this subject matter.
I have other reasons but this is getting pretty lengthy and I think I haveexpounded on the most important areas. I am also worried about families,young people looking for work and the increasing crime rate in CamdenCounty. I realize that the entire country is suffering but right now my mainfocus is local economy improvement. I know there is talk about my intentions for re-election but I assure you that if I do run in the upcomingelection my goals do not include sponsorship money from builders or landdevelopers. This industry is suffering and I would not take one dime fromthem for my election especially after working on this suspension of impactfees. I know that I can't make anyone believe otherwise but it will becomeevident if I chose to run for re-election. I have learned from many yearsin politics most people seek to believe the worst and love to bring othersdown. My integrity will be proven if I seek re-election. I have savedenough money to do the election on my own and will not depend on the development industry for support during my re-election should I decide to run.
Thank you for your interest.
Camden County Commissioner - District 4