Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

`Fair Share' Bond Plan Is Risky for Taxpayers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

`Fair Share' Bond Plan Is Risky for Taxpayers

Article excerpt

Hey, wake up!

Most of us, myself included, probably haven't been paying much

attention to the ongoing debate over so-called "fair share"

agreements.

Quite frankly, the subject is complicated and kind of boring,

unless it's your life that's being turned into a nightmare by

out-of-control growth, but it's a debate to which we should all

start paying attention.

Here's the deal:

"Fair share" agreements allow developers to proceed with

projects in already congested areas if they will help pay the

cost of needed road work.

Let's make up an example:

A developer wants to build a subdivision on Parking Lot Road.

Parking Lot is already stressed by too much traffic and the

subdivision would add an additional 50 cars to the mix.

To handle the existing traffic flow plus the additional 50 cars

that would come with the development, Parking Lot Road needs to

be widened.

The city determines that the developer's "fair share" of the

cost of that widening project -- considering the 50 cars the

subdivision is adding to the road -- is $100,000.

The developer agrees to pay the $100,000, receives approval for

the subdivision and builds it.

There is, of course, a hitch.

In order to be eligible for the fair share agreement, the road

has to be part of a financially feasible five-year plan to get

the work done.

For the purpose of this example, let's say Parking Lot Road is

on such a five-year project list backed by gasoline tax

revenues.

The work on Parking Lot Road will cost $2 million. The city

doesn't have the $1.9 million it needs to add to the pot to get

the work done right away.

Besides road projects take time for such things as design, land

acquisition and actual construction.

Parking Lot Road eventually will be widened. …

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