There are lots of reasons why the moratorium should be allowed to sunset in October. Job creation is one of them. In Tampa alone, over $1 Billion
in new development (which doesnt even scratch the surface of the 'development' spurred by the moratorium in the past year, which is in the ten million-ish range) occured from similar infrastructure programs sa those spelled out (and funded by) over the next 5 years in the Mobility Plan.
Community building is another. The Mobility Plan quite simply creates stronger neighborhoods. It took 2 years of public input to determine what type of community we want to be and as such the will of the community is reflected in the Mobility Plan.
But in this day and age of having to choose b/w shutting down libraries, reducing availability of fire stations, cutting police and the failure to do even the most basic things like cutting the grass... this quote really sums it up in my book:
Council members you voted for this moratorium and left us with the bill.
The burden of these future (and necessary) capital expenditures shifts away from the developers who agreed to pay for them (which was a far more fair system to the development community than the haphazard and regressive nature of the previous concurrency fee) and on to the backs of the general taxpayer.
The Jax Biz Journal just ran a story last week citing that the citizens of Jacksonville lived in the 9th most financially distressed community in the nation. Is it fair to place the financial burden on the shoulders of those that are already at the breaking point? Or would it be more fair for this fee to be payed again by those that agreed to it in the first place? The general taxpayer didn't hold a referendum and vote to have more of a financial burden placed upon them.
Realize that the Mobility Fee is not a make or break proposition for development. If that were the case, you wouldnt have half a dozen multi-family apartment complexes currently being built around the Town Center area that are not subject to the Mobility Fee in the first place. These projects are in a seperate transportation management area and as such pay a pre-determined trip fee based on the number of vehicle trips that results from the building of that particular project. This construction has happened (like all projects do) b/c of unmet demand and the availability of cheap money from the banks (construction loans are currently under 4%, which is incredibly cheap).
You need a minimum of 30% equity into new construction loans now. The Mobility Fee (which is MUCH lower than the old concurrency system) represents around 2-3% of a development's cost. If you are searching your couch cushions for change and selling lemonade on your front lawn to make up for that last 2-3% of your project's cost... you quite simply don't have a financially viable project to begin with.
If the Mobility Fee scares off development in Jacksonville, then why is St Johns County (which has an impact fee, which is more expensive than the Mobility Fee) outpacing Duval County in housing permits this year? Is it b/c their schools are better, thus more people want to live there?
If the moratorium spurred hundreds of millions in new development, I would change my mind. But it hasn't. The experiment failed. It's time to pick up the pieces and move on. It's time for City Council to stand beside those they serve and continue the good work of making Jacksonville a better place.