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Osceola County & City of St. Cloud Mobility Fees & Fire Impact Fees Update

Osceola County government and the City of St. Cloud government are preparing to adjust mobility fees and fire impact fees under “extraordinary circumstances.” While The Osceola Chamber has not taken an official position at this time, we request more time to conduct a peer review study and we seek our members’ input on this critical matter.

Mobility fees, by definition, are a one-time charge on new development to pay for off-site transportation improvements that are necessitated by that new development. For illustrative purposes, the owners of a new house drives two cars. Those cars will create more traffic on our roads, so developers pay fees to help manage impacts from those two cars. These costs increase the purchase price of the new house because these costs are incorporated into the costs of building that house. The same goes for building a hospital or grocery store – since cars will travel to these places, they help pay mobility fees for the roads that make it possible. Fire impact fees help address current demands and expand fire and emergency medical services for future needs, including building fire stations and buying fire trucks.

The Osceola Chamber’s Growth Management Task Force (GMTF) maintains an interest in this issue because these fees help the government manage impacts from growth, but these fees also increase costs to developers which increases costs to the consumer. On June 3, 2024, at 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm in the county commission chambers, workshops will be held to discuss a recent study requested by the County. Another workshop will be held on June 10, 2024 and these fees will be considered by a vote on July 1, 2024. This is a very fast timeline, especially considering the request for “extraordinary circumstances.”

Normally, the County can increase these fees by a phase-in option which may not increase the fees by more than 50% and may not increase fees more than once every four years. To qualify as “extraordinary circumstances,” which allows the government to increase by any amount they deem appropriate, the government must 1.) show the extraordinary circumstances are supported by a demonstrated need study, 2.) they must hold two publicly noticed workshops dedicated to the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to increase fees above phase-in limitations, and 3.) they must adopt the fees by a 2/3 vote of the governing body. A 2/3 vote is four of the five commissioners in Osceola County and four of the five council members in St. Cloud.

Stakeholders within the Chamber’s GMTF seek more time to conduct a peer review study to confirm the findings from the County’s report. While the full list of proposed fees can be found in the studies HERE and HERE, some examples of the proposed changes to mobility fees include: single family home 150% in Osceola County, 224% in St. Cloud; mobile home 255% in Osceola County, 560% in St. Cloud; condo/townhouse/multi-family (apartments) 129% in Osceola County, 256% in St. Cloud. There are some decreases though, like: health/fitness/athletic club -10% in Osceola County, -47% in St. Cloud; and places of worship -8% in Osceola County, -29% in St. Cloud. The range for fire impact fees goes from -50% for hospital/clinic to 176% for hotel/motel.

As “Champions for Business and the Osceola community,” we understand current challenges. Osceola County is growing rapidly and everything is more and more expensive. Our vision is to “lead a prosperous regional economy,” and we will continue to work with all parties to find solutions that help more than hinder our quality of life and the success of our businesses and workforce.

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