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Broward County Commercial Linkage Fee – Affordable Housing

For those of you that are not aware, Broward County is contemplating a Commercial Linkage Fee to be imposed on all new construction summarized below:

  • Retail and Office (Including Restaurants) - $1.00 - $5.00 psf
  • Other Non-residential - $.50 - $2.50 psf
  • There could be some waivers for public projects, schools, houses of worship, not-for-profits, etc.
  • Also, if the city has their own fee that is equal or higher than the county, than the city would retain the money and control how it would be spent.

The funds collected would be then distributed by the county based upon cities that may be entitled to them. The example provided was for 2014 the county could have collected up to $2 million. There is not a well-conceived mechanism to dole out the funds or how this will resolve the affordable housing shortage. The funds collected are not close to what is really needed to resolve this issue.

This potential ordinance has been quietly making its way through County Commission and will soon be presented to the League of Cities (date not set) and Broward Workshop (potentially 2/3). Henry Sniezek presented to Broward County Planning Council and it was not well received. The votes were unanimous to not support this initiative (0-14). The planning council is made up of mostly elected city officials.

There is a public hearing at 2:00 pm, 1/26/16 for Broward County Commission to consider transmitting to the designated State review agencies which is required under Florida Statutes.

Many cities have indicated that if this ordinance is passed, they would pass a matching ordinance to retain the funds within their own city to control how the funds would be spent.

Attached is the presentation that was given at the Broward County Commission Board Workshop. This was attended by 5 of the 9 commissioners. 12/8/15 – the Broward County Commission approved during the meeting to moving the proposed ordinance along 6-3 to the varying stake holders. Henry is tasked with taking this through the process and obtaining consensus from stakeholders and a deployment strategy so when it gets to the commission for a vote, the commissioners will know this has been fully vetted so they can make up their minds.

As a stakeholder in Broward County, it is imperative that we monitor this progress and reach out to the municipalities that you do business in, the economic development departments, chambers of commerce, etc. to get the word out that this is an inappropriate way to resolve the issue by adding one more fee to commercial/industrial developers.

As talking points, we have formulated the below:

  1. This needs to be a holistic approach. This is a county wide issue and should not be solely supported on the backs of commercial/industrial developers. Should be addressed to all property owners including residents either as Broward county tax or a Non-Ad valorem tax to support this initiative.
  2. If the fee if too high will cause development to jump to other counties and states that have not implemented the fee. Development is already higher in south Florida due to land prices, hurricane related construction enhancements, and now the energy code impacts when compared to other neighboring states. 
  3. If development and re-development is reduced, this will have a negative effect on the jobs in the county, thus reducing employee’s ability to pay as well.
  4. The funds raised do not have a strategy associated with it and if not nearly enough to have a substantive difference. (Need to derive a solution that actually works for all).
  5. The administrative costs to implement are also not incorporated into this as well.
  6. Many cities have indicated that if this gets passed that they will implement a matching fee so the funds stay in the city thereby negating their goal.

The individual that is facilitating this on behalf of the commission is Henry Sniezek, the Deputy Director of Broward Environmental Protection and Growth Management. All inquiries should be directed to Henry and his staff. Henry’s contact information is: [email protected] (954) 357-6670.

For more details, click here.

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