Transparency and Full Disclosure of Fiscal Impact Analysis
The Collier Citizens Council affirms the fundamental principles of transparency and full
disclosure when examining any issue affecting Collier residents.
Certainly taxpayers are concerned about a possible $3.8 Billion deficit (NDN 9/7/2020) from not following Smart Growth protocols of development in the vast RLSA in Eastern Collier County. This hidden charge is a rounded $10,000 per capita financial burden paid directly or indirectly by the county’s 385,000 residents
We know that either a neutral or positive taxpayer benefit is required by statute (LDC 4.08.07L) as a condition for RLSA development. Any result short of that is not only unacceptable but is a breach of a critical, legal safeguard for the protection of the County and its residents. Therefore, we advocate a pause in the approval of RLSA projects until residents are provided with complete and credible information about the assumptions and calculations documenting statutory fiscal compliance.
We also know that basic principles of transparency and fairness are not in place when developers’ consultants decline to provide full disclosure of the assumptions and calculations within their fiscal impact models. Such ‘black box’ algorithms yield opaque results without credibility to concerned residents expecting that their representatives will protect their financial interests.
Accordingly, the Collier Citizens Council recommends the following protocols and actions prior to any RLSA approvals:
1. Only ‘open box’ financial models documenting fiscal impact compliance. Project cash flows to include a proportion of exterior County improvements allocated to each project.
2. County engagement of consultants to (i) create models, or (ii) validate/amend developer models and (iii) forecast cumulative fiscal impact from prior approved towns and villages, including Ave Maria’s alleged, large deficit paid by residents.
3. The scope and extended timeline for constructing exterior infrastructure and the buildout of towns and villages requires utilization of sound present value analysis. The County is deploying massive upfront cost outlays for exterior and interior infrastructure, core amenities and maintenance prior to the receipt of substantial lagging cash inflows from building impact fees, sales taxes etc.
4. A significant contingency cost is required for all fiscal impact models to account for the uncertainties of costing and timing variables. Developers, not only residents, must share in future risk with updated and rebalanced fiscal impact models at intervals of 5 years or less.
Ian McKeag and Mike Lyster, Collier Citizens Council