Commissioner Morris provided a very straightforward overview of the fiscal problems facing St. Johns County in the July 13, 2017 issue of the Recorder.
Unfortunately, he didn't include all options available to resolve those problems.
The decline in fiscal strength Commissioner Morris described closely parallels the growing traffic nightmare facing the Ponte Vedra/Palm Valley sector of St. Johns County and is the result of the same events, principally the 39 percent increase in residential population over the past ten years, although one suspects the increase in the northeast quadrant of the county was even greater.
But rather than offer alternatives to stop the excessive growth problem, Commissioner Morris believes we should simply increase taxes—preferably sales taxes—and the sooner the better. I would argue that the BCC should start by taking control of the rate of residential growth: a temporary moratorium on new residential building permits should be imposed immediately.
That moratorium would not solve the existing fiscal and traffic problems, but it would certainly stop them from becoming more dire. And it would provide some time for the BCC to do a real job of growth management, including increasing and broadening impact fees, controlling the rate at which new residential housing is built, reviewing the property tax rate and making appropriate adjustments and even evaluating whether an increase in the sale tax rate is even necessary.