Monday, June 24, 2002

The Best Way to Build New Schools

Let the developer do it:

In deals that could save Pasco County taxpayers a couple of million dollars, the developer of New River is considering paying out of pocket for a regional park and two schools north of State Road 54.

Swiss-born businessman Beat Kahli said he plans to hand over 160 acres for a regional park and additional land for schools at the 1,800-acre development between Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills.

But he wants to go even further: Kahli said he might build the public schools himself and help pay off the debt with $1,694-per-home school impact fees that home buyers at New River would pay over the years.

California has legislation that lets any developers keep school impact fees and build the school themselves. This arrangement saves time. Woodrow Wilson Elementary, in Corona, California, was built in 9 months. It saves taxpayers money and cuts out the usual school district bureaucracy that can tie up school construction for years.

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