Public Finance

Funding Your Community’s Infrastructure & Services

Long-term goal setting and a big picture understanding of projected growth, infrastructure needs and desired outcomes are essential to the development of an effective funding strategy for public improvements.

Benesch offers a unique blend of seasoned economists, engineers, planners and GIS specialists that specialize in developing funding solutions to keep communities’ desired service levels well into the future. We’ve completed a wide range of public finance projects, including impact fees, assessments, user fees, and other funding solutions. We understand the relationship between fees, master plans, economic development and growth management goals. This combination of providing infrastructure planning and funding services is one of the unique capabilities Benesch offers.

Partnering with Benesch means you can be confident in the credibility and acceptance of our study findings, with the added benefit of comprehensive guidance to implement strategies to fund your communities’ infrastructure needs.

Institutional Knowledge Drives Greater Outcomes

At Benesch, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide recommendations the public can be confident in. Extensive local, state and national experience has given us the institutional knowledge needed to provide services that drive greater outcomes.

Our public finance professionals are prepared to assist you in implementing technically sound and legally defensible impact/mobility fee programs. We provide expertise in technical analyses required for impact fee calculations, legal compliance, public engagement, economic assessments, financial modeling, administrative manuals and on-going monitoring. Our expertise includes fees for:

  • Transportation/multimodal/mobility
  • Schools
  • Parks and recreation
  • Libraries
  • Law enforcement
  • Correctional facilities
  • Fire/EMS
  • Public buildings
  • Solid waste
  • Stormwater

Benesch has developed a methodology that creates a bridge between consumption-based and needs-based methodologies. This methodology allows impact fees to be sensitive to the growth rate of various areas within a jurisdiction. It links impact fees, other available revenues and rates of growth to the community’s ability to maintain or obtain desired standards for all public services and facilities. This model also documents the impact of new growth on infrastructure needs that is used as part of fiscal impact analysis.

Benesch provides assessment studies for fire, solid waste and stormwater services. Our staff understands multiple methodologies available to local governments and offers the necessary database and GIS capabilities to evaluate incident and property appraiser data in detail and to conduct the necessary analyses that not only result in an accurate and equitable assessment program but also minimize the potential for a lawsuit that challenges the data. Given the accuracy of our technical studies, we build consensus on assessment recommendations through public forums and workshops.

Benesch has prepared user fee studies for building departments, fire marshal offices, parks departments and other government services. We track changes in legal requirements and offer expertise in user fee methodologies. Our database capabilities allow us to evaluate time-tracking data, time estimates and budget analyses.

By providing options that consider other revenue sources, such as gas taxes, sales taxes, tax increment funding estimates and others available to local governments, Benesch assists local governments in making the necessary policy decisions for their communities. We not only review existing conditions but also evaluate long-term trends in population, income, tax bases, and other related variables to provide accurate estimates.

Additionally, we’ve created databases that track increases in the value of existing property/structures from the current population separately from tax increment revenues achieved due to new construction. Our studies include consideration or development of business plan components that provide local governments with a tool to integrate specific funding methods with the overall needs of a jurisdiction.  Business plans developed by Benesch take into consideration operating, maintenance, and capital needs to identify the pros and cons of various funding alternatives.

We prepare administrative manuals that address the day-to-day implementation of impact fees. These manuals include definitions of various land uses, coordination of these definitions with the definitions included in Land Development Codes, procedures to determine how to classify a new structure in terms of land uses included in the impact fee schedule, procedures to complete alternative studies, and other administrative considerations.

Government building

Responsive and Flexible Programs

As communities change, impact fee programs should be responsive.

For Hernando County in Florida, Benesch was retained to update fire, EMS, law enforcement, correctional facilities, government buildings, parks and library impact fees. To accommodate economic development and growth goals, Benesch developed an affordable growth model, which provided a variation in fee levels based on growth rates. This approach allows the County to reduce its rates during slow growth periods.

Growth that Pays for Growth

In recent decades, Collier County has experienced significant population growth that prompted them to repeatedly contract Benesch to develop or update impact fees in nine program areas. By developing localized indexing methods, Benesch was able to reflect annual changes in cost in Collier County. It was determined that significant increases in land values and construction costs were normal for the County during periods of high growth. They also have one of highest income-per person metrics and one of the most productive tax bases in Florida.

As a result of these insights, studies were prepared that reflected accurate cost estimates and presented findings with a high level of transparency to successfully gain public support. The County has raised and used almost $1 billion in impact fees to build high-quality infrastructure and has proven to be developing in a way where growth pays for growth, creating a quality community experience.

Community apartment complex

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Results That Make a Difference

Our team is composed of experts with extensive experience in public sector departments, ensuring a deep understanding of the intricacies and unique challenges that government entities face. We pride ourselves on our sensitivity to our clients’ needs and our ability to tailor our solutions to their specific requirements.

With a wealth of experience and knowledge at our disposal, we minimize startup time and unnecessary expenses during implementation, streamlining the entire process for our clients. Clear and concise reporting further enhances implementation by minimizing confusion, allowing government staff to allocate their time more efficiently. Our meticulous approach also reduces the probability of our studies being legally challenged, guaranteeing the utmost credibility and acceptance of our recommendations by public officials.