Photo of Vero Beach
councilman Charlie Wilson
About 600 barrier island residents are due a total of $1.1 million in old impact fees paid to Indian River County, according to former Vero Beach Councilman Charlie Wilson, who now is in the asset recovery business.
County staff, however, takes the position that no such refunds are due from the county.
has turned in 73 applications for refunds, which he
said would net an average of $3,000 each for property owners in Vero's south beach and the unincorporated south barrier island.
pitch to the county earlier this month, county staff said the project is "still needed" and a "still in the work program," but that the acquisition of rights-of-way from PNC Bank and Northern Trust
are holding up the spending of the dollars.
"The fund has not been used in 13 years and all of a sudden we've got a plan to widen an intersection that's not even in our jurisdiction," Wilson
said, noting that area is in the City of Vero Beach.
said the county has taxpayers' money squirrelled away in various funds, being used not necessarily for projects, but for inter-departmental borrowing and other nebulous government accounting functions.
He formed a company, Asset Research and Recovery, headquartered near the airport in Vero Beach, to get that money back for people for a fee.
"It is very likely that average citizens could find it impossible to receive these funds on their own," Wilson
said "insiders" who know how to navigate the county system have received more than $3 million in impact fee refunds over the past 10 years, but that the average homeowner is at a disadvantage.
said some of the traffic impact fees he's
researched go all the way back to the years 1985 through 1998, but he's
mistaken, according to county officials.
asked commissioners to re-open the refund period to give the 600 residents he
potentially represents a chance to get their money back.
Instead they have asked that their refund be given to charity," Wilson
wrote in an update letter to the more than 500 beachside residents remaining who have not yet given him authorization to seek a refund.
"We think that that is a good idea so you now have the option of having any refund go in your name to a charity," he
said, and included a form listing several local nonprofit groups and a blank option to designate a group.