Article Courtesy of The St.
By Stuart Korfhage
Published November 26, 2018
Shoppers at the recently opened Durbin Park shopping center might notice that
they’re paying a little extra for their purchases.
That’s because the stores there are adding an extra 0.5 percent as part of its
Community Development District responsibilities. Some shoppers were confused at
first because their receipts seemed to show extra sales tax.
And that’s understandable since the rate has changed in recent years here and in
Duval County. The sales tax rate is 6.5 percent here and 7 percent in Duval.
However, St. Johns County administration has been quick to point out the extra
0.5 percent isn’t a tax that goes back to the county but a fee that only applies
to Durbin Park and goes to infrastructure for that development.
According to a statement from the county public affairs department, the fee was
“initially mislabeled as a tax on sales receipts” from the Walmart in Durbin
Park. It was the first store to open in the large development near the Duval
“The incorrect terminology misled the community to believe the tax rate in St.
Johns County has increased or an additional tax has been levied,” the county
statement said. “The tax rate within the county remains 6.5 percent, and no
funds collected from the DP1 Community Development District Public
Infrastructure Fee are collected by the County.
“St. Johns County has contacted the DP1 CDD and requested that the fee be
labeled correctly on future receipts in order to provide transparency and ensure
patrons clearly understand that the CDD is collecting the fee and for what
Since that early problem, Walmart has amended the wording on its receipts to
reflect the proper explanation, stating that the extra charge is “Public
But does that clear things up for everyone? Probably not.
Those who live in newer developments are probably familiar with CDD fees because
many communities levy them on homeowners to pay for the construction of roads
and other infrastructure to establish the neighborhood. The fees are separate
from homeowners’ association charges that usually pay for landscaping or upkeep
The county land development code states: “The intent of a CDD within St. Johns
County is to encourage a strong commitment to capital facilities planning,
management and financing to ensure the provision of adequate capital
infrastructure to service projected growth without overburdening the general
In other words, only those who will regularly use the infrastructure built
through a CDD will have to pay for it.
The Durbin Park CDD was established by the County Commission, as is required, on
June 28, 2017, to fund: “the construction, operation and maintenance of
stormwater; water, reuse, and sewer facilities; street lighting and other
applicable electric facilities; entry monuments, common features, parking,
landscaping, recreation; and on and off-site roadways.” The total cost was
estimated at $24.7 million.
The CDD does not just pay for roads within the shopping center. It also pays for
improvements to the following roads: Race Track Road from Bartram Park Boulevard
to U.S. 1; and East Cummer Parkway (aka East Peyton Parkway) from the State Road
9B interchange to Race Track Road.
The Commission did not grant a specific right to charge customers at businesses
in the development of the CDD fee. However county officials pointed out that, by
state statute, the “DP1 CDD has the sole authority to impose a Public
Infrastructure Fee (PIF) within the district and may do so completely
independent of authorization by the Board of County Commissioners.”
According to the county staff, Durbin Park is the only commercial development to
pass the CDD costs directly to retail customers.