published: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Avon Park looking at annexing Lacey Hills
By BARRY FOSTER
AVON PARK - Council members in the City of Charm took their first steps toward another annexation on Tuesday evening. This time it is the Lacey Hills neighborhood on the south side of the city that officials would like to absorb. The action could mean more than $40,000 a year to the city in taxes and fees paid by residents in that area.
Described in city documentation as a "voluntary annexation," the process involves a dual referendum - meaning that both residents of the city and residents of the affected area would have to vote in favor of the move.
Council members approved the first step in the process, which involves filing an annexation report with the Highlands County Board of County Commission.
The Lacey Hills neighborhood is an area situated south of Ernest E. Sims Street and north of Garrett Road. It is bordered on the east and west by Cummins Avenue and South Lake Boulevard respectively. The parcel covers approximately 43 acres and includes an area owned by the city near Cummins Avenue and Garrett Road. That reportedly is to be used for a regional wastewater pump station.
Of the 1,612 lots in the area, 92 are listed as "improved." Early indications are the city could realize just a bit more than $5,700 in property tax revenues annually.
Lacey Hills residents already receive both electric and municipal water service. Although the city would loose about 25 percent in water revenues if the residents there begin paying in-city fees, that loss could be offset if properties were required to pay the city's fire assessment and franchise fees on their electric service.
In his presentation to council, Avon Park City Manager Julian Deleon estimated that charging the residential fire assessment of $165 a year would bring in an additional $15,051 to the city coffers annually.
Additionally, municipal trash collection will be offered to the neighborhood. Switching Lacey Hills residents to city garbage would make the city another $19,656 a year.
Deleon said the city needed to remain "contiguous and compact," noting the recent annexation of South Florida State College.
When asked to explain the process for citizens, Deleon told council he would leave that process up to City Attorney Gerald Buhr.
Buhr was not at last week's session. It had been pushed back to Tuesday due to the governmental observance of Veterans Day on Nov 13.
Lacey Hills (by: skywacher - 11/25/2012)
How is this going to improve the City as a whole where all residents benefit?
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