Water-Related News

Haines City re-implements fire, stormwater fees

HAINES CITY — Assessments came with some pushback from just a few residents, but the City Commission moved forward with re-implementing them during Thursday’s meeting.

The commission voted 5-0 to keep both the stormwater fee and fire assessment fee in place. Those fees can only be used toward funding those particular services.

With the questions being asked about the two fees, commissioners advocated workshops to help educate the public in how the assessments work. Mayor Morris West inquired about bringing back a Citizen’s Academy.

“The water continues to run off, ruining the roads, eating at the foundation of my house,” resident Steven Glazier said. “I haven’t seen any justification for additional taxes. I can’t tell that anything is being done.”

Only very large homes would be assessed more based on a new methodology which continues to pay for, in part, costs resulting from state and federal mandates by using equivalent residential units or ERUs. Special counsel Mark Lawson said most of the single-family homeowners in the city would not see a rate increase from last year’s charge of $59.24 for a typical house.

“At the end of the day, we’re putting money toward nonsense,” resident Patrick Phillips said.

Larger parcels with more impervious area, such as roofs and parking lots, will pay slightly more. Revenue from the assessment will only fund about $593,000 or 37 percent of a $1.37 million stormwater budget.

“Stormwater – not only is it runoff – but it’s the damage it does physically and externally,” Lawson said.