Cory Lake Isles
Residents question new fees, finances
The Cory Lake Isles taxing district board on July 16 discussed increasing fees by more than $600 next year per household, drawing criticism from some residents who are grappling with a struggling economy.
"The whole country is cutting costs, we're raising costs," said homeowner Alecia Collins. "Explain that to me."
This year's community development district budget contains expenditures of about $1.6- million. The proposed budget passed out to about 40 homeowners who attended the meeting details about $2.5-million in expenses for 2009.
It includes almost $200,000 more for security after the board voted to hire a different company to patrol the property and guard the gates.
This year, households paid $1,578 each toward the operation and maintenance of the community. The latest proposal listed an amount as high as $2,453.
Board supervisor Suzanne Manzi came up with the proposed 2009 budget by starting at zero. For example, to estimate the projected amount needed for air conditioning repairs, she contacted air conditioning companies for quotes.
That only angered some residents, who are embroiled in a lawsuit against developer Gene Thomason for financial records.
Some, like plaintiff Mark Lee, questioned why there was no historical financial data to work from and wanted a more detailed breakdown of the costs.
Jorge Castillo, another plaintiff, called the proposed increase "unreasonable and ridiculous."
"We've been here for years," he said. "What have we been working with? Sticky pads?"
Manzi called the estimated budget a worst-case scenario and urged residents to move forward.
"We're not here to see. … I think I was cheated or not," she said.