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Hillsborough County will consider tax districts to raise money for dredging

In Apollo Beach, some canals are clogged by silt and sludge. Residents may be able to vote on special taxing districts that would raise money to dredge the canals. A hearing on Thursday in Tampa will focus on the issue.

SKIP O\u2019ROURKE | Times (2005)

In Apollo Beach, some canals are clogged by silt and sludge. Residents may be able to vote on special taxing districts that would raise money to dredge the canals. A hearing on Thursday in Tampa will focus on the issue.

RUSKIN — Residents living on clogged canals may soon have an option for clearing their path to the bay.

Hillsborough County commissioners will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss a proposal to create special taxing units for residents living on silt- and sludge-filled canals. Those residents could vote to join the units, and they would pay extra property taxes to fund the dredging of their canals.

County commissioners could make a decision at the hearing, and there will be time for public comment.

At meetings last fall, many residents said they didn't believe it was fair they would have to pay for the dredging. They said it would be nice if the county would pitch in more money. But many just want it taken care of because property values are being affected, they said.

The canals in southern Hillsborough County are along the Alafia River and in Apollo Beach and Ruskin.

This is how the special taxing units would work, according to project manager Martin Montalvo:

Property owners interested in paying for dredging would approach the county, and the county would determine which canal-front property owners would benefit.

The unit's leader would take a petition to each of those homes, needing 40 percent of those owners to agree to move forward with researching the project.

The county would pay for a feasibility study and determine how much each property owner would pay, most likely based on the number of feet of property they own along the canal. That information is taken to the owners. The unit's leader would then need to get 60 percent of the owners to agree.

County commissioners can change those percentages when they vote.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

If you go

Dredging proposal

What: Hearing about the proposal for special taxing units for people living on clogged canals

When: 2 p.m. Thursday

Where: Second-floor board room, County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa

Hillsborough County will consider tax districts to raise money for dredging 01/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:30am]

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