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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2443.