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Brookstone residents aren't too keen on Largo annexation proposal

The city has been actively wooing the Brookstone subdivision, but many of the people who live there don't want to be in Largo.

Most say they don't see any benefit in being annexed. And they like things the way they are.

"A lot of us aren't happy with it because it won't help us," said Brookstone resident Dick Shearer, 63.

He said most of his neighbors wouldn't save much money by joining Largo.

And both Shearer and neighbor Chris Hannukainen believe they'll end up paying more.

"I think my taxes are going to go up," said Hannukainen, 52.

The city says most will actually pay less.

"The typical homeowner could save about $100 a year, said Carol Stricklin, Largo's community development director.

The Brookstone neighborhood is east of U.S. 19 and north of Whitney Road. There are 67 homes in the portion of the neighborhood opposing the annexation, Stricklin said. The city hasn't received a formal response from another part of the neighborhood that has 10 homes.

City representatives met with Brookstone neighbors in November, she said. They tried to persuade residents to annex and shared information about city services.

Earlier this month, Brookstone neighbors submitted a petition about annexation. Fifty-one residents said they didn't want to be a part of Largo. Five said they did.

A few of the residents who checked boxes saying they didn't want to be in Largo said they did so because the majority opposed annexation.

"I don't care either way. It doesn't matter to me," said Maria Bruno, 82, who checked a box against annexation. "My daughter's place, they incorporated and she said it's not bad at all."

City Commissioner Mary Gray Black said she doesn't support forced annexations and she views Largo's effort with Brookstone as involuntary.

But two other city leaders, Commissioner Woody Brown and Mayor Pat Gerard, say the city is simply following through with a previous deal.

Two decades ago, the developer signed agreements with Largo: The city would provide sewer service. And the neighborhood would join Largo when the city's borders met the neighborhood's.

One indenture was executed in 1987 and another in 1990, when such agreements were popular in Largo. The city no longer does indentures.

"I feel that sewer indentures are a mutual agreement between the developer and the city," Brown said at last week's city meeting. "I don't think we should abandon that effort."

Brookstone residents aren't too keen on Largo annexation proposal 02/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 14, 2009 2:56pm]
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