DADE CITY — City commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to pay $200,000 for 10 acres that currently holds the Dade Oaks public housing complex.
City Manager Billy Poe said the price is fair, given a recent appraisal put the land's value at $240,000 and negotiations began months ago with an asking price of $1.7 million.
The city wants to use the land at 37460 Acorn Loop to build a retention pond to help alleviate flooding in the area, Poe said.
"Do we really need this?" asked Commissioner Bill Dennis. "To put water in it?"
Poe and public works director Gordon Onderdonk assured Dennis the property is not a frivolous purchase. Onderdonk said the city has looked at other ways of tackling the flooding problem in the area, but the cost and anticipated levels of success do not compare to using the Dade Oaks property.
"When you consider cost versus benefit, it won't get any better than this," Onderdonk said.
In addition to the cost of buying the land, the city expects to face a $200,000 price tag for demolishing the 69-unit apartment complex and another $650,000 to construct the retention pond, Poe said. After the meeting, Poe said he isn't sure yet where the city will get the money to pay for the project but has several options, including stormwater utility fees, Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue and various applicable grants.
The county agreed earlier this year to purchase about 12 acres north of the Dade Oaks site to rebuild the public housing complex. Once it's finished, residents will relocate and Dade City will take ownership of the land, Poe said. That won't happen for at least 18 months, giving the city time to come up with a funding plan, he added.
In other business, commissioners agreed to tweak the city's noise ordinance, giving police officers and code enforcement officials more leeway in determining violations and authority in issuing tickets. Excessive noise from vehicles and animals are now susceptible to punitive fines.