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Oldsmar officials bristle at plan to limit annexation options

OLDSMAR — City leaders are once again protesting proposed state legislation that could limit Oldsmar's ability to annex parts of East Lake.

The City Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution against the bill, which would require a city to annex all of an area called the "East Lake Tarpon Community" or none of it.

East Lake voters would have a final say before an annexation took place. The exception would be a property owner asking to be annexed. That could be accomplished without a general vote.

"I don't believe this came up again," said council member Jerry Beverland. "Somebody can't be that dense."

This would be the third time that state Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, has sponsored such a bill. He plans to file the bill for next year's legislative session.

Nehr said he supports the proposal because people in the East Lake community have expressed concerns about annexation and about Oldsmar's ability to take care of their needs.

East Lake neighborhood leaders lobbied for the bill after Oldsmar tried to annex the pricey East Lake Woodlands community.

"I have no problem with annexation as long as it's a voluntary annexation and people aren't annexed against their will," Nehr said.

The "East Lake Tarpon Community" is generally bordered by Pasco County on the north, Hillsborough County on the east, Lake Tarpon on the west, and Tampa Road and Oldsmar on the south.

The proposed bill is almost identical to one Nehr filed earlier this year. That bill and another last year failed in the Legislature.

Nehr, however, thinks this one has a chance.

"I have every confidence and faith that we'll be able to do it (next) year," Nehr said.

Last month, Nehr's aide informed city leaders he was planning to file the bill, which will be discussed at a public hearing with the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation on Thursday. The proposal will likely come before the delegation for a vote at a second hearing in October.

In other action

Also on Wednesday, council members adopted a tentative $26.3 million budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year and voted to maintain the current property tax rate. A second public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20.

During budget talks, the council discussed outsourcing building plan reviews and inspections to Pinellas County. On Wednesday, it approved an agreement with the county to do so.

The council also granted final approval to an ordinance allowing golf carts in Gull Aire Village mobile home community.

And council members directed the city attorney to draft a resolution asking the Legislature to close the sales tax loophole that lets Internet-only suppliers sell merchandise without collecting sales tax.

Reach Lorri Helfand at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

Oldsmar officials bristle at plan to limit annexation options 09/08/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 9, 2011 1:50pm]
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