Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Wesley Chapel neighborhood needs road repairs, but at what cost?

DADE CITY — Fox Ridge residents have complained for years about potholes and flooded streets in their Wesley Chapel neighborhood. On Tuesday, more than 50 of them showed up at a Pasco County Commission meeting to demand something be done — but not at the prices suggested by the county.

County staff last month suggested setting up a special taxing district to tackle the infrastructure problems. The first job — correcting the neighborhood's stormwater system — was estimated at $1.3 million, and residents would have to pay for the work themselves: $458 per household per year for five years.

When that work is done, the county would consider an additional assessment to fix the roads. About a dozen people said it's too much.

"I just think that $500 is a big burden to put on our family," said Dawn Perdomo, who arrived with five young children. "I just think there has to be a better way to resolve it."

"Please don't burden these homeowners," said lawyer Richard Roosa, whose daughter lives at Fox Ridge, just south of State Road 54.

County Administrator Michele Baker explained that because the entity responsible for neighborhood maintenance — the Pasco Heights Road and Bridge District — failed to do its job, it had fallen to the county to help out.

The Legislature, which created the developer-led road and bridge district in 1977, declared it "inactive" in March 2011, a step shy of dissolution. Now the county is seeking to create a special taxing district to take on the maintenance itself.

"The commission is between a rock and a hard place," Baker said.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to create the district, but held off on committing to the $1.3 million assessment. They want staff to look into lowering the cost or asking the Legislature to reactivate the road and bridge district.

If they don't commit to the assessment by Sept. 3, they will have to delay the work at least until next year.

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