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Feather Sound set to vote on tax plan

Feather Sound residents soon will have the chance to vote themselves a tax increase. Pinellas County commissioners took the first formal step Tuesday night toward setting May 22 as the date for a referendum that, if approved, would create the Feather Sound Municipal Taxing District.

Supporters say the tax district would pay for lights and parks, and fend off annexation by adjoining cities St. Petersburg and Largo.

The special tax district has the support of the county's state legislative delegation, including Rep. Jeff Hueninck, who has led the push for the referendum.

"One thing the citizens out there complained about was not having any parks," Hueninck said. "They need some place for the children to play."

The property tax rate for the tax district authorized through the County Commission would be $1 per $1,000 assessed taxable value, or $75 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption.

The tax would be levied on about 1,000 homes, some businesses and motels, Hueninck said. It could raise about $160,000 in the first year.

Supervisor of Elections Dorothy Walker Ruggles said it is not clear exactly how many people would vote in the special election.

"The (tax) district lines are being drawn as we speak," Ruggles said.

The special election should incur minimal cost to the voters because there will be only one polling place in one precinct.

"That will be the only issue on the ballot," Ruggles said.

A special tax district for Feather Sound also has county support.

"We don't have a problem with it," County Administrator Fred Marquis said. "If that is what the citizens want to do, then we will support them."

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