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Users fee might pay for sewer line

Crystal River City Council members are favoring the option for businesses south of the city on U.S. 19.

Concerned about the cost of installing new sewer lines for businesses south of Crystal River on U.S. 19, the City Council on Monday night expressed an interest in creating a special taxing district for passing the construction cost on to users.

"The businesses themselves would pay for it," council member Paula Wheeler said. "There was a consensus that's where we want to go."

Establishing a district will require discussions with Citrus County because the area expected to lure megastores is located in the county just south of the city line.

The county has a policy for setting up special taxing districts, which exist in significant numbers throughout Citrus.

Council members have grappled with the project's potential cost, which has risen in recent years from several hundred thousand dollars to the recent estimate of $700,000. A reserve amounts to about $1-million, but some members are loath to use that money because other residents have had to pay for their central sewer connections.

The city is optimistically pursuing a $600,000 state grant, but success would leave open the question of how to finance the remaining cost, Wheeler said.

Members also signaled an interest in developing a new estimate for hooking up Indian Waters residents to central sewers, Wheeler said. The county's last cost-per-resident estimate _ about $7,000 _ is too high, she said.

In other business:

The city could pursue negotiations to lease out Pete's Pier and the right of way leading to the docks, council member Ed Tolle said.

Council members rejected a plan by the owners of a proposed assisted-living complex to swap parcels of land near City Hall. Instead, members want to appraise the city property and sell it, Tolle and Wheeler said.