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Communities use special tax district status as fundraiser

After three times going door-to-door to collect money for neighborhood improvements in Country Village, homeowner Don Tipps knew there had to be an easier way.

The 113-home subdivision off Hutchison Road, just north of Ehrlich Road, found a way _ it became the county's newest special tax district.

Now instead of relying on charity from the residents, each household in the neighborhood will be charged about $50 a year through their property tax bill. The money will be used to maintain the subdivision entrances and a 1,000-foot wall that encircles the homes.

"We found out about this, and we discovered there were 40 other tax districts," said Tipps, who is president of the special tax district. "We decided this is the way to go."

The community has not yet decided how much each home will be assessed, but the yearly tax cannot exceed $75. The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners approved the tax district in December.

According to Mary Mahoney, the county's special tax district coordinator, Country Village is the 41st community in Hillsborough to establish a special dependent tax district.

Two Hillsborough communities _ Carrollwood Recreation District and Twelve Oaks Maintenance District _ are classified as special independent tax districts. They report to state authorities instead of the county.

Lee Richardson, vice president of the tax district, said 83 of the 113 homes voted in favor of the mandatory tax.

"Our main concern is with edging, trimming and maintaining the lawn at the north and south entrance," Richardson said. "Several times in the past, we collected money on our own and filled in cracks and pressure washed the wall. This time we wanted to make it official."

_ To reach Tim Grant call 226-3471, or e-mail him at