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Meadow Pointe governing board gets first homeowner

Homeowners in the second phase of Meadow Pointe have taken their first step toward self-government.

By a vote of 618 to 545, landowners in Meadow Pointe II, that section of the neighborhood east of Clay Gully, chose Harold Ziegler Tuesday as the first homeowners' representative on the board of the Community Development District.

Since its formation in 1994, the five-member board has consisted of Meadow Pointe developer Don Buck and four of his associates.

The 1,500 households in Meadow Pointe II will have a chance to grab a majority of the board in November 2002, when two more seats on the CDD board are scheduled to come up for a vote.

"Our first goal is to put a resident in that landowners' seat," homeowner Dennis Smith said of Ziegler's election. "The second goal is to get the other two seats."

The power of the CDD is mostly budgetary: The board spends money to build and repair roads, sidewalks, streetlights, parks and landscaping.

Residents accuse the developer-controlled board of spending the money it collects from residents through yearly assessments too loosely.

Ziegler won't take his seat until December, pending verification of the votes, most of which were cast by proxy as Ziegler went house to house collecting signatures.

After the votes were tallied, developers and residents briefly quibbled about who would hold the ballots for verification.

Residents objected to a suggestion that Buck's attorney keep the ballots. That prompted Buck to ask residents if they were "fearful he's going to steal them."

But by the end of the meeting, Buck said he looked forward to the day when all seats are held by Meadow Pointe residents.

Meadow Pointe, with more than 3,000 homes in its two phases, is the biggest planned community in central Pasco County.