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More to share bill for cleaning lake

(ran PC edition)

A well-kept Lake Magdalene won't come free for about 150 property owners who live around it.

Hillsborough County commissioners voted 4-2 on Wednesday to approve a taxing district that will charge each property in the area up to $75 a year. Commissioners Jim Norman, Ronda Storms, Jan Platt and Kathy Castor voted for the district. Ken Hagan and Pat Frank voted against it.

The tax is needed to keep the lake free of muck, weeds and filth that collects there after storms. Rick Wagner, a member of the Lake Magdalene Restoration Association, said those who have been paying for the lake's weed removal and pump repairs for the past few years made up about 40 percent of the homeowners.

"Consequently, the other people, the other 60 percent, are reaping the benefits," Wagner said.

The Restoration Association held two public meetings late last year about taxing homeowners for maintaining the lake south of Bearss Avenue. Wagner said notices were left on doorknobs and five signs were erected informing residents of the proposed plan.

But some homeowners said they weren't alerted.

"There are a number of people who live along this lake that the first notice that they're going to receive is when they get a tax bill in the mail," said Martin Bearss. "And I don't think they're going to be happy about that."

Commissioners will appoint seven trustees to the board. Three will serve until the November general election. The four others will serve until the 2006 general election. Once elected, trustees will serve for four years. The board will have the power to hire contractors, place liens on homes that don't pay, and buy and lease property.