Citrus County shifts stormwater revenue needs onto taxpayers
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Money coins fall out of the golden tap
The new format will cancel some taxes, but it's still a hit to many residents.

Citrus County commissioners saw it as the best way to pay for needed stormwater projects.

Citizens who braved another day of heavy rain to attend Thursday’s public hearing had another view.

Commissioners voted 4-1 for a Municipal Services Benefit Unit, or MSBU, that will raise $4.8 million for stormwater improvements.

In return, the county eliminated a special stormwater millage rate that raised about $1 million a year.

But the swap was hardly even.

Many homeowners who paid $2 or $3 a year under the tax are being hit with a $58.84 annual MSBU, which is based on the square footage of “impervious” surface — rooftops, driveways, parking lots, patios.

And they didn’t like it.

“This whole thing reeks of government incompetence,” Citrus Springs resident John Woods said.

Added Dennis Filger, who lives north of Crystal River, “What you’re doing is an end run on the taxpayers. Shame on you.”

Commissioners blamed federal mandates for the need to have a dedicated source of funding for stormwater projects.

And they, as well as residents, noted the unprecedented flooding that’s taking place this summer in pockets of communities across Citrus County.

Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach voted no. She had recommended the MSBU be phased in to reduce the immediate financial hit on homeowners.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


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