Citrus County community faces $109,000-per-lot assessment to pave streets

iv4 meeting-2
'I am devastated with the number.'

Just when it seemed the news couldn’t get worse in the embattled Inverness Villages 4 community … it did.

Neighbors gathered at the Citrus County Courthouse on Thursday to hear the county’s estimated special assessment to pave dirt roads that have so far been unmaintained: $109,000 per lot, or $8,000 a year.

“I am devastated with the number,” said Citrus County Commissioner Holly Davis, who led the meeting that included the big reveal. “No way this Board of Commissioners is voting to force this on you.”

The proposed municipal services benefit unit, or MSBU, was a blow to property owners who had waited months for Citrus County officials to complete the study.

Oddly, county officials did not have handouts or copies of the study for the property owners. When one asked about that, a county official suggested residents file a public records request for it.

A Citrus County blogger, Just Wright Citrus, requested the study on Nov. 1 and received it only five minutes before the end of business Thursday. The county provided no explanation why the report was not available for eight days after the requests or why it didn’t have copies for citizens attending Thursday’s meeting.

The matter is also on the Tuesday County Commission agenda although with no backup. Residents who pleaded for copies of the study were rebuffed by county officials who said they should show up at Tuesday’s board meeting to see the report.

The history of Inverness Villages 4 is long and convoluted. The issue has always centered on who is responsible for the roads, which are public streets but not publicly maintained. 

Some homeowners said they expected a special assessment, but one much less.

County officials estimate the project of paving 3.8 miles of streets at $35 million. The biggest costs are buying individual lots for drainage; the estimate is based on paying three times the property’s value.

They also peg construction costs at $11.5 million — $3.5 million per mile.

What happens next, other than Tuesday’s commission meeting when the matter is on the agenda for discussion, is unknown.

One thing commissioners must decide, Davis said, is whether to continue a building moratorium in Inverness Villages 4 that’s been in place since May. Commissioners placed the moratorium in hopes of stopping landowner Anton Van Usen from selling lots that the county could use for drainage.

While residents said the county should not have allowed development in Inverness Villages 4 with dirt roads and no drainage, Davis blamed the city of Inverness for installing water lines in the community, opening it up for home construction.

Davis claimed the city did so without notifying the county.

“Far as I’m concerned, laying water lines made all this possible,” she said.

Reached later Thursday, Inverness City Manager Eric Williams said that isn’t the case. He provided an email string from 2019 showing city officials asked the county if they needed permission to place water pipes along Inverness Villages 4 streets.

County’s answer: The roads are not public.

“This project will not require a right of way permit from Citrus County since it is not our right of way,” the county’s response reads.

Williams said he tried to explain this to Davis several months ago.

“It’s unfortunate she would make those statements,” he said. “They’re not true.”

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.


  • !My Take

    November 9, 2023 at 7:55 pm

    Pave them with that free radioactive waste phosphate slime.

    • Bill

      November 10, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Not going to be free, States going to pay the polluters for their radiation waste

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    November 10, 2023 at 1:33 am

    Earl’s sage political commentary and advice:
    Those “Villages” development communities are huge and seem to be everywhere in central Florida. With projects that big you know several local officials received developer kickbacks.
    1.) The developers are long gone. Their kickbacks to local officials are long ago spent. And would not be a factor in paving roads anyway.
    2.) The residents are the wrong race, color, creed, and national origin to receive free roads from the various Counties with The Villages developments.
    3.) Specifically the residents are older White folks who normally won’t vote Democratic and the County Commissioners are all Democrats.
    4.) Even worse the residents have over the years made a big deal of having Trump and other conservatives come to their communities and rally.
    5.) There is zero upside for the local elected officials to find a way to pave the roads in question with County funds as the Commissioners would do for a minority community of reliable Democratic voters.
    Many homeowners in the various Villages communities are likely going to face this type of pushback from their local Democratic elected officials. Some may have to sell their dream homes due to the assessments. Looking back from what the older White homeowners know today many are likely to feel the wrath from local elected Democratic officials in similar scenarios and wish they had not been so openly political.
    Yeah all those Trump rallies and remember how other conservative politicians like Rick Scott and DeSantis would also run down to The Villages for big time campaigning? Well that was all great fun for the residents at the time. The residents would hold golf cart parades with their carts all festooned with political regalia. Again Great Fun At The Time. But the local Democratic Elected Officals were not amused and their paybacks can be hell.
    If homeowners in wealthy communities are going to go all “In Your Face Political”, as was the case with The Villages, they should be 100% sure their Local Elected Officials are of the same political party.
    Again paybacks can be hell , and none of the conservative politicos the residents supported, are able to come to their rescue.
    Chalk one up for the Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s as those “The Villages Conservative Rallies” are coming to an end.

  • Rick Whitaker

    November 10, 2023 at 6:10 am


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