County votes 4-1 for stormwater assessment fee – News – Gainesville Sun – Florida News

County votes 4-1 for stormwater assessment fee – News – Gainesville Sun – Florida News

Property owners in unincorporated Alachua County will see a stormwater assessment fee on their tax bills this fall.

The County Commission voted 4 to 1 Tuesday night to adopt a stormwater assessment that will raise an estimated $1.3 million in fiscal year 2017-18 to help pay for stormwater maintenance and drainage operations and water quality improvements.

Commissioner Chuck Chestnut was the lone commissioner who voted against adopting the assessment.

“The poor man can’t catch a break,” Chestnut said during the more than five-hour-long meeting. Chestnut said he considers the assessment to be unfair, though he understands that improving water quality and storm water drainage and maintenance in Alachua County are important issues.

The assessment will cost small homeowners (100 to 1,500 square feet) $15.61, medium homeowners (1,501 to 3,000 square feet) $30 and large homeowners (3,001 to 6,000 square feet) $49.80 annually.

The commission also voted to adopt a water quality project list that includes helping to fund phase two of the Newnan’s Lake Improvement Initiative as its top priority; allowing exemptions for homeowners who apply for the Best Management Practices Program with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and allowing hardship exemptions and exemptions for churches, charitable and nonprofit organizations and veterans who are 100 percent disabled.

Commissioners said adopting the assessment will reduce dependency on gas tax revenue and property taxes to pay for road improvements and storm water issues, and establishes a dedicated…

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