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LA-MSID passes budget, assessment hike

September 13, 2017
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District approved its 2017-2018 fiscal budget along with a $15 per acre and $3.75 per quarter acre assessment hike. LA-MSID commissioners voted in favor of the assessment increase during their combined budget hearing held on Aug. 21.

The raise comes after a nearly eight year run where the district maintained its non-ad valorem assessments rates.

Unlike an ad valorem rate, a non-ad valorem assessment rate is based on the size of one's property, not the value.

The $15 per acre increase will apply to a total accessible acreage of 47,538.55, which falls within the district's boundaries.

Before the recent increase, property owners in LA-MSID's boundaries paid $26.28 per quarter acre, $52.58 per half acre or $105.15 per acre a year.

The Board of Commissioners approved also approved an annual operating budget for the district of $5.4 million dollars and includes general operating expenses, personnel, capital projects and equipment.

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LA-MSID's fiscal year 2017-2018 budget includes approximately $2.2 million dollars in grants and funding from alternative sources.

The majority of the funding comes from the District's formed alliance with other public organizations including the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Most recently FDOT and LA-MSID entered into an agreement which allows FDOT to purchase the ability to discharge into Lehigh Acres MSID's stormwater system, as well as receive fill dirt for road beds to complete their State Road 82 (SR82) widening project.

According to Michael Welch, Chairman of the Board, this mutually-beneficial agreement helped speed up the timeframe for road construction by eliminating the need for roadside retention ponds along SR82.

It also enabled Lehigh Acres MSID to be proactive in solving infrastructure needs and provided the ability to construct crucial stormwater projects.

"LA-MSID's Board of Commissioners has worked diligently to identify common goals between government agencies; to form a collegiate efforts in achieving successful completion of these projects; and creatively coming together to save the rate-payers money," said Michael Welch, Chairman of the Board.

Neither LA-MSID's board of commissioners or the agency's spokesperson returned messages for comment on the approved budget or assessment increase due to hurricane storm preparations.



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