By STEVE REILLY

Staff Writer

ENGLEWOOD — Robert McFadden is not happy with Charlotte County.

McFadden, a Grove City resident, is upset with the county’s proposed hike to the Grove City Streets and Drainage taxing unit assessment. The assessment would increase from $64 for vacant lot owners and $50 for developed properties to a maximum rate of $265 per equivalent residential unit.

McFadden might not be the only upset homeowner county commissioners will face when they hold a public West County taxing unit rate hearing 5 p.m. July 18 at the Tringali Recreation Center, 3460 N. Access Road, just off State Road 776 in Englewood East.

The county is considering similar rate hikes to the Gardens of Gulf Cove and Rotonda West taxing units. County officials must be expecting a large crowd at the public hearing; the rec center can hold up to 1,000 people.

Commissioners can always decide to set rates below what they notify residents about — or decide not to hike rates at all — but they can’t set rates higher than the advertised rate.

The county’s fiscal strategy is to build up the reserves of a taxing units for several years before going out and borrowing the money needed for road repaving. County officials estimate it can cost $150,000 a mile to repave roads.

Also, the assessments pay for maintaining roads and drainage structures within the taxing unit.

Grove City hike

The 15-year assessment hike to the Grove City taxing unit will help pay the $4.5 million needed to repave 21.3 miles of roadways within the district. Repaving is scheduled to begin in 2025.

Gardens of Gulf Cove

The Gardens of Gulf Cove Homeowners Association board members declined to comment Tuesday about what its members think of the proposed 15-year assessment of $350 for the $2.7-million needed to repave. Like Grove City, repaving is expected to start in the Gardens of Gulf Cove in 2025. The Gardens will also include stormwater drainage improvements at road crossings and culvert pipes.

Rotonda West

A contingent of Rotonda West residents may be the best organized in their opposition to a proposed rate hike.

However, their opposition is focused on the county’s plan to set aside $25 for future sidewalks, not the entire proposed $300 increase to the existing $100 tax assessment for the Rotonda West Streets and Drainage taxing district.

The bulk of the assessment will go to repave roads and for maintenance on 21 bridges over the community’s extensive canal system. The total costs for bridge work could take another year to determine.

But the portion of the nine-year assessment designated for sidewalks is $25 — and that’s the rub.

Rotonda resident Diane Shaw has been a point person for the protest. A month ago, she gathered 1,000 or more names on a petition. She rallied an overflowing crowd.

For more information on any of the three taxing units, call Kim Lewis-Tison at 941-575-3613.

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

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