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A pipeline of fresh sand extended across Blind Pass Beach on the Sarasota County portion of Manasota Key in this April 17 photo.

ENGLEWOOD — Manasota Key property owners looking for clarity on how much they’ll have to shell out for the new sand they received three months ago may have to wait a little longer.

Wednesday afternoon, Sarasota County commissioners are scheduled to discuss and give staff further direction on the final boundaries of the municipal services benefit unit (MSBU) to determine the percentages property owners on that portion of Manasota Key will pay toward their share of the project cost. They may use a consultant to help figure it out.

When they last discussed the beach renourishment project in late February, commissioners decided to tackle the thorny questions over the funding strategy in smaller bites.

They agreed then that the county would pay 47% of the cost and that bayside property owners with direct beach access would be included in the municipal services benefit unit. They also agree that tourist development tax funds would be used to pay the mobilization costs for the project.

That still left hanging the thornier question of including the 23 property owners in the middle portion of the Key who opted out of the sand project, meaning they would pay a portion of the project’s cost as recommended by county staff.

Also left unanswered is the amount of the assessment attributable to each property owner within the MSBU. That amount had not yet been determined.

Staff is still recommending that the 23 property owners in the gap area be included due to the recreational benefit they’ll receive from the sand placed to the south and north of them. Staff is also recommending the inclusion of three additional properties to the north of the northern project, due the migration of sand onto those properties.

The total cost of the renourishment project came to $9.5 million. After deducting the county’s share of those costs plus anticipated state beach grant funds, staff has calculated that the property owners share is around $2.3 million.

In preparation for Wednesday’s discussion, staff prepared an estimate of the amount individual property owners would pay depending upon the benefit they received. Those estimates, based upon an MSBU containing 124 parcels, ranged from a low of $620 for nonbeachfront parcels to a high of $9,770 for parcels with 150 feet of beachfront.

A February estimate places the assessment for the latter parcels at $15,600, so the new estimates have come down almost $6,000 for each of these property owners.

But those estimates are just that, and the final numbers are subject to change, especially depending on how many properties are ultimately included in the MSBU.

The discussion will take place in the afternoon portion of Wednesday’s meeting, which will take place at the County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. The afternoon session begins at 1:30 p.m.

Anyone planning to attend the meeting in person will be screened for the COVID-19 virus before entering the building. Seating inside commission chambers is also limited due to social distancing measures in place to limit the spread of the virus.

Commissioners are encouraging people to submit public comments via a site the county has created at SCGov.net/publicinput.

Email: jondaltonwr@gmail.com

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