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East County Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2019 4 months ago

Lakewood Ranch CDD 2 assessments adjusted

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Methodology changes shift costs away from condo owners.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Residents in Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 2 communities might see swings of up to $300 in CDD assessments in the upcoming fiscal year.

CDD 2 supervisors in June approved their $3.84 million operating budget for fiscal year 2020, which runs Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. It uses a new method for assessing property owners.

Costs associated with indirect support departments, such as administration and management at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, now will be allocated using more of a direct cost approach. For example, condo owners were contributing similar amounts as single-family homeowners for professional services, such as engineering, yet they maintain their own roads and do not utilize roads within the Country Club gates.

“Condos are not involved with that, so why pay for engineering?” Town Hall Financial Director Steve Zielinksi said.

The end result is assessment reductions for condominium owners of up to nearly $300 a year and increases for single-family homeowners of about $300 a year.

CDD 2 Supervisor Jerry Twiggs said the changes correct “a longstanding problem.”

“The allocation is a fairer allocation,” he said.

Many of the condominium communities in CDD 2 — Watercrest, The Moorings, Boca Grove, Miramar, Waterfront at Main Street and the Lofts at Main Street — maintain their own roadways and have their own maintenance and management staff. For that reason, Twiggs and some other condominium owners believed they were paying a disproportionate share of assessments, particularly for line items, such as administration at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.

CDD 2 is set to adopt its final budget at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 15 at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton. Supervisors spent more than seven months evaluating the old methodology.

The district had allocated costs basically the same way since it was established in 1995 with an allocation method typically used for single-family homes. CDD 2 now is 40% condominiums, Twiggs said.

Zielinksi said concerns from condo owners about the methodology have existed since the last methodology report was completed 10 years ago but that reevaluating the approach garnered more attention in the past two years.

“You have to balance everything,” Zielinksi said. “We know there’s going to be satisfaction from the condos but pushback from the single-family homes.”

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