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Commission powers up GMD undergrounding

The burial of island utilities into two referendum questions is doomed for failure, the Longboat Key Town Commission will put the question to the voters in November.

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  • | 2:30 p.m. June 29, 2015
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Longboat Key’s registered voters will decide whether to flip the switch or cut the power altogether on a $25.25 million Gulf of Mexico Drive power pole and utilities undergrounding project.

The Longboat Key Town Commission voted 5-1 on second reading and public hearing Monday at a special meeting on referendum language that will come before Key voters at the polls on Nov. 11. Commissioner Jack Daly was absent from the meeting and Commissioner Pat Zunz voted against it.

It will be the only question on the ballot for Longboaters to consider.

The majority of the commission stuck to their original plan, which calls for voters to approve a pair of non-ad valorem funding options.

If the Gulf of Mexico Drive project is approved in November, any property owner that doesn’t currently have underground power lines will vote in a mail-only ballot to decide if they want to pay $20.5 million in addition to the Gulf of Mexico Drive cost to have the rest of the island’s utilities buried in neighborhoods and side streets.

The second question, though, is what four residents in attendance at Monday’s meeting fear will doom the undergrounding project altogether.

If the referendum is approved in November, assessments for property owners would be finalized by December. Then, survey and engineering work would begin in January. Collection of assessments would begin in 2016 and construction could begin in spring 2017.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].


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