Longboat Key Assistant Town Manager Anne Ross jumpstarted a two-month Gulf of Mexico Drive undergrounding utilities referendum education forum process at the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key’s breakfast meeting this morning.
Ross reviewed the pros and cons of a $25.25 million non ad-valorem GMD project that voters will decide if they want to pay for in the Nov. 3 election.
The public education campaign now underway, though, won’t include any information about the second referendum question about burying utilities in neighborhoods and side streets. The Longboat Key Town Commission directed town staff Sept. 9 to pull the second question language and individual property owner funding numbers from the town web site.
Town Manager Dave Bullock originally intended for staff to answer questions regarding the second referendum during educational forums this fall.
But the commission is worried that the funding formula for the second project, which they want to revisit, will cause voters not to approve the GMD project.
Last year, the commission approved a concept for the second question that buries utilities in neighborhoods, with those property owners picking up the whole tab via non-ad valorem assessments. Those property owners that already have buried utilities wouldn't pay for any of that cost under that scenario.
When Ross was asked about the second project Thursday, her response was, “The second question is undecided and will only be looked at and revised if the GMD question passes.”
Ross also explained staff has been told burying power lines along GMD increases property values.
“We haven’t received any information or data confirming that, but we were told it increases property values,” Ross said.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].