All of Longboat to underground utilities; work begins

After years of discussion, and a voter-approved referendum, the town has begun undergrounding power lines. 

With condominium groups protesting their tax portion for the undergrounding, Town Manager Dave Bullock sought to mitigate those costs to taxpayers.

In September, the Town Commission spent hours at a meeting in an effort to ease the disparity in cost for the project, which is slated to bury every utility line in all of the neighborhoods on the key. Property owners had already approved using non ad valorem assessments to pay for the approximately $22 million project.

Some residents and condominium owners thought the benefit they would receive was not worth the price tag of up to $8,000 or $9,000. Other property owners thought they were placed in the highest assessment category due to the 55-foot rule the town used to calculate how much a particular parcel would pay.

The Commission ultimately determined by a 4-3 consensus to use up to $5 million in other town non ad valorem fees and revenue to defray the cost of undergrounding the neighborhoods by about $1,800 for those who have above ground lines and were going to pay the most in assessments. Whether the final real cost turns out to be around $15 million that Lenny Landau and others have suggested, or costs $22 plus million which the town has said is the high estimate with contingencies, remains to be seen as the town moves closer to a bid proposal.


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Longboat Key News

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