Commissioners take no action on MSBU

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 at 10:11 AM.

CHIPLEY — The Washington County Board of County Commissioners heard a report Thursday morning on a recent community meeting in Sunny Hills, but still made no decisions on the fate of the Sunny Hills Municipal Service Benefit Unit.

“We held a community meeting in Sunny Hills on March 14, and about 95 people were present,” said Commissioner Lynn Gothard. “It was a very good meeting, we got a lot of feedback and suggestions.”

The commissioners took no action Thursday, but the fate of the Sunny Hills MSBU has been an ongoing topic at BOCC meetings this year.

The commissioners started discussing the MSBU in earnest on Jan. 24, when attorney Crystie Voehl of Tallahassee, a lawyer from County Attorney Jeff Goodman’s law firm, gave the board a presentation on the history of the MSBU.

An MSBU is an ordinance-created tax district and is a “an area on a map,” Goodman said at the January meeting, and all responsibility for the MSBU area falls back on the county commissioners.

Currently, the county collects $31.25 a year from residents and property owners within the MSBU, and that money is used to provide services to those living in Sunny Hills, as well as pay down the $1.66 million in debt — a loan that is not scheduled to be paid off until 2028, Goodman said.

At the Feb. 28 board meeting, Sal Zuricka presented to the commissioners the MSBU advisory board’s recommendation that all services to Sunny Hills be terminated and all incoming MSBU funds applied to the retirement of the $1.66 million debt.

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