Concerning “incorporation” of our community, and the article that ran in the Town-Crier on Dec. 16.
First, a snip from the article… “If The Acreage were to incorporate, it would draw about $15 million in revenue, with only about $10 million to spend, and no ad valorem tax in its first years.”
OK, so in the first year, no ad valorem tax is assessed. What about every year thereafter? Does this mean only in the first year there is some imaginary $5 million in excess revenue? Please contemplate a few things, if not many more. Incorporation means a double-layer of “local,” “state” and “federal” government. A municipality must provide for every entity that already exists under the county, state and federal government, as well as funding for all of that. What might and does that mean?
Contemplate, for example, the need as a new “municipality” for providing services such as fire, sheriff, planning, zoning, transportation, code enforcement, roads, affordable housing, commercial development, industrial development, condominiums, apartments, education, senior living, environmental, water, sewer, flooding, transportation, garbage collection, assisted living, drug/alcohol facilities, etc. You name it in government, and when you incorporate as a “government,” you must provide it. This is why taxes go up, and you only need to look at Loxahatchee Groves as an example.
That extra $5 million the first year, when you don’t need to assess, quickly is gobbled up. What you sought to protect is quickly gobbled up as well.
Contemplate the Acreage/Loxahatchee community today. Every road is private. Once you “incorporate,” every road becomes public. Ask Loxahatchee Groves.
Think about the Acreage/Loxahatchee community today, and realize that we already pay to the Indian Trail Improvement District a huge amount of taxes as property owners for maintaining roads, drainage and parks (and parks should never have been added, but now will also be a responsibility of the new municipality). Is PLAN suggesting eliminating ITID, or will we have three layers of “local” government?
Contemplate “homestead” law in the State of Florida. Once you become a municipality, only a half-acre is protected as “homestead” in the State of Florida. This means, for our 1.5-acre community, absent grandfathering, 1 acre is unprotected from exemption from lawsuits, taxation and even bankruptcy protection if you seek it, as even famous president-elects are wont to do.
Contemplate Loxahatchee Groves as an example of a community that incorporated to keep itself rural, when suddenly rural meant creating commercial and more. Check out its board, which is approving commercial even in corridors it said would remain “rural,” paving where it said it wouldn’t, and adding traffic lights.
Before you get fooled by a group that claims it will give you autonomy, protection, and savings; consider what the ultimate “consequences” of creating a new “government” might be. It might be more than you considered; way more than you considered, and much more life-altering. Rather than preserving, protecting and creating autonomy, it might instead offer a “new” municipality that might deliver the exact opposite.
Patricia D. Curry, The Acreage