Lee County to Drop - For Now- the Proposed Pine Island MSBU or MSTU Taxing Authority

Phil Buchanan states in an email dated 10-15-15;

"Attendance at the presentation was very good for this time of year--in fact, the hall was loaded to capacity. I know of some people that left because they could not find a parking space.

The Lee County Staff, led by Commissioner Manning, did a very professional and effective presentation. Practically all questions reflected skepticism heir contention that our present evacuation procedures are adequate.

County Attorney Richard Wesch made two very exciting surprise announcements. He said they had settled all eight Bert Harris cases for some $4.2 million, including attorney fees and all, plus Lee County will become the owner of the development rights on all of those properties. He also said they were going to (at least for now) drop the provisions proposing a tax (MSBU or MSTU) on Pine Islanders to buy development rights. Both items are great news!

I submitted, on behalf of the Pine Island Planning Committee, two proposed changes to the draft plan rewrite. One restoring the requirement for open space in new developments and one providing a suitable replacement for the 810 rule (which prohibited new development that would significantly increase traffic through Matlacha). I labeled both provisions critical to our approval of the rewritten Plan."

It is possible that an MSBU (Municipal Services Benefit Units) or MSTU (Municipal Services Taxing Units) taxing authority would be instituted in order to reimburse Lee County for the legal costs incurred settling the Bert Harris law suits and raising further funds to settle future such claims of large, tax exempt agriculture property owners. Individual property owners on Pine Island have had no extraordinary problems permitting residential homes on as little as 50x80ft lots.

The original estimates for settling such claims were upwards of $250 million.

Revenue in an MSBU comes from non-ad valorem (non-value) assessments. The cost of the program developed by the MSBU's appointed or elected Advisory Committee is divided by the total number of equivalent residential units (ERU's) resulting in an assessment per ERU. A single residential lot is often defined as one ERU. .
Revenue for MSTU work programs is produced by ad valorem (value) taxes and based upon he millage rate.