Legislators back vote to enlarge Alligator Point water district

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It went by in the blink of an eye, and it signaled that the Alligator Point Water Resources District will soon have a right to expand its boundaries.

At a brief delegation hearing held Monday afternoon at Carrabelle City Hall, both State Sen. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, and State Rep. Jason Shoaf, R-Port. St. Joe, were supportive of granting the water district the right to hold a vote next year to see if residents outside the district’s boundaries are willing to become part of the district.

The Florida Legislature would have to approve holding such an election, and the only people eligible to vote would be those who are registered to vote within the county, and who reside in the area of the expanded boundary.

As it stands now, there are only about 127 households in that area, compared to about 650 within the district.

Ron Mowrey, attorney for the water district, accompanied by board chairman Bucky Mitchell, told the legislators that if the measure were to pass, those homes brought into the district would have to pay the roughly 1.77 mills levied on properties.

But, they would no longer have to pay a $30 per month surcharge, which would mean that all homes valued at $200,000 or less and now outside the district, would see a decline in their total annual water costs.

Alligator Point resident Allan Feifer said that by becoming part of the district, those homes would then have to be served just like those already within the district, whereas now it is technical optional whether the district must provide them water.

Water bills are low for Alligator Point residents, only about $20 a month. The district operates on an annual budget of about $1.3 million.

Feifer said that he expects property values would rise slightly as a result of the expansion.

County Commissioner Bert Boldt, who backed the move, said he saw the expansion as a step towards a higher quality of water services.

“I’m impressed with the financial stability of the district,” he told the lawmakers.

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