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Spring Hill group seeking support for incorporation

Perhaps Spring Hill should be a city, the organization says. It will share its vision with the Spring Hill Civic Association on Thursday.

By JENNIFER FARRELL

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 2, 2000


SPRING HILL -- For the past seven months, about a dozen residents have considered how best to spark interest in a plan to make Spring Hill a city.

Knowing they will need help for the effort to succeed, the Spring Hill Incorporation Committee plans to take its pitch on the road this week.

Committee members will speak at the Spring Hill Civic Association's monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Springstead High School, 3300 Mariner Blvd.

The civic association, committee members say, is the perfect place to energize volunteers for an effort they say will require an intense campaign.

First, they intend to lobby for a study that would determine the feasibility of such a move.

"We are not saying that we're going to become a city or we're not going to become a city," said committee chairman Bill Fagan. "We see where it makes viable sense to take the next step and get a feasibility study."

Fagan estimated the study would cost $25,000 to $30,000, based on discussions with officials in Deltona and Palm Coast, both of which recently passed incorporation votes. He said the group would approach businesses and individuals for contributions but did not rule out asking the county to help finance the study.

The group says the incorporation question could go on the ballot as early as 2001.

"Spring Hill is the Cadillac of the county, but as the east side of the county grows, where are we going to be?" Fagan asked. "I think we have to look at that."

Fagan dismissed the two previous attempts at incorporation in the 1980s, both of which failed.

"They had no idea what they were doing," he said. "Someone thought they could just railroad it through."

Civic association president Jim McLaughlin said his organization will take a wait-and-see stance on the issue until more information is available.

"We would be foolish if we did come out and support it," he said. "Until they get the feasibility study, they have no findings."

McLaughlin applauded the committee's efforts so far.

"They've gone ahead and made the right contacts, seeking the right information, rather than just drawing ideas from their heads," he said. "They've gone to other communities that have gone through the same ordeal."

As for questions about the potential increase or decrease in taxes that could come with incorporation, McLaughlin called for residents to be patient.

"We're hoping that the people realize that they don't have the bottom line yet," he said.

McLaughlin urged interested residents to show up at Thursday night's meeting.

"We want the process to be open," he said. "This way the people will have an opportunity to come down and ask questions."

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