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Heritage Isles tax district extends bond of $8-million

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 20, 2001


HERITAGE ISLES -- It took only minutes and there was no debate. The Heritage Isles Community Development District officially approved an extension on an $8-million bond that came due this month.

The unanimous vote was repeated this week at the May board of supervisors meeting held at the Rutenberg model center in Heritage Isles. The board had unofficially approved the measure at an emergency meeting called on April 25, a meeting that was not advertised in accord with public records laws.

The board called the emergency meeting a few days before a May 1 deadline to pay off the bond. It had planned to make the payment with a larger, permanent bond issue. But the second bond, needed to cover $33-million of infrastructure costs, did not close in time. The board placed a retroactive announcement of its April 25 meeting in the May 2 edition of the Tampa Tribune.

Because builder US Home owns most of the land in Heritage Isles, all of the taxing district's board members are US Home employees.

Last week's meeting went smoothly. In addition to the extension, the board approved a one-year contract with Blue Water Aquatics, a maintenance company that cleans ponds, and a proposed budget for 2002, which will be presented at a public hearing on July 18.

One resident joined chairman Mike Lawson and three other supervisors at the meeting. Bruce McNally, who moved into the community in January, suggested that the board publish a newsletter to better inform residents of upcoming meetings.

"You are the power for them, and they just want to know what's going on," said McNally.

- Michael Sandler can be reached at (813) 226-3472.

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