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Beverly Hills Municipal Services Benefit Unit

Voters will decide whether to create a new taxing entity to help fund community improvements.

By JIM ROSS and BRIDGET HALL GRUMET

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


Beverly Hills voters will find one extra item on their Tuesday ballots: a non-binding referendum concerning establishment of a municipal service benefit unit, more commonly called an MSBU.

The Beverly Hills Community Council successfully petitioned the County Commission to include the referendum question on the ballot. If enough residents support establishment of the MSBU, the commission would hold two public hearings and decide whether to create the taxing district.

The commission has agreed that the MSBU could charge no more than $9 per lot per year. The money would go toward community improvements such as grass mowing, street lighting and general beautification. Beverly Hills is unincorporated and has no other way to pay for such improvements.

If an MSBU is created, it would have an advisory board. That board could not increase the fee unless two public hearings were held and the County Commission approved the hike.

The community council has endorsed creation of the MSBU.

But some residents are outspoken in their opposition. One of those residents, Donna Buechly, said that the county should mow the public grass, and that streetlights are not needed in Beverly Hills, where night traffic is relatively low.

Another fear: the assessment will be inequitably charged, with commercial lot owners not paying their fair share.

"I've been hollering this from the rooftops, because I just don't think it's right," Mrs. Buechly said.

The question will appear on ballots distributed in the following precincts:

203 -- Forest Ridge/Central Ridge Library polling place

205 -- Central Beverly Hills/Beverly Hills Lion Club polling place

206 -- West Beverly Hills/Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church polling place

207 -- North Beverly Hills/Beverly Hills Recreation Center polling place.

On the Ballot

BEVERLY HILLS MUNICIPAL SERVICES REFERENDUM: Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County, Florida, adopt an ordinance creating a municipal service benefit unit which would levy a special assessment not to exceed $9 per lot per year for the purpose of providing roadway mowing, beautification, street lighting and other municipal services within the Beverly Hills community?

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