Seminole County residents agree to tax themselves for cleaner lakes
Seminole commissioners agreed on Tuesday [Jan. 26th] to form two more Municipal Service Benefit Units (MSBUs) to clean five lakes near Winter Springs, Lake Mary and Sanford at the requests of nearby homeowners.
The first MSBU is an estimated $254,500 plan by the county to tackle the hydrilla invasion at Little Lake Howell — also known as Tuskawilla Lake — north of East Lake Drive and west of Tuskawilla Road near Winter Springs, that will be done in two phases over five years beginning in February.
In the first phase, 48 lakefront homeowners will each be assessed $875, or $198 annually over five years. (The total amount for homeowners paying in installments over five years is higher than $875 to cover financing fees, county officials said.) The county will kick in $17,500.
In phase 2, which will start after Oct. 1, homeowners will be assessed an additional $445 for the first year. Amounts for future assessments over the next five years will be determined depending on varying costs of lake maintenance. County officials estimated that could tally up to $195,000 through 2026.
The second MSBU for the East Crystal Chain of Lakes — which includes Bel-Air Lake, Crystal Lake, Pine Lake and DeForest Lake west of State Road 417 and north of Old Lake Mary Road — will cost an estimated $333,500 for the initial clean up before Oct. 1. The county will add in $17,500 and the 456 homeowners will pay an estimated $316,000 for the first phase. After October, the ongoing lake maintenance will cost about $34,000 a year.
Homeowners around the lakes — about 168 properties — will be assessed an estimated $325 annually for both the initial clean up and the ongoing maintenance in the first year. And 288 surrounding properties with access to the lakes through their neighborhood associations’ lakefront property will be assessed between $3 and $42 a year, depending on their home’s proximity.