Local News

Lacy Hills residents will vote on annexation

SEBRING - Lacey Hills residents will vote next month on whether they want their neighborhood to become part of the city of Avon Park. After the second and final public hearing, the city council voted unanimously Monday to approve an ordinance that will put the annexation issue up for a vote by Lacey Hills residents on Sept. 17. One Lacey Hills resident spoke at the public hearing and asked about the benefits, the restrictions and how their taxes would be affected. City Manager Julian Deleon responded that the restrictions would be that the residents would have to abide by the Avon Park Code of Ordinances and the Land Development Regulations.
"They are very similar to the county's, but there are some minor differences," he said. "Clearly the intent would be to work with your community. If there is any noncompliance, the intent is to work with you and not be difficult in how to get us there." The benefits would be local governance, Deleon said. "I believe we provide a higher level of service than what you are currently receiving," he said. "You would receive a utility rate discount as well." The city would maintain the roads in Lacey Hills and he believes that level of maintenance would be higher than the area is currently receiving, Deleon said. Concerning taxes, Deleon said he could get the Lacey Hills resident a report on any fee increases associated with being in the city. "The city is looking at going to a .30 millage, which the taxable impact would be minimal," he said. "Probably the largest cost you will see on your tax bill will be the [annual] fire assessment, which is $165 per household." Deleon explained that the city has a 24/7 fire department, which also responds to medical calls. The city is looking into expanding the South Side Community Redevelopment Agency's boundaries and other grant opportunities may become available for Lacey Hills if it is annexed into the city, he said. "When you drive around the city limits you see a lot of sidewalks and you see more infrastructure than you normally see around Lacey Hills," Deleon said. "If that area is incorporated into the city it would become part of the city and we would be able to allocate some resources towards improving infrastructure." The area considered for annexation is located south of Earnest E. Sims Street, north of Garrett Road, east of South Lake Avenue and west of Cummings Avenue. The approximately 43 acres has 161 parcels of land, including 92 improved properties. mvalero@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5826