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Water and sewer pipes are expensive, even if not connected to a home.

Owners of vacant property in neighborhoods with underground utilities are learning that after commissioners approved on Tuesday a “utility availability” fee.

The annual fee works to about $50 a year for property owners that have water and sewer lines fronting their vacant property.

Homeowners pay for the water/sewer lines as part of their monthly utility bills.

Owners of vacant property urged commissioners to vote down the fee because they receive no immediate benefit.

Robert Strader, of Sugarmill Woods, said he owns vacant lots on both sides of his house.

“This is charging people for no service, no impact on the system,” Strader said.

Commissioners, though, said having water and sewer immediately available is a strong selling point for owners of vacant property.

“At some point someone is going to live on that vacant lot,” Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith said.

Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. agreed: “The utility is there for your use whether you use it or not.”

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(7) comments


There is an easy fix for those who own lots around their home to add a buffer. Have the county combine them so they are listed as a single piece of property. I did that years ago so I could build a home in the middle of two 1 acre lots.


If an empty lot only has water service and no sewer service, will the tax be $25 instead of $50?


This is the most illogical tax hike I have seen yet. Additionally, especially in Sugarmill, we can barely access the properties due to the egregious conditions of the pot-hole infested roadways. Where is this increased assessment of water rate money going to go? How about making improvements to increase the worth of homeownership for us TAXPAYERS?


Tax Hungery, Fee Hungery politicians won't get my vote.

CitrusCo Citizen

Wrong. People buy vacant lots on either side of their property in order to have more peace, quiet, and privacy, and/or more land for an extra shed or boat. Most WON'T be building there. Why, suddenly, does the county need this money? Is it another way to increase taxes forever to pay for the Tollroad to Nowhere that Nobody Wants? We've had that those vacant lots for 50 years in our family and now suddenly this year, this month, we have to pay $100 a year for absolutely no service. There's no need for water or wastewater, because there's nothing there and there never will be!! What a ripoff!!

CitrusCo Citizen

So, it looks like whenever Kitchen, Smith and their cronies look for more ways to pay for their vanity projects they will raise our taxes. They hold these bogus "meetings", pretending to hear objections, and then just go ahead and raise taxes anyway. This is not a democracy, it's a dictatorship and it's not going to stop. Based on their track records for the past few years, I am done with them and I will go out of my way to convince my friends and neighbors to Vote Them Out.


I have to totally agree ... the BOCC does not welcome or listen to constituent's criticism in general and in particular regarding the astronomical water/sewer fees. Kitchen did NOT get my SMW vote nor will he ever!

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