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A judge ruled the Inverness City Council was wrong to annex property for an RV park development.

Inverness’ residential curbside garbage collection will soon cost a little more.

The Inverness City Council voted 4-0, with councilman Ken Hinkle absent, to approve a 3% price hike for the city’s monthly waste pickup fee. The current monthly fee is $9.85. That was based on a 2020 rate study by Tampa-based Tindale Oliver, the consulting company the city hired to review its waste pickup.

The study recommended that city officials review the monthly fee each year and that it should be adjusted annually to better reflect changing cost factors.

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The study predicted a 3% hike due to cost increases. The council voted to increase the rate to $10.15 per month for residential properties. City Manager Eric Williams said the hike is already reflected in the draft fiscal year 2021-2022 budget.

There was no trash talk among council members about the hike, agreeing that costs have increased and the price needed to reflect it.

“We knew we were behind (in prices),” said Councilwoman Jacquie Hepfer.

Until implemented, the city payed for residential trash pickup using general property taxes. But with most property owners utilizing homestead exemptions, the city council found that many city residents weren’t paying enough property taxes to cover the cost of the service they were receiving.

In other city business, the council:

• Had its second and final vote to mirror its impact fees to match that of the county’s rates.

The city historically follows suit when the county changes or increases its impact fees. The county reevaluates its impact fees every five years per state mandate. The county hires experts in the field to determine the impact costs of a new home, apartments, and other establishments.

The county raised its fees for single-family homes from $4,809 to 6,017, effective June 23, 2021.   

The city collects and transfers the impact fees from its new residents and passes them onto the county. Impact fees are collected from new and expanded developments and varies based on the development.

But the city collects and keeps impact fees related to transportation, parks and fire protection.

The city council approved 4-0 increasing impact fees beginning in September for transportation to $1,921, for single-family homes, up from the current $1,909.99.

Impact fees for parks will decline from the current $379.86 to $330.50. Fire impact fees for the city will remain at the current $393.93.

• Initial construction for a proposed 234-acre, upscale RV park that borders the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes has started.

The project, Preservation Point RV Resort, is being marketed as an upscale destination with several amenities.

The Inverness City Council annexed the property in 2019 at the request of the property owner, local attorney John Eden.

The Citrus County Commission objected to the property owner’s request to be voluntarily annexed into the city limit and sued to stop it. The case is still pending.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.