1993 feels like a really long time ago.
Gas was considered expensive at $1.16 a gallon. Tickets to the movie theater cost a little over $4.00 — a third of the price they run now. The average cost of a new car was $12,750. A college graduate in 1993 finished school with about $9,300 in student debt. Today that number has increased by about $21,000.
Different times, right?
Bill Clinton was president and we hadn’t heard of Monica Lewinsky yet. The siege on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, took place that year. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was born and so were Ty Warner USA’s Beanie Babies — the fad we all thought would make us rich.
Intel introduced the Pentium microprocessor and Microsoft released Windows NT 3.1 — the newest and fastest operating system money could buy. Jurassic Park was crushing it at movie theaters across America and we were all tuning in to be shocked by The “X-Files” and to laugh at “Frasier.” “Animaniacs” was the hit kids cartoon.
1993 feels like a lifetime ago, right?
For residents of Citrus Springs, 1993 represents something else, too. The last time the MSBU increased its annual fee. That’s right. It’s been 27 years.
Last week county commissioners voted for the first time in almost three decades to increase the fee schedule for Citrus Springs residents. The increase isn’t a terrible hike — just a little more than
an extra value meal at McDonald’s. A $10 jump will raise money to take care of the fountain at the entrance to the community, pay to mow the right of way and contribute to funds used for the beautification of the neighborhood. But most importantly, it adds about $300,000 to the coffers to resurface roads.
And that, my friends, is really good news.
It may seem confusing because it wasn’t that long ago that Citrus Springs had some roads resurfaced. But the end result of that little adventure wasn’t quite what most residents had bargained for. Many roads received resurfacing — just not many roads that people actually use.
If you haven’t been to Citrus Springs recently you should go check it out. It’s an often forgotten little community but it’s charming — if you can manage to stay on roads that won’t require you to overhaul your shocks when you leave. So when the last paving initiative came through a few years back, you can imagine the collective disappointment when residents discovered that roads that led to nowhere seemed to be first on the list. These, of course, were closely followed by dead ends and roads with literally no houses on them.
I know some residents were upset about the recent announcement of an upcharge. And to some it seems trivial. It’s just $10. But the displeasure that arose from the last paving expedition was real. People do not want to be disappointed again. It isn’t asking too much to have your roads resurfaced once every 30 years or so. It really isn’t.
While the nature of the resistance is reasonable, the $10 isn’t likely to meet too much hostility — unless the inhabited roads are once again overlooked. That, in all seriousness, cannot happen again.
The real test will be how the resurfacing plays out. The county’s formula uses a combination of road condition and density to determine which roads receive a new coating. The MSBU uses a system that relies solely on road condition, given the fact that owners of vacant lots also pay fees that contribute to the funding. This might be a problem — given the condition of so many roads in the community coupled with how many roads have no dwellings on them.
It’s a considerable number.
Residents are right to be a little skeptical of the price hike without some guarantees on which roads are going to see some action. People want a return on their investment — no matter how small that investment may seem. And when it comes to road resurfacing in Citrus Springs, history hasn’t really been on their side.
Cortney Stewart is a 2003 graduate of Lecanto High School. She has bachelor’s degrees in political science and international affairs, a master’s degree in intercultural studies and is currently working on her Ph.D. in international conflict management. She most recently spent two years teaching and training students, teachers and government officials in Baghdad, Iraq. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.