Lakewood Ranch Herald

Lakewood Ranch districts plan budget increases for 2016

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- After meeting in monthly workshops since March, Lakewood Ranch district supervisors this week approved their 2016 budgets and set public hearing dates. The fees residents can expect to pay are a mixed bag, depending on their district.

Residents of Community Development District 1, serving Summerfield and Riverwalk, will see their household assessment decrease an average of $3, while residents of District 5, serving Country Club, will see a decrease of $37 per household. Supervisors were able to achieve the reduction in assessments by carrying forward fund balances from the 2015 budget.

Residents of the other districts will see an increase.

Residents of District 2, serving Country Club and Edgewater, will see an increase averaging $68 per household. The increase for households in District 4, serving the Greenbrook area, is projected to average $60. And

residents of District 6, serving Country Club West, are facing an average increase of $246 per household.

District 6's increase is due to the need to increase the CDD's budgeted road reserve by $100,000, based on the recommendation of a paving management study, said Steve Zielinski, chief financial officer. District 6's budget is projected to increase $129,520, or 16.2 percent, with the road reserve increase accounting for most of that.

Even though some residents will see their assessments decrease, all districts are planning to increase their budgets.

Budget public hearings scheduled at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.:

District 1: 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20. The proposed budget would increase 10.4 percent, or $187,490 to $1.9 million. The budget includes the cost of retrofitting 121 street lamps with LED lights along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard from River Club to State Road 70, and 55 lights along Summerfield Parkway. The new lights are expected to save energy and lighting costs over the long term.

District 2: 9 a.m. Aug. 20. The proposed budget would increase 7.3 percent, or $217,115 to $3.1 million. The increases are for road lamp retrofitting and road projects.

District 4: 8 a.m. Aug. 20. The proposed budget would increase 8.6 percent, or $158,050 to $2 million. The major part of the increase is for road lamp retrofitting.

District 5: 9 a.m. Aug. 20, The proposed budget would increase 17.9 percent to $2.7 million for storm drain repairs and road surfacing.

District 6: 10 a.m. Aug. 20. The proposed budget would increase 13.1 percent, or $129,520 to $930,440.

Interdistrict Authority: 10 a.m. July 16. The proposed budget would increase 9.7 percent of $325,030 to $3.6 million. The increase is primarily due to funding two new positions and the proposed system software conversion.

In other business Thursday, Executive Director Eva Rey announced that residents can now use their credit cards to pay their homeowner association and town hall space rentals.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.