Pasco County is proceeding with a new tax assessment to cover the costs for residential road projects.
The new tax is expected to be on tax bills sent out in November 2024.
The Residential Road Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) will replace the county’s Paving Assessment (PVAS) system, that’s been used for decades.
The PVAS system required the owners of a majority of property along a street that would benefit from the program to agree to proceed with the paving.
Once agreement was reached, the Pasco County Commission would consider the PVAS application, and if approved, all of the property owners on the street would be assessed for the improvement, whether they wanted the improvement or not.
The program pitted neighbors against neighbors.
In some cases, owners of the majority of the land would not agree to the improvement.
In other cases, property owners along a street pleaded to the county board for relief, citing an inability to pay.
Additionally, the PVAS system had no funding for maintenance or repairs of dangerous sidewalks.
Those issues are expected to be addressed through the new Residential Local Road Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU).
The county board voted on Sept. 19 to continue the county’s pursuit of the MSTU to replace PVAS.
The new MSTU will show up on tax bills, creating a source of revenue to pay for local road projects, maintenance, and in limited cases, sidewalk projects.
The boundaries of the new Residential Local Road MSTU includes all unincorporated areas of Pasco County, except for parcels that currently — or in the future — are subject to or within the boundaries of an Active PVAS; and, parcels within a Homeowners’ Association or Community Development District that maintains its private roads.
The county board also has granted property owners who have paid or are paying their PVAS assessments a two-year reprieve from the new assessment. They said some sort of reprieve is only fair, but they don’t want to make the tax break too long because they don’t want to cripple the system.
Justin Grant, public infrastructure fiscal and business administration director, said the goal is to proceed with the new system in time to include the MSTU assessments on the tax bills that will be sent out in November 2024.
Meanwhile, a determination will be made regarding who is listed on the final tax roll for the MSTU, and the county board will deliberate what the millage rate should be.
Grant said the new system will provide a source of funds to pay for incremental maintenance, which ultimately allows roads to last longer and to avoid the need for high-cost repairs.
The new system also will allow the county to complete some sidewalk work, but only in cases where the sidewalk is affiliated with a local road project, and when it is deemed to pose safety issues.
County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder said the county must use due care, when it comes to sidewalks.
Once the county does any sort of maintenance on a sidewalk, it becomes the county’s responsibility, Steinsnyder said.
Published October 04, 2023. This story was revised on Oct. 04, 2023.