SEEING RED — Owners of property within the red lines of the area shown here must pay extra to repair and maintain South Kentucky Avenue, a deteriorating private road used by residents to get to and from work and shopping. South Kentucky Avenue was built more than 50 years ago by private landowners who later declared bankruptcy.

Orange City officials have decided that a private road will be repaired and maintained, and the people living along it and around it will pay most of the expenses.

South Kentucky Avenue was built more than 50 years ago to provide access to and from properties lining both sides of it. The broken roadway, fraught with years of neglect, extends about a mile southward from East Graves Avenue.

“The council voted to enact the special assessment,” City Manager Dale Arrington said, referring to the Orange City Council’s special meeting May 16.

The council’s vote for the South Kentucky Avenue assessment district was 6-1. Council Member Kelli Marks dissented.

The charges imposed on property owners in the special district, along with a payment of $75,000 from the city, Orange City leaders say, will raise approximately $1.2 million to make more permanent repairs on South Kentucky Avenue.

This is in addition to the almost $50,000 the city paid in 2021 to make emergency and safety-related repairs.

The City Council’s move to fix the roadway was not pleasing to some of the affected property owners.

“We had a large number of people who showed up. We had a number of residents from Oakhurst who showed up, and they spoke against the assessment,” Arrington said. “We had other people who wanted the assessment reduced.”

Orange City had sent letters to residents within the proposed South Kentucky Avenue assessment district to inform them of the then-upcoming special meeting of the City Council to consider the annual charges.

City officials hired outside help to create the South Kentucky Avenue assessment district. One of the consultants was Bryant Miller Olive, a firm with offices in Atlanta and Orlando, to handle the legal establishment of the special-assessment district. The city paid BMO $36,332.50 for its services, including a subcontract with a Tampa traffic consultant, Elizabeth Rodriguez & Associates Inc., to help determine the charges.

Orange City also hired Colliers Engineering & Design, at a cost of $92,338.20, to handle the design of the roadway and its improvements.

“South Kentucky Avenue is not a ‘through’ thoroughfare for the general traveling public,” the consultant’s report noted. “While the general public and property owners outside the assessment area may generally benefit to some extent from the Project, any such benefits are incidental. The Project will convey special benefits to the properties comprising the assessment area. … Properties outside the area do not depend upon the roadway for access to and from the greater transportation network and are not obligated to repair and maintain the road as a condition of original development approval. Accordingly, 100% of the benefits conveyed by the Project access to the properties comprising the assessment area, and the total cost of the Project may be assessed against such properties.”

Rodriguez & Associates used “trip generation” as the methodology for determining the charges. Trip generation refers to the number of trips generated by each property daily based on its type and use, such as residential, commercial, industrial or institutional. The Trip Generation Manual is a standard guide used by traffic engineers to calculate the charges for property owners to pay for transportation improvements.

Although Orange City is contributing some public funds for improving South Kentucky Avenue, Arrington said it will remain a private road.

More than 270 properties appear on the assessment roll. The non-ad valorem charges will appear on the property-tax bills that will be sent to owners of the affected parcels in November.

The amounts the residents must provide vary, dependent on the location and type of their properties. The higher charges apply to owners of property along South Kentucky Avenue itself, and those who are farther away but who would benefit from an upgraded roadway will pay less.

Owners of single-family homes along and close by South Kentucky Avenue — those who will likely use the road more often — will be charged $2,318. The assessment may be paid over 20 years at a rate that includes 4-percent interest. Property owners may pay the full assessment all at once.

The owners of mobile homes will be charged $1,150 per space, or $101 per year, for the same term.

Those who own undeveloped property will be billed $4,949 per acre, or $436 per acre per year.

Property owners in the lower tier of likely usage will be billed proportionately less. The owner of a single-family home will be assessed $170, which may be paid in a lump sum or at a rate of $15.16 per year.

“We are sending out prepayment invoices next week,” Orange City Finance Director Christine Davis told The Beacon. “That way they can choose to pay it all, or it will go on their tax bills.”

Arrington could not say when the actual construction work on South Kentucky Avenue, including milling, resurfacing, drainage upgrades and curb and guttering, may begin.

“We have some engineering to do,” she concluded.


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