Meeting in a workshop session last Thursday afternoon, Washington County commissioners heard from Cristy Voehl and County Attorney Jeff Goodman regarding the present status and future of the Sunny Hills Multiple Service Benefit Unit (MSBU).
Voehl (shown at the right) and Goodman told commissioners that a MSBU is just a “spot on the map” and is not a legal body. They were also told a MSBU has no legal standing to own property or equipment; however, MSBU funds can be used to buy equipment, but the equipment is actually owned by Washington County. Additionally, all liability remains with the county.
Showing the chart at the right, Voehl said commissioners are responsible for being sure that all services provided through MSBU funds are done in a manner to benefit those paying into the fund.
Voehl described several programs used to provide services throughout Florida, including Multiple Service Taxing Units (MSTU), Multiple Service Benefit Units (MSBU), and Special Districts.
Goodman expressed the opinion that it would be “next to impossible” to establish a Special District to replace the current MSBU, and Voehl said the area does not meet the density criteria for incorporation into a District.
Property owners in the existing MSBU are assessed $31.25 per year per lot. Those funds are currently encumbered for a number of years to pay off a more than $1.6 million road paving project undertaken through the MSBU a few years ago.
County Commissioner Charles Brock suggested the BOCC become the advisory board for the MSBU (eliminating the sitting board), contract out the mowing rather than having county employees do the work and pay for the lighting. He said all funds left after those costs are paid would be used to pay off the existing road debt.
Fellow commissioners supported the move and while no decision was made at the workshop regarding the future of the MSBU, county staffers were directed to develop cost figures relative to the MSBU funds being used to provide lighting on the main boulevard into Sunny Hills and mowing along roads inside the MSBU lines. They are to report back at the February BOCC workshop.