Is III in Sand Key's Best Interest?
I am a fifteen year resident of Sand Key. Long before III (Islands Independence Initiative), I have repeatedly heard, and honestly, I have voiced the same "cry" about Sand Key paying too much in taxes. I want to make the point that nothing changes for residents of Sand Key, if Sand Key becomes part of a new city.
Why? Sand Key has: no city streets (a county road and some private streets), only two public amenities: the Clearwater Community Sailing Center and Bay Park and one public safety facility, and Fire Station 44. Further, the cost of those 3 capital improvements totals about $2 million. Because of Sand Key's compact urban layout, it has only1½ miles of utilities.
Looking at Clearwater Beach for comparison, capital improvements in the last ten years include: the Round-About, the Memorial Causeway Bridge, Mandalay Streetscape, Beach Walk, reclaimed water; totaling about $115 million. There are miles of city streets, the annual operating costs of all that plus the police effort that is necessary for Clearwater Beach.
Island Estates also has miles of roads and utilities and a laundry list of things they want: $½ million of landscaping improvements, underground their utilities and on. Sand Key already has underground utilities and we paid for them.
Why do I mention this? If (and that is a far-fetched "if" - think "Mission Impossible") all of the legislative obstacles can be achieved and a new city is eventually formed; an impact study will be required. It will determine what infrastructure you, the residents have to purchase from Clearwater! Now, here is the big question. Sand Key residents, do you want to purchase all of those streets and utilities, and Clearwater Beach infrastructure for possibly as much as $100 million, possibly more? Especially, when they reciprocate and help your purchase of $2 million plus utilities of infrastructure and no streets on Sand Key. Sand Key, how do you feel about this "fair share" of this cost?
To wrap up, whether Sand Key is part of Clearwater or some new jurisdiction, Sand Key remains the cash cow. Residents of Sand Key will still be pouring out their taxes to other neighborhoods. Sand Key will continue to be the universal donor community. So why would you want to support III and be in a new city? Look at the depth and breadth of all that Clearwater has in resources and amenities. For all of its warts and pimples, Clearwater is clearly the best choice.
What is the will of the people on Sand Key? How does the silent majority of Sand Key view the III? If III doesn't make sense to you, please begin speaking up and speaking out. Go to the Sand Key Civic Association meetings on the first Wednesday of the month and share your views. Go to city council meetings and speak during citizens to be heard. Send an email to a city council member. And finally, read the ad and vote for the three past presidents of SKCA without voting for anyone else on the ballot. Those 3 representatives will work for all of Sand Key. We need hundreds of you to vote for us by this Monday.
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