A $111,350 traffic study could cost Community Development District 1 residents a $30 rate hike in their maintenance assessments.
The CDD 1 Board of Supervisors on Wednesday discussed the potential traffic study which would be undertaken after persistent calls from residents concerned about safety on Morse Boulevard north of County Road 466.
Sumter County owns the road and county commissioners have consistently brushed off residents’ concerns about the co-mingling of golf carts and vehicles on that section of Morse Boulevard. One commissioner even suggested the possibility of removing golf carts from that stretch of Morse Boulevard.
County commissioners have argued that an expansion of Morse Boulevard would be extremely expensive and could force the acquisition of homes for demolition.
There are concerns that the new CDD 1 engineering study will likely be performed by Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc., a firm frequently used for projects in The Villages.
Director of Property Management Bruce Brown said it would make economic sense to use Kimley-Horn.
“Kimley-Horn has an extensive background. It would be extremely costly to bring in another engineer to start from ground zero,” Brown said.
He reminded the board that Kimley-Horn is a national firm.
“There is a perception that Kimley-Horn is the ‘Developer’s engineer,’” Brown said.
Doug Blanding of the Village of Tierra Del Sol reminded the board of a 2007 traffic study in which Kimley-Horn did not follow direction. It was undertaken at the at intersection of San Marino Drive and Morse Boulevard due to concerns about safety and residents wanted a traffic light installed.
The problem was the traffic count was performed by Kimley-Horn in July when snowbirds were up north.
CDD 1 Chair Kathy Porter said she remembered that situation.
“The board was not happy with the information. It was resolved, and we have a light,” Porter said.
Most board members appeared to support the new $111,350 traffic study even though the planned 2022-23 budget is already under pressure due to inflation and rising wages.
Maintenance assessment fees have not been increased in CDD 1 since 2017.
Supervisor Judy Biebesheimer said it might to be time to “bite the bullet” and raise the assessment.
A 10 percent increase would raise an additional $110,000.
“Enough to pay for the traffic study,” Biebesheimer noted.
The increase would cost each household in CDD 1 about $30 per year.