While the bill to dissolve the city of Weeki Wachee (HB-1215) awaits a signature by Governor Ron DeSantis, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted unanimously at the April 14th meeting to create a Dependent Special District of the former city, which will protect the county from any responsibility for the current debts owed by Weeki Wachee, while also protecting the city’s creditors. The county will also seek to keep the tax liabilities and annual fees of the involved businesses to a minimum.
Deputy County Attorney Jon Jouben explained that the new tax rates affecting the businesses will not be levied on this upcoming tax bill, but in 2021.
The legitimacy of the debts, and the official amount owed will be determined after a court hearing, which according to Jouben, “would be up to each purported creditor to file a lawsuit against the County seeking to validate its claim. Such a lawsuit would either be filed in the county or circuit court, with jurisdiction dependent upon the amount of the respective claim.”
Commissioner John Allocco added that the businesses that make up the entire tax roll for the former city should be spared any tax hikes, and stated that their annual fees should be kept “as low as is legally possible.” There are no residential properties that will be affected by this change.
Deputy County Attorney Jon Jouben answered that the tax liabilities and repayment of the debts is within the power of the BOCC, following the final court decision. Jouben could not definitively say how long the proceedings would take, but did comment that, “Assuming that there is litigation, and assuming that litigation goes forward … and through any appeals … possibly years.”