Channelside residents balk over high taxes

08/21/08 Mitch E. Perry
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During the boom of the early part of this decade, new condominiums were built in downtown Tampa and the Channelside District at an rapid rat,e with the promise to new urban dwellers that they would be pioneers in a burgeoning part of the city.

But that’s hardly proven to be the case. The Tampa Tribune reported this morning that five developers have either filed for bankruptcy or walked away from projects in the area.

For those residents who did and still do live in downtown or Channelside, they say they’re getting taxed to death, and don’t see what those special "assessments" are getting them.

Christine Burdick with the Downtown Tampa Partnership came before the Tampa City Council to ask that the city to grant approval of the special assessments this year. But a few residents say the assessments – mostly to pay for beautification efforts, marketing for the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and the Tampa downtown Streetcar - are killing them.

Charlie Sallier says he has received three special assessments on his condo in the Channel district in the past two weeks totaling about $500. He said people like him weren’t getting what they were promised when they were lured into living in Channelside.

Downtown resident Mark Alma said he was representing the approximately 200 residents who live in Grand Central at Kennedy in Channelside. He said his neighbors are confused, thinking that the special assessments are a new thing, though in fact the city began applying the fee on residents since 1994.

Homesteaded properties in Channelside are exempted from special assessment, but not those who live in downtown Tampa. The streetcar exempts homesteaded properties.

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