Manatee County Government Administrative Center First Floor, Commission Chambers 9:00 a.m. - March 6, 2018
REVISED March 6, 2018 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #38

1:30 P.M. TIME CERTAIN - Braden River Preserve - Establishment of a Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU)


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Dan Schlandt, Deputy County Administrator, ext. 3732

John Osborne, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning Official, ext. 6275

Charlie Hunsicker, Director, Parks and Natural Resources, ext. 6001

Action Requested

Adoption of Ordinance 18-14 establishing the Braden River Preserve Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) to fund recreational facilities, describing the boundaries of the MSTU, and authorizing the annual levy of ad valorem taxes within such MSTU to provide for recreational facilities.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statutes, Section 125.01(1)(g)

Background Discussion
  • In 2017, a community group put forth a proposal for the County to create a process for the community to provide funding to acquire properties that were being considered for development. The subject properties (Myarra) are located within the Braden Woods/River Club area.
  • On October 10, 2017, the Board of County Commissioners approved a process for staff to follow to potentially establish a Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU) to purchase approximately 33 acres along the Braden River to create a low-intensity preserve area.
  • Per Florida Statutes, an MSTU is a special district that can serve as a funding mechanism to provide certain types of services and projects for a specific geographic area within a county. The basis for assessing property owners in an MSTU is a millage (or tax rate) that is applied to the taxable value of each property.  A map of the boundary for the proposed MSTU is included as Attachment A to Exhibit A of Ordinance No. 18-14. 
  •  The cost to acquire the property is $3 million.   An option to purchase the property at that price was negotiated by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Inc. and can be assigned to the County.  The option to purchase terminates on March 31, 2018.    An appraisal of the property by Hettema Saba LC dated January 25, 2018 provides an appraised value of $3,125,000 for the property.
  • If the MSTU is established and the property purchased for the preserve area, the County will provide funding for the passive park improvements (estimated at $300,000) and will provide ongoing maintenance of the preserve.
  • What has been proposed for the MSTU is that, if approved, the County would purchase the property and then annually assess, through the MSTU, a millage rate for thirty years to finance the acquisition of the property.
  • The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has also committed to transfer an approximately 11 acre property adjacent to the Myarra property (map attached) at no cost to the County if the Myarra property is purchased for a preserve area, creating a combined preserve area of approximately 44 acres.
  • A conceptual schematic is attached that provides a general description of the types of amenities that would be provided for this type of passive preserve area.
  • The Board’s approved process from the October 10, 2017 Board Meeting  required staff to conduct a poll of the property owners.  If 50 percent or more of all property owners were in favor of establishing the MSTU, an item was to be placed on a Board agenda in January 2018 to consider setting a public hearing in March to consider establishing the MSTU.
  • As the results of the mail-in poll were less than 50 percent (46.8 percent) in support of the MSTU, staff did not bring the item forward to the Board for consideration.
  • A letter dated January 16, 2018, from representatives of the Friends of Keep Woods, Inc., a non-profit organization that supports the creation of the MSTU, (copy attached) outlined their concerns on some of the difficulties of the polling process, provided some documentation of additional support for the proposed MSTU and requested that Commissioners continue the process for the creation of the MSTU.
  • At the request of Commissioner Baugh, this item was placed on the Board's agenda for the January 23, 2018  Regular Board Meeting to discuss setting a public hearing in March 2018 on the possible creation of the MSTU. 
  • At the January 23, 2018 Board Meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved setting a Public Hearing in March 2018 to consider the establishment of a Municipal Services Taxing unit for the purpose of acquiring property for the creation of a preserve along the Braden River.
  • Adoption of Ordinance No. 18-14 would establish The Braden River Preserve Municipal Services Taxing Unit.   The Board would then have to approve accepting the option to purchase the Myarra property at the next Regular Board meeting on March 20, 2018 to meet the option deadline of March 31, 2018.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other

William Clague, Assistant County Attorney drafted the ordinance and provided assistance through the process.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Please provide a copy of the codified ordinance to Dan Schlandt and William Clague

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Ordinance 18-14.pdf
Attachment:  Aerial Map.pdf
Attachment:  Conceptual Schematic.pdf
Attachment:  Letter from Friends of Keep Woods Inc..pdf
Attachment:  Public Comment Letters.pdf
Attachment:  Newspaper Advertisement.pdf
Attachment:  Additional Public Comment Letters.pdf