Sunny Hills Municipal Services Benefit Unit

 

County Ordinance 2001- 4 thru 2013-1

 

There is hereby created and established the Sunny Hills/Oak Hill Municipal Benefit Unit under the authority of Section 125.01, Florida Statutes. The Benefit Unit shall consist of all Parcels within the boundary of the community known as Sunny Hills/Oak Hill in unincorporated Washington County, the area of which is defined in (exhibit A pages 1-21). Said Unit is being created for the purpose of providing Community Services; “Including “ but not limited to, (emergency services, roads improvements, street and security lighting, acquisition and improvements to common areas, beautification) and other services deemed necessary by the Benefit Unit at the level of quality of life of the “owners of Parcels in the Benefit Unit at the level of quality they desire.

 

 

 

 

*See 70 Am.Jur.2d Special Assessments s. 20 (1967). Cf. City of St. Cloud v. Carlson, 82 So. 616, 618 (Fla.1919) in which the court stated that "Special assessments can only be levied to pay for an improvement local in character, as distinguished from general ... and the proceeds thereof cannot be used to augment the general revenue fund nor to finance a separate and distinct improvement project, nor to create a sinking fund for the payment of bonds." The benefit must “be special and peculiar to the property assessed and not a general benefit to the entire community. Thus, services which are provided by a government may be essential to the public welfare but fail to provide the special benefit necessary for the imposition of a valid assessment.

 

The benefit must “be special and peculiar to the property assessed and not a general benefit to the entire community. Thus, services which are provided by a government may be essential to the public welfare but fail to provide the special benefit necessary for the imposition of a valid assessment.

 

See 29A, Fla. Jur. Special Assessments ss. 2 and 18 (1967); 70 Am. Jur.2d Special or Local Assessments ss. 1 and 18 (1967); 14 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations ss. 38.02, 38.32, and 38.124 (1970). Special assessments place a special or local charge on the land involved on the basis that the property derives a special benefit in addition to the general benefit to the public; such assessments are imposed on the theory that the portion of the community being assessed receives some special or peculiar benefit which enhances the value of the property in proportion to the special assessment. See 29A Fla. Jur. Special Assessments ss. 3 and 20 (1967). The power to make special assessments can be exercised only for special improvements, it cannot be exercised to burden particular property and the owners thereof with the cost of general and governmental benefits and expenditures. Special assessments cannot be imposed to pay for an improvement which is primarily of general public benefit. See 70 Am. Jur.2d Special Assessments s. 20 (1967). Cf. City of St. Cloud v. Carlson, 82 So. 616, 618 (Fla. 1919) in which the court stated that "[s]pecial assessments can only be levied to pay for an improvement local in character, as distinguished from general ... and the proceeds thereof cannot be used to augment the general revenue fund nor to finance a separate and distinct improvement project, nor to create a sinking fund for the payment of bonds." See also 14 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations s. 38.02 (1970). If the primary benefit is to the public, and only incidental benefit results to the property improved, to require such property to bear the entire expense would amount to an unwarranted servitude that cannot be imposed. See 29A Fla. Jur. Special Assessments ss. 19 and 22 (1967). The exaction of an assessment of benefits against property which there was no power to impose is an unconstitutional taking of property without due process of law. See 70 Am. Jur.2d Special or Local Assessments s. 10. If the money collected from a special assessment, or any part of it, is used for some purpose other than as a direct benefit to the land assessed, it is a tax. Id., s. 1, at 844.

 

Non-ad valorem or special assessment/personal propertySubsection (r) of the statute provides, in part, that a county may:

"Levy and collect taxes, both for county purposes and for the providing of municipal services within any municipal service taxing unit, and special assessments . . . which power shall be exercised in such manner, and subject to such limitations, as may be provided by general law."

The Supreme Court of Florida has recently recognized that a special assessment is not a tax. In City of Boca Raton v. State, a 1992 case, the Court stated that:

"Taxes and special assessments are distinguishable in that, while both are mandatory, there is no requirement that taxes provide any specific benefit to the property; instead, they may be levied throughout the particular taxing unit for the general benefit of residents and property. On the other hand, special assessments must confer a specific benefit upon the land burdened by the assessment." 

According to the Court there are two requirements which must be met to assure the validity of a special assessment: the property assessed must derive a special benefit from the service provided; and the assessment must be fairly and reasonably apportioned among the properties that receive the special benefit.

Thus, a special assessment is an enforced contribution from the property owner imposed on the theory that the property assessed derives some special or peculiar benefit in the enhancement of value as a result of the improvement or service that is made with the proceeds. It is the general rule that only real property, not personal property, may be assessed for local improvements because only real property can be benefitted by the improvement.

Sincerely,

Robert A. Butterworth
Attorney General

 

 

 

State of Florida Statute on MSBU Special Benefit Assessments

Special Benefit of an Emergency Services:                                                                                                                                                                                 Florida law says it has to be a community fire service; cannot be a county governmental fire service or an EMS service.

            Must Be  a MSBU Community Fire Department just for the Benefit Unit

Special Benefit of Road Improvements

cannot be a county governmental  service.

              Must Be a   MSBU Beautification of all 634 streets cutting grass, trees, hedges, flowers that are not a a governmental service to the community.

Special Benefit of Street Lighting:

cannot be a county governmental service.

              Must Be a  MSBU lighting on all 634 streets and 900 intersections

Benefit UnitAcquisition and Improvements to common areas: 

cannot be a county governmental service or benefit.

                Sunny Hills Civic Association

                Sunny Hills Volunteer Fire Department

                Sunny Hills, "28 sq. miles" Washington County 

                Sunny Hills, State of Florida

 

All "16,500" properties that pay the assessment on improved or not improved property must receive all of the Special Benefits in a reasonable time or the assessment becomes, invalid and a illegal collection of an assessment fee from the property owners. This in not about residents, people or the public, but only about increasing the value of the assessment payers property and use of that property in Sunny Hills in an reasonable amount of time.

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