A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 24 to discuss a proposed $200 annual increase in FishHawk Ranch CDD’s O&M budget to cover increasing maintenance and labor costs.

Gas prices, furniture, clothing, health care, automobiles and groceries have all grown more expensive in 2022. The rising cost of goods and services is also affecting the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) budgets for many of Hillsborough County’s master-planned communities, including FishHawk Ranch. Its community development district is proposing a $200 per unit increase ($16 per month) in its annual O&M assessment, from $808 to $1,008 annually.

The district will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, August 24 at 6:30 p.m. at The Palmetto Club, located at 17004 Dorman Rd., to receive public comments on the proposed adoption of its budget for its upcoming fiscal year (which runs from October 1 through September 30).

District Manager Eric Dailey said the cost to repair and replace aging amenities is increasing. Some recent improvements to FishHawk’s amenities included replacing The Palmetto Club’s roof, reducing pond erosion, landscape enhancements, air conditioning repairs and replacements, an overhaul of the Aquatic Club playground and parking lots getting resealed.

“Those necessary repairs cost a lot of money,” he said.

Dailey also explained that labor costs are increasing as Florida’s raises its minimum wage and competition with other employers drives up wages. The district employs approximately 40 full and part-time staff members, including maintenance staff tasked with completing some repairs, which is more time and cost-effective than hiring contractors to do the job.

In addition to an increase in operating costs, another reason for the proposed increase is to ensure that reserve funds are adequately funded at $5 million.

Dailey praises board members for being good fiduciaries with the district’s budget, not having raised fees since before the district was formed in 2019 with the merger of three separate community development districts within the community. Instead of small incremental increases each year (which necessitates the mailing of public hearing notices at a cost of thousands of dollars to homeowners), it is proposing one larger increase to cover increasing costs.

These fee increases aren’t exclusive to FishHawk Ranch. “This is happening in communities all over Hillsborough County,” he said.

To view a copy of the proposed budget and the agenda, visit the district’s website at www.fishhawkranchcdd.org or call Dailey at 813-575-1955.

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MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.