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Council's Corner: 2007 study - Incorporation would not impact property taxes
September 27, 2017

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Incorporate Lehigh Inc. is raising funds to finance a professional feasibility study, one that will be read by the entire community. Each member of the community will make their own judgement as to whether Lehigh Acres should incorporate.

In 2007, a feasibility study was completed by the Citizens for Cityhood group. The study, Lee County government officials and representatives of the state of Florida determined Lehigh Acres met the requirements for incorporation. A complete copy of the 2007 study is can be found online at: www.incorporatelehighinc.info.

When the 2017 study is completed, it will be available on the website.

The population of Lehigh Acres according to the 2010 census was 86,784. Recently, Mike Welch with the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District sent an email that has circulated around town and announced the population of Lehigh Acres is now 123,000, which more than meets the population requirement to become incorporated.

Lehigh Acres is growing. We have more businesses now than we did in 2007, many more would be attracted to Lehigh Acres if we were incorporated. Commercial businesses substantially increase income to a city.

While you are reading the 2007 feasibility study and SWOT Analysis, pay particular attention to the last page of the SWOT Analysis where is states in bold letters: It is projected that the proposed incorporation will have no financial impact on property taxes. It is assumed that the millage levied by the city will be the same as that levied by Lee County's Unincorporated MSTU and All Hazards MSTU.

Lehigh Acres can't be judged the same as Bonita Springs because of the population difference. Bonita's population is only 47,727, according to: www.cityofbonitasprings.org. Estero only has a population of 31,322, according to: www.estero-fl.gov/demographics. Lehigh's population of 123,000 is more than double these two cities combined and is substantially larger in size, allowing for more growth and income.

The land Lehigh Acres has available for growth allows revenues, such as documentary stamps on mortgages and deeds, recording fees, intangible and tangible taxes, permitting fees, impact fees and development order fees - to name some of the extra income Lehigh doesn't benefit from now and Bonita and Estero can never benefit from because they don't have the land available.

The Lehigh Acres Community Council serves as the voice for unincorporated Lehigh Acres.

Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the LCSO East District substation, at 1301 Homestead Road N.

To contact the council, email Info@LehighAcresCommunityCouncil.com.

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