Citizens voice concern at community meeting

Published 2:31 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Kay Pierantoni

The tenor of input from residents attending the monthly Wylliesburg/Red Oak Community Meeting hosted by District Supervisor Kay Pierantoni reflected their concerns regarding the reality of the grim fiscal position that Charlotte County is currently faced with. Pierantoni openly addressed several different issues that influence the county’s financial hardship — debt service for the new courthouse and for the unfinished renovation and improvement project at Bacon and Phenix district schools.

The latter Phase II project’s funding request of $7.3 million has been delayed by the Charlotte County Board of Supervisor’s pending requested legal advice from counsel regarding options
Pierantoni did not mince words over the proposed, yet increasingly inevitable 0.13 per $100 increase in real estate taxes. The increase equates to an almost unimaginable 25 percent tax hike for residents. A portion of the meeting was spent discussing the possibility of the state intervening on behalf of Charlotte County in the event the County could not pay its bills.

The response from the attendance sounded a collective “what are we going to do? How does the county expect us to pay that?”

The recent countywide reassessment also raised concern from residents. Pierantoni explained that the lack of standardization that is apparently allowed private appraisal contractors creates a subjective rather that objective and fair assessment of land value in the county. She recently recommended that Pearson Appraisal use standardized assessment data provided by the National Resources Conservation Service (NCRS). Pierantoni related her own recent reassessment, in which an area of planted pine was assessed as cleared land. By contrast, an adjacent property with the same conditions was assessed as planted pine. She went on to discuss the occurrence of swampland in the county. The advantage of swampland designation is a reduced assessment and a subsidy or dividend paid to the landowner to preserve the natural wetland, according to NRCS information.

“I know that I don’t have swampland on my property, Pierantoni stated, as a matter of fact, I didn’t know there was enough swampland in the county to recognize it, really.” 

Pierantoni assured the people of her district that she was doing everything in her power to see that the best decisions for the residents are made. However, the best way to know your opinion is heard is to go to the meetings and speak your mind.