Lake Helen City leaders to discuss tax increase for residents

LAKE HELEN, Fla. — Residents in Lake Helen could see an increase in trash, fire and stormwater fees under a new proposal by city leaders.

Under the proposal, residents could end up paying nearly double what they do currently.

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William Radboen, who has lived in Lake Helen since 1979, said an increase in non-ad valorem taxes, combined with property tax increases, has him talking about moving.

“With other issues, we are going ... to be moving,” Radboen said.

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City leaders said rising costs across the board and infrastructure upgrades make the tax increase necessary.

Lake Helen commissioner Roger Eckert said with many residents living on fixed incomes, the city should look elsewhere to make up the shortfall.

“This amount of an increase is a big impact on their budgets, is something they didn’t plan for,” Eckert said.

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Eckert said funds from the American Rescue Plan could make up the difference.

“Those funds are available. They are trying to figure out what to do with it. I say use it to pay the difference in this thing and don’t worry about billing the citizens this year,” he said.

If the item passes the first reading, a second and final reading will be set for Sept. 22.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.