PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners approved ordinances Tuesday that pave the way to tax property owners in certain waterfront communities.

Those funds would be used to help pay to dredge canals and other waterways along Pasco’s 27 miles of shoreline.

What You Need To Know

  • The Pasco board approved ordinances to pay for work on waterfront properties

  • The funds would be put toward dredging canals

  • Local leaders provide context

​According to the county, that’s something that hasn’t happened since the canals were created in the 1960s.

Commissioners passed ordinances to create the Coastal Dredging Municipal Services Benefit Unit (MSBU), which includes eleven areas along the coast and allows for the levy of a non-ad Valorem special assessment, and to establish a collection method.

“We’ve been looking at doing dredging projects along the coast I think even before I was a commissioner,” said Commissioner Kathryn Starkey. “We’ve had a lot of communities here with difficulty getting out of their waterfront homes into the Gulf, and so we’ve been looking at solutions to remedy that. The MSBU is going to be our first step in dredging some of these communities.”

Hudson resident Melissa Horn lives in one of the areas targeted by the project. She said she knows she’s one of the lucky ones


“My canal is not so bad as some other ones that are on the project to be dredged. Some of those people can't get out even during low tide. So, it's a very, very much-needed thing,” said Horn, who told Spectrum Bay News 9 she’s attended meetings on dredging since 2017.

Horn said she has concerns about the plan to tax residents.

“I’m not the only one that uses this water,” Horn said. “My channel, Hudson Beach Channel, is supported by eight different neighborhoods and three different marinas. One of them stores 250, on average, 250 boats in high and dry. That’s just one marina. Are those people going to be assessed? Or is it just going to be me because I have 60 feet of waterfront?”

“Our hope is that it's going to be a blend,” said Starkey of funding for the project. “It will be a blend of some federal grants, maybe some state money, some of the money from the Restore, and then, of course, the residents who are going to benefit the most."

Starkey said residents will get the chance to weigh in at public hearings before any final rate decisions are made.

According the ordinance creating the MSBU, Pasco’s Public Infrastructure Branch will next develop a roll of the communities included in the plan. It’s expected to present the board with findings to begin talks about rates this spring.