Tower Road residents bemoan service deficit


Published: Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 11:37 p.m.
A perceived lack of services for the taxes they pay prompted residents of unincorporated areas along the Tower Road corridor to meet Wednesday night to discuss whether they want a different form of government.
Among the options - incorporation as a city, launching a massive annexation effort to become part of Gainesville or just getting more vocal about their needs.
"It seems to me we are paying a lot of county taxes and just not seeing the benefit," said Tim Ptak, a resident of Haile Plantation. "Annexation and incorporation may not be the answers, but maybe we need to flex some muscle."
About 25 people attended. Some said they are happy with the services they get.
"I am here as a voice against annexation. I am adamantly against it," Rebecca Wilson said. "I have animals, and I don't want interference with that. Whenever I call the sheriff's department, they respond quickly. I don't want to live in a city."
But most indicated they are not pleased with the services they are now getting. Of particular concern are recreation facilities, police and fire service and planning for transportation.
"I'm concerned there is a lot of building going on and I don't think our infrastructure can handle it," resident Carol Austin said.
Another possibility was a push for total unification between Gainesville and the unincorporated area.
"I prefer unification," Sally Dickinson said. "I think we would have a lot more services."
Gainesville and Alachua County governments are planning for the eventual annexation of the urban area around Gainesville, which would include the Tower Road corridor. But a timetable has not been established.
The meeting was organized by Haile Plantation resident Alison Law. She is a member of a panel appointed by the County Commission to study county revenue and expenses, and to deliver recommendations to improve the county's financial situation.
It was agreed that future meetings will be held to learn more about the various options. Representatives of Gainesville, Alachua County and other agencies will be asked to attend the meeting.
Cindy Swirko can be reached at 374-5024 or at swirkoc@gvillesun.com.

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