Residents protest Ave Maria proposed Stewardship district fees

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

Residents of Ave Maria gathered in protest against the rising fees associated with their Stewardship district.

The special council meetings typically gather around six people; however, due to the proposed tax increase, hundreds began storming the Wednesday meeting, forcing a postponement.

“It got so crowded that the fire chief, who is the fire marshal, closed and locked the doors because no one could be permitted in the building because it had reached its capacity,” said Ave Maria Stewardship District Chairman Tom Peek.

Taxes and fees would be increased to compensate for the newly proposed budget.

The previous assessment was around $3.5 million in 2023, which was split among thousands of community homeowners.

The special district board claims that residents were not being charged enough to account for rising costs, leading to the 2024 assessment of nearly $8.8 million.

“People don’t want their taxes to go up. I mean, it’s a lot,” said Ave Maria resident Michelle Hernandez. “With our HOA fees are already high, plus, add another tax to it … it’s a lot.”

Some choose to see the glass as half-full, as now residents of Ave Maria are becoming more involved in the community.

“I think there’s a rational explanation, and I think that it’s good that we are getting more people to come out for the meetings to be involved,” said Ave Maria resident Beatrice Sanford.

The special district board expects the budget to be officially approved by August, with the taxes and fees increase to be implemented in October.

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