BAKER ó Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles in the coming weeks plans to draft a proposal on taxing McCauley Road residents to pay for their roadís maintenance and improvements.


BAKER ó Okaloosa County Commissioner Nathan Boyles in the coming weeks plans to draft a proposal on taxing McCauley Road residents to pay for their roadís maintenance and improvements.



"If the commission as a whole sees fit to adopt a policy, then I expect that citizens of McCauley Road would then follow with a petition to participate under the terms of that program," he said Thursday, following a public meeting at the Baker Recreation Center.  



Several officials from the county public works department, including director John Hofstad, attended and spoke at the meeting. 



Discussion focused on creating a municipal service taxing unit to fund road improvement and maintenance for residences on the less than 1-mile private dirt path. A majority, or 65 percent of residents, must show support by petition, officials said at the meeting. If signed, property owners of 19 parcels would divide the annual cost of improvements. Thatís $155,236 or $235,695 over 20 years for a dirt or paved road, respectively, according to rough figures presented at the meeting.



Many residents have expressed that they want to pay the tax.



Joann Harder said she prefers the tax, as opposed to the past alternative: for residents to pay for loads of dirt to be delivered and applied to the road, only to have heavy rain wash the dirt away.



"It makes sense to me to just pave it," she said. "I just want it paved so it can quit washing out."



County maintenance would keep the road from washing out and prevent road sediment from flowing into nearby creeks and ponds.



Another benefit of paving the road is the possible increase in property values, Derrick Stewart said.



 "They way I look at it ... your property value should go up with a paved road," he said. "People don't want to buy a piece of property on a dirt road and where they worry about getting in and out (of their property)."



A few residents, including Tim Freeman, expressed concern for the plan. He wanted to know the exact cost and process involved before signing a petition.



However, Boyles said the overall reaction suggested support for the proposal.



"I got the sense that the community is generally supportive, if we can give them a definitive plan as to how the process would work," he said.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.