guest blog by Deborah Goonan
A few months ago I blogged about a very large Florida HOA with over 45,000 residents, and the fact that a homeowner’s group (PINCHOS) has been trying for three years to incorporate as a city. In all, Poinciana has nearly 60,000 residents. Under the latest proposal, roughly 47,000 live within boundaries that were to create a new municipality.
News reports indicate that Osceola County Legislative Delegation vote was split 2-2, along party lines on the matter, with two representatives not present at the time the vote was taken. A Department of Revenue report, based on a feasibility study, has concluded that Poinciana meets the financial requirements of a city, and stands to take in millions in revenue if it incorporates as a municipality.
At the hearing conducted last month, the delegation reportedly heard from residents both in favor of the proposal and opposed. Those opposed fear that becoming a city would lead to a tax increase, despite a feasibility study’s conclusion to the contrary. Debate on the finer points has been put on hold for yet another year.
One of the reasons PINCHOS is in favor of municipal incorporation: typical of large HOAs, Poinciana is divided into 9 Villages, and the President of each Village Board serves on the Master HOA. Property owners elect the Master Board, but many of those owners are not actually residents of Poinciana. Meanwhile tenants have no voting rights to elect their leaders. That’s equivalent to taxation without representation! Predictably, the HOA Developer and the Board spoke against Poinciana becoming a city at the Delegation meeting.
According to another recent television news report, Poinciana has been struggling with crime and vandalism. Because they don’t have City status, they cannot have their own police department. Therefore the HOA has decided to spend $100,000 on increasing security staff and adding security cameras.
Keith Laytham, spokesperson for the owners’ group in favor of municipal incorporation says his group will continue to work with State Rep. John Cortes to put Poinciana on the map as a city in its own right.