Merritt Island, Florida. – Proponents of making Merritt Island a city said it would attract new businesses, eliminate blight and protect miles of coastline and wilderness.
However, incorporation never enjoyed the support of the majority of the population.
Voters rejected the idea 35 years ago, and the latest proposal from a decade ago didn’t even make it onto the ballot. But once again, Brevard County is paying for a study to determine what it could cost citizens to make Merritt Island a city right now.
“Maybe it’s time for us to try again,” Brevard County Commissioner Tom Goodson said during a January meeting.
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Chair Rita Pritchett agreed that research funding would benefit the Merritt Island area.
In an interview on Friday, Commissioner John Tobia said the population shift and the potential shift in public opinion required at least that option to be explored.
Early results indicated that the county would lose $8 million if Merritt Island became a city.
Tobia said the loss would come with a compromise.
“There will be fewer services that the county will have to take on,” he said. “In other words, (the fire department) will be run by Merritt Island. It will no longer be operated by the Brevard County Fire and Rescue Service unless an agreement is made to cover these services.”
Many people News 6 spoke to this week feared their taxes would increase, but Channing Black suggested that residents wait for the results of the study.
“The jury is still out in my favor, but I think the best decisions are made locally,” Merritt Island resident said. “Let the locals decide how their local government wants to operate.”
When this is done, the county will submit the study to the State Legislature. If lawmakers approve it, then the registration could be included on the ballot on Election Day in 2024.
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