Blanche, fire fees top city agenda

Hotel renovation, 15% assessment hike set to be voted on tonight.

After three years of controversy and debate, the Blanche Hotel project will be decided tonight.

The Lake City Council will take up the matter at a workshop at City Hall at 5 p.m. followed by a council meeting and vote at 6.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to raise city fire assessment fees by an average of 15 percent.

The Blanche proposal calls for the city to donate $1 million to the Valdosta-based developer and to move City Hall into the new structure under a 15-year lease. 

According to revised figures released Friday, the total cost of the lease is $6.3 million. After seven years, the city has the option of buying the rebuilt hotel, which it has indicated it will.

Tensions are running high over the plan and council chambers are expected to be filled with anxious taxpayers.

City officials raised property taxes last year for the first time in 25 years in part to help pay for the Blanche deal, they said. 

Officials said in April 2016 that a stormwater fee might also have to be passed to finance the project. The stormwater fee vote was originally set for tonight as well, but was pulled from the agenda at the last minute.

City Hall is located at 205 N. Marion Ave.

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Lake City Reporter

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Lake City, FL  32056

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