The residents evacuated from an Ocala neighborhood over the summer after a sinkhole opened up behind their complex are now being asked to pay for the repairs.
More than 1,000 residents who live in the Fore Ranch subdivision in Ocala recently received a letter from the community association ordering residents to pay $385 to help fix the sinkhole that opened in June.
"It just doesn't seem fair," said resident Val Ehlers. "That's a lot of money, especially at Christmas time, when families need the money. And in this economy, this is just not a right thing to do."
The 100-foot wide sinkhole and several smaller depressions opened up on homeowners association property next to a retention pond, causing water to spill inside. Now, the association board has voted to issue a one-time special assessment to fund sinkhole repairs, in addition to paying regular monthly dues.
The cost to repair the sinkholes is more than $600,000, which is almost as much as the entire operating budget for the whole community. In 2011, homeowners were assessed more than $200 to repair a previous sinkhole in the neighborhood.
John Klopfer told Local 6 that he understands the association had to pass on the sinkhole cost in order to maintain the community clubhouse, swimming pool and other amenities. But, he said he feels the original developer of the subdivision should pay for the repairs, even though the company handed over control to the homeowners.
"It's just another tax," Klopfer said. "It's not right."
Klopfer says he worries he'll have to keep paying more money each time a sinkhole forms.
"It's a possibility," he said. "That's the scary part."
Officials said more than 50 sinkholes opened last summer throughout Ocala.
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.