In response to The Ledger’s Feb. 4 articles "Building for the future: Can Polk prepare for 1 million residents?" and "On the ballot: Expanding the homestead exemption," until a few years ago, northeast Polk County was isolated and neglected. Then an enormous housing boom began there in the early 2000s. This explosive demand for housing was sparked in great part because of the area’s proximity to Disney World. Thousands of workers at Disney and its supporting industries discovered that Polk County’s property taxes were a fraction of those in adjoining Orange County.

Coupled with the desire of Europeans to own a second home near Disney, houses were built in such large numbers that Polk County was forced to place a water and sewer moratorium in the area for three years, until new water and sewer plants could be built.

Large subdivisions were developed along U.S. 27. To avoid the expense of the threshold of 1,000 residences that would classify each of these developments as a Development of Regional Impact trigger requiring the payment of big impact fees for just one entrance directly onto U.S. 27, since there was no requirement for frontage roads that would offer better traffic control.

The county must now play “catch up.” A special tax district is needed for the northeast part of the county so that the residents of that area can pay for the road improvements, new schools and other services that are needed.

Meanwhile, the county is faced with the almost certain approval by its citizen voters of a property tax reduction in November in the form of an additional homestead exemption.

Dick Miller, Lakeland