Mayors: Tax should aid county first
February 25, 2010
If voters approve a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase this fall, the lion's share of money earmarked for regional transportation projects should go to the county.
That's the recommendation of mayors from Hillsborough County's three cities, who met Tuesday to discuss the distribution of funds from the proposed sales tax increase.
In a Feb. 24 letter to Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti and Plant City Mayor Rick Lott suggest that for the first 10 years the tax is collected, 90 percent of the money for roads and trails should go to the county, which has a $16 billion backlog in road improvements.
The remaining 10 percent would be divided among the three cities under a formula similar to the one used to distribute the half-penny Capital Investment Tax. The formula is based roughly on population in the county's unincorporated areas and the cities.
After the 10-year period, the mayors proposed, the county's share of the nontransit revenue would be reduced to 40 percent under a proposed distribution formula.
A task force led by Hagan recently recommended that if voters approve the tax, 75 percent of the money will go toward building a light-rail system, mostly through Tampa, and expanding bus and vehicle routes in the county. The remaining 25 percent of the proceeds will go for road projects. The commission has tentatively approved that split.
A vote had been scheduled for March 3 to approve ballot language and an ordinance to put the tax before voters. But county commissioners, including those who support the referendum, agreed details still need to be worked out about distribution of the funds.
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