From Ed Carson, Moving Santa Rosa Forward:
We residents of Santa Rosa enjoy a great quality of life and live in a wonderful place to raise a family. Our very desirable and fast-growing county is, however, behind in its infrastructure and other capital needs.
Santa Rosa property owners currently shoulder the majority of the revenue needs within the county. When you compare what our property owners contribute to county revenue through property taxes to the rest of the state, we pay about one and a half the state average. Further analysis shows that overall, Santa Rosa ranks 66 out of 67 counties in per capita county government revenue.
We have been looking at the needs of the county as well as the growth rate and recognize that a dependable revenue stream that doesn’t fall completely on property owners is something we need for the health of our community. With that in mind, we formed Moving Santa Rosa Forward in an effort to educate and advocate about the use of a local option sales tax to create a new revenue stream and lighten the burden placed upon property owners. We also looked at Impact Fees and concluded that they were too restrictive, wouldn’t raise enough revenue and do absolutely nothing for the problems that currently exist. Impact fee rules are in State statute and are not subject to local changes. We therefore concluded the most equitable and expeditious way to tackle our problems was through a LOST. These funds can only be used for Capital expenditures and are reviewed by a citizen oversight committee for compliance. This revenue cannot be used for salaries or retirement plans.
Escambia County has used this method for over twenty years to fund many of their community needs. Okaloosa County has recently enacted the method as well. When Santa Rosa residents spend money in Escambia and Okaloosa County they contribute to the health of these counties. It is estimated that between 25 and 30% of collections come from non-residents of the county. When you further consider matching grants that can be obtained, our residents enjoy up to a 40% discount on projects.
We and our contributors all have homes, employees and family in Santa Rosa County. We believe that this vote is vital to the future of our county and its continued successes. We are supported by the Chambers, the former and current Sheriff, the Mayors of Jay, Gulf Breeze and Milton and several professional organizations.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of this question to the future of our county. I hope voters will educate themselves on these issues: www.movingsantarosaforward.org and our Facebook page are good places to become informed. My final request is that you take the time and make the effort to VOTE YES for THE PENNY.
Moving Santa Rosa Forward