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Editorials

Voters should vote yes for lands, mosquito taxes


Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:55 PM

There will be two countywide referendums on Tuesday's general election ballot for Hernando County voters to consider.

The first deals with a tax to help preserve sensitive lands in Hernando County.

Twenty-four years ago, local residents approved a referendum authorizing Hernando County to levy taxes to support the acquisition and management of sensitive lands.

That yea vote allowed county staffers to levy taxes of .10 percent of a mill for 30 years.

However, the levy for that program hasn't been assessed since 2011 when commissioners decided to use the money to boost the financially strapped mosquito control division.

The question being is asked is whether voters want the levy to resume and be assessed through 2021.

A no vote means the program comes to a halt and the county would possibly consider funding the program from a different source.

We believe reinstating the tax is the only logical choice. The preservation of environmentally sensitive lands should remain a priority and the tax is a small price to pay to help protect the environment for future generations.

In 2011, commissioners created a Municipal Service Taxing Unit to fund mosquito control, which authorizes the levy of up to one-tenth of one mill of ad valorem property tax to pay for operations.

For a property with a taxable value of $100,000, this comes to $10 per year if the full amount is levied.

The current millage rate for mosquito control is 0.0844 mils which is $8.44 for a property with a taxable value of $100,000.

Voters are being asked whether they want to continue that levy.

If it is voted down, the county would no longer impose the tax and would look for other funding sources.

Again, we believe the tax is needed. With the prevalence of the West Nile Virus and other deadly diseases carried by mosquitoes, the cost is minimal compared to benefits we receive.

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