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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Hernando commissioners give nod to sales tax referendum

Published:   |   Updated: July 22, 2014 at 02:21 PM

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County commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to pass a formal ordinance allowing the Penny for Projects referendum to appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

The money will be used for capital improvement projects that the county, city of Brooksville and school board have identified as high-priority needs.

If approved by voters, the sales tax would begin collection on Jan. 1, 2015 and continue through Dec. 31, 2024.

County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said this tax will improve the quality of life for all Hernando County residents.

Commissioner Diane Rowden said she supports the ordinance because 33 percent of the tax will be paid by tourists and non-residents who use local services and shop at stores.

Chairman Wayne Dukes said he normally opposes tax hikes but this one makes sense, especially since the building industry has tanked and the county is in need of money to pay for infrastructure improvements.

“A referendum is the most fair way to do this,” Dukes said. “You get a chance to agree or disagree.”

The Penny for Projects is to be a collaborative effort between Hernando County, the school board and the city of Brooksville. The city has had a capital improvements project list pending but has been unable to proceed due to lack of funding.

Using a prescribed formula, the city would get a portion of the county’s sales tax proceeds.

The school district currently has a half-cent sales tax but it expires this year.

(352) 544-5290

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