After hours of often heated and passionate public comment last night, the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 6-1 to ask the community to approve a new funding source for the county’s transit system, PSTA. That ballot measure will ask the electorate to approve a 1% transit sales tax to fund the Greenlight Pinellas comprehensive transit improvement plan. If approved, PSTA will then eliminate its current property tax of .7305 mils.
“I’m pleased and proud to finally be able to vote on this after 30 years of trying,” said BOCC Chair Ken Welch before the historic vote.
Even Commissioner Norm Roche, who cast the lone dissenting vote, admitted that he believes that the issue should be decided by the electorate. That’s now exactly what will happen on the November 4, 2014 ballot. Before making their decision, Commissioners did make one minor change to the ballot language by removing the word “initially” from the last line of the summary as indicated below.
Title: Levy of Countywide One Percent Sales Surtax to Fund Greenlight Pinellas Plan for Public Transit.
Summary: Shall the improvement, construction, operation, maintenance and financing of pubic transit benefitting Pinellas County, including an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours, local passenger rail and regional connections be funded by levying a one percent sales surtax from January 1, 2016, until repealed, with proceeds initially deposited in a dedicated trust fund?
_______ YES, for the 1% sales surtax
_______ NO, against the 1% sales surtax
To learn more about the new, comprehensive transit improvement plan called Greenlight Pinellas, along with supporting study documentation, visit www.greenlightpinellas.com.