Penny Sales Tax Vote in November: What’s in it for You

pennies

Photo by Tamarac Talk

By: Sharon Aron Baron

On November 8, voters in Tamarac will have two items on their ballots that could change the future of the city – and their wallets.

Two questions will be asked of all Broward County voters: each one asking for a half-penny sales tax increase on all purchases. One proposal asks for a half-cent increase to finance countywide transportation projects and the second half percent to fund municipal infrastructure projects.  Currently, the sales tax in Broward County is six percent.  In Miami Dade, it’s seven percent.

If voters approve the increase, the City of Tamarac’s initial allocation of sales tax proceeds would be approximately $5.4 million dollars.  According to City Manager Michael Cernech, these projections are shown in current year dollars –  meaning they are not adjusted for inflation, and assume a 3.2 percent revenue escalation based on a review of the 20-year history.

“This money will be a direct investment into the city’s infrastructure and 100 percent of all the funds collected from the half-cent tax will go towards improving the needs of the community,” said Cernech.

Based on the State of Florida’s projections, Tamarac can expect to receive approximately $59 million dollars in the first 10 years and approximately $141 million in years 10 thru 30 for a total of approximately $210 million dollars over the 30 year period.

All projects would need to receive approval by an independent oversight board before the city would utilize the surtax funding.

“The oversight board is at all levels – once a surtax funded project is reviewed by staff and signed off on by the city attorney it goes to the mayor and commission for approval,” said Cernech.  “Once approved it is put into the capital improvement plan and would be sent to the oversight board for their review and approval. I would not expect a project that is approved by the lawyers for compliance with the surtax funding rules to be rejected by the oversight board.” 

On the county level, the tax increase would finance a vast array of transportation projects such as the light rail system called the “Wave” in downtown Fort Lauderdale with future connections to the airport, seaport and Broward County Convention Center. The money would also pay for planned projects designed to ease traffic congestion such as increased bus service, synchronized traffic signals and a variety of countywide intersection and safety improvements. A portion of the city infrastructure surtax, roughly 40 percent, would be allocated to address county needs in years 21-30 only, and is expected to support the extension of rail and attendant rail infrastructure including Park-and-Ride lots.

Broward County and local municipalities are prohibited by state law from using public funds to endorse any item that will be on an upcoming ballot,  this is why, according to the Sun Sentinel, a Political Action Committee called MoveForwardBroward led by Weston Mayor Dan Stermer and Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler, will spend upwards $500,000 to legally advocate for these votes.

On September 14, an invitation for Move Forward Broward was sent out to selected VIPs from around the county for a fundraising reception in Las Olas at Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grill with a minimum suggested contribution of $500 per person. The person sending the invites was Bernie Friedman, a lobbyist at Becker & Poliakoff who represents the county as well as a large number of construction firms.  On the host committee were Tamarac’s Mayor Harry Dressler and Commissioner Michelle Gomez.

The City of Tamarac has scheduled “A Penny at Work” Neighborhood Meetings to educate residents on the proposed sales tax (see dates below). If the tax increase passes, the city has a list of projects that could be funded by it.

City of Tamarac Projects Slated for 2017 – 2021

  • Multimodal Connectivity Plan – Transportation planning for determining the next steps in connecting and expanding the City’s multimodal network to and with the county.
  • Mill & Resurfacing – Repaving the City’s Streets.
  • Traffic Calming – Installation of Traffic Calming devices in various neighborhoods throughout the City.
  • Sidewalk Program– Installation of new and replacement and expansion of existing sidewalks throughout the City.
  • Corridor Improvements – Implementation of the City’s Corridor Improvement Program with the installation of sound walls and decorative hardscape.
  • Bus Shelters/Crosswalks/Traffic Lights – Installation of additional bus shelters in strategic areas of the City, enhance various crosswalks for pedestrian safety and install traffic lights in strategic areas of the City.
  • Bike Paths – Extend the BikePath System in the City to connect various areas of the city to the Countywide system.
  • Emergency Equipment – Replacement of Fire Rescue Ambulances and Various Fire Rescue Apparatus pursuant to a set replacement schedule.
  • Fire Station 36 – Design and construct a four bay fire station in support of enhanced response times in an underserved area.
  • Fire Station 48 – Design and Construct a two bay Fire Rescue Station to improve response times in an underserved area.
  • Colony West Clubhouse and Cart Barn – Replacement of an existing clubhouse and cart barn in support of the Colony West Golf Club. This will include design, architectural work, and construction for both the clubhouse and relocation of the cart barn.
  • Waters Edge Park – Development of a passive recreation park which will include parking, picnic shelter, playground, landscaping, basketball court, spray pad, and restrooms.
  • Tamarac Sports Complex Concession Bldg./Site Improvements – Construction of new facility to include concession area, restrooms, a meeting/events room, and a storage area.
  • Central Parc North Park – Design and Build of a park which will include a restroom, ,multipurpose sports field, large playground, shade, surfacing, concrete multi-path, exercise cluster, two picnic stations, splash pad, basketball court, dog park, and pump track.
  • Swim Central Annex – Design and Construction of a park at the Swim Central Annex which include a playground, shade structure, benches, pedestrian bridge, landscaping, paving, and grading.
  • Tamarac Village Park – Design and Construction of a park which include a playground, shade structure, benches, landscaping, paving, and grading.
  • Caporella Park Improvements – Add amenities to existing park to include a splash pad, stand alone picnic shelter, exercise equipment, non motorized boat launch.

Projects Slated for 2022 – 2026

  • Mill & Resurfacing – Repaving the City’s Streets.
  • Traffic Calming – Installation of Traffic Calming devices in various neighborhoods throughout the City.
  • Sidewalk Program – Installation of new and replacement and expansion of existing sidewalks throughout the City.
  • Public Transportation Hub (2)– Building two transportation hubs, one on the west side of the City and one in the University Corridor Area.
  • Bus Shelters/Crosswalks/Traffic Lights – Installation of additional bus shelters in strategic areas of the City, enhance various crosswalks for pedestrian safety and install traffic lights in strategic areas of the City.
  • Emergency Equipment – Replacement of Fire Rescue Ambulances and Various Fire Rescue Apparatus pursuant to a set replacement schedule.
  • Fire Station 41 – Replace an existing aged fire station. This will include design, construction and equipping the Fire Station.
  • Police Station – Replace an existing very aged police station. This will include design, construction, temporary quarters, and equipping the facility.
  • Expansion of Community Center – Expand Existing Community Center to the East to provide additional recreational opportunities to the community.
  • Park – Design and construct active recreation including baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts.

Have questions about the proposed sales tax?  Then attend one of the following meetings at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 29 –  Cabaret Room Kings Point Clubhouse 7620 Nob Hill Road

Thursday, October 6 – Mainlands 1 & 2 Clubhouse 4301 Mainland Drive

Tuesday, October 10 – Tamarac Community Center 8601 W. Commercial Blvd

Thursday, October 13 – City Hall Commission Chambers 7525 NW 88 Ave

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident’s a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That’s why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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