In a meeting yesterday Gainesville city commissioners said they’re still unhappy with the county’s proposed transportation sales tax. The three-quarter-cent sales tax which should be on the ballot this fall currently alots just under 24% of the revenue to the city of Gainesville, which holds more than half of the county’s population. Gainesville City Commissioner Thomas Hawkins says this agreement is just unfair.
Hawkins says the original agreement made more sense for the city. Originally the three-quarter-cent tax was accompanied by a one quarter cent sales tax that would support only the city of Gainesville’s transportation projects. That tax was previously cut by the county commission, who felt there wasn’t enough research and planning to support the tax at this time. Hawkins says at this point, they’re considering issuing a formal opposition to the referendum.
In addition to drafting a formal resolution, Hawkins says they’re considering the legal basis of the many changes made in recent weeks.
He says at this point it’s time to examine if the changes should have ever been allowed in the first place.
Alachua County Commissioner Susan Baird says they’ve looked at the legal issues before and there shouldn’t be any legal problems.
Baird says when the one-quarter-cent sales tax was initally scrapped, they requested a new proposal from the city of Gainesville. She says when the city creates a new agreement for the one-quarter cent tax in the future, the revenue would become more equal.
She says there are also areas of county roads running through the city that the county will still be supporting. Baird thinks that ultimately these disagreements will not prevent the tax referendum from reaching the ballot this fall, and that voters will be able to decide for themselves what they want for their city.
Baird says it’s disheartening to see people disagree over something like roads that truly affects everyone.
And while City Commissioner Hawkins agrees that the roads truly affect everyone, he says he wishes more could be done to help support the county’s largest municipality.
Hawkins says he doesn’t believe many of these issues affecting the city’s revenue will be resolved before this election year. The Alachua County Commission will be voting on whether to place the tax referendum on the ballot on July 10th.