WUFT News

Alachua County, Gainesville residents to vote on road surtax

By on October 31st, 2012

With the Nov. 6 general election five days away, Gainesville and Alachua County residents will have to vote on a number local issues.

One of the them includes a proposed surtax, which would fund an estimated $337 million in road improvements through a 3/4-cent sales tax.

Alachua County Assistant Public Works Director David Cerlanek said funding from the “Fix Our Roads” tax would go to projects all around Alachua County, including Gainesville.

“Whether it be for repairs and maintenance, it could also be used for new construction of roadways as well,” he said. “There’s about $30 to $35 million worth of pavements management need, and the city is expected to get around $82 million over the next 15 years, so we feel like the rest of that money can be used for new construction and reconstruction projects.”

Alachua County Commissioner Susan Baird said she thinks the tax is the best way for roads to be repaired.

“I think anybody who is driving down the road will probably agree with me that the roads need to be fixed,” she said.

Jenna Mastrodicasa, former Gainesville city commissioner and current vice president of Student Affairs at UF, disagreed, saying the tax isn’t right for Gainesville right now.

“The distribution of who pays into it and how much money you get back out is not equitable,” she said. “Gainesville taxpayers will put a lot more in than they will get out because so much more of the projects are outside of the city.”

Although Mastrodicasa said the city wouldn’t see much return from the tax, Cerlank said the county has a system for prioritizing projects, and it allows residents to participate.

“The process is usually handled through the budgeting sessions and the commissions … each of them do a capital improvements program process that’s part of their budget,” he said. “Those capital improvements programs are all held in public hearings.”

Baird said if voters choose to vote against the tax, funding would have to come from an increase in property taxes.

She added the roads will only become more extensive to fix over time if left alone.

“Roads are not like human bodies, they do not get better over time,” she said. “In fact, it’s material, it gets worse over time. So if we don’t fix it now, in two years it’s going to be expensive, and in four years it’s going to be much more expensive because roads end up declining at an exponential cost.”

Mastrodicasa said that Republicans and Democrats have come out against the tax.

She said she was surprised over who was supporting it, including the Gainesville Tea Party.

With opinions ranging all over the board, the vote on the surtax will be left up to the voters whether the surtax will go into affect.

Cerlanek said he wanted voters to have as much information on the proposed tax as they need.

“The idea is to learn about the information that’s there, and to go in there as an informed voter,” he said. “That’s all we’re hoping to do,” he said.

Chris Alcantara wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Local, Politics and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Pearl, Squidward, Sandy, Spongebob and Gary (clockwise from top right) are lucky to have a foster home for Thanksgiving. Many foster pets, however, will return to Alachua County Animal Services because their foster is traveling for the holiday, even though the shelter is well over capacity.

Alachua County Animal Services Over Capacity For Thanksgiving

Alachua County Animal Services is urging people to foster animals over the Thanksgiving holiday. Already more than two dozen animals over capacity, ACAS will need to begin euthanasia if foster owners are not found.


A Gainesville Compost employee demonstrates how kitchen scraps are sifted into finished compost after sitting to break down for about two months at Porter’s Community Farm in the heart of downtown Gainesville. “We love how we can participate in this very urban space, and we can do something agricultural,” said CEO Chris.

Gainesville Composts To Divert Waste

More than 20 organizations have joined Gainesville’s Compost on a mission to divert waste from landfills and from it create valuable soil feed.


Over 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting to receive life saving organs. J.T. helped several people get off that list.

Boy Gives Organ Transplant Recipient New Lease On Life

After a young boy and his mother were killed in a car crash, several people were saved by their choice to be organ donors.


Protestors gather outside the Alachua County Courthouse to show their disapproval of the current law enforcement system.

Protestors Gather at Alachua County Courthouse in Support of Michael Brown

Peaceful protests took place in Gainesville after the news that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for the shooting of Michael Brown.


Tobe Terrell poses with the clay sculpture Nadya Levi modeled after him in the Zen Hostel’s courtyard. Levi has been sculpting since 1949. (Photo by Lauren Adhav)

Zen Hostel Offers Tranquility To Travelers And Residents

Gainesville’s Zen Hostel offers spiritual and physical refuge for travelers and residents during its busiest months.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments