Marion County voters approved a one percent sales tax increase on Tuesday along with casting their votes in the presidential preference primary.
The increased tax will be in place for the next four years, beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Nearly 55 percent of voters approved raising the current sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.
The funds collected will be used to improve public safety and transportation infrastructure in the county. This includes roadway projects and purchasing capital materials like fire trucks and ambulances.
The sales tax referendum was originally approved unanimously by the Marion County Board of County Commissioners in December to appear on Tuesday’s ballot.
Edward porter, 54, Marion county resident, said he voted against the penny sales tax.
“Basically because [the current] sales tax in my area, I don’t see where any of this is actually doing any good as far as taxation goes and stuff, so there’s no change for me year to year when there is an increase in sales tax,” he said.
Residents of Marion County who were against the tax increase, like Porter, believed that an increase in a sales tax should not be allowed when annual household income isn’t increasing.
According to the most recent census report, 18 percent of Marion County’s 339,167 residents live below the poverty line.
Jake Fox, a Marion County resident, said he supports the tax initiative.
When asked why he came to vote he said he wanted to have a say in the sales tax and in the primary.
“So for the one penny, that’s not a lot for people to pay to fix the roads and give cops and fire people more money so that’s one reason,” he said. “And another reason is to get a better president.”
The sales tax increase will apply to all residents and visitors within the towns of McIntosh and Reddick and the cities of Ocala, Belleview and Dunnellon.
Kathy Putnam, Marion county resident, said that although she knew about the tax initiative she only came to vote because of the presidential race.
“You know what? I knew about the penny voting; that didn’t matter to me.”
For more information on what the sales tax means for Marion County, watch this First at Five report: