The Leon County Sales Tax Committee voted for a 20 year term for the next round of financing of the Blueprint Program. The current round of Blueprint 2000 ends in six years.
Using a matrix with projected tax collections provided by staff, the Committee was unanimous in voting for a 20 year term that will raise approximately $756 million. As of now, 65% of the tax goes to Committee approved projects, 20% to the city and county, and 15% to economic development projects.
The Committee also voted to add the Northeast Park and the Desoto Winter Encampment to the list of high priority projects.
The vote means that $491 million (65% of $756 million) will be available for Committee selected projects. However, as of today, the Committee has voted for a total of $623 million in high priority projects. Now the real work begins as the Committee begins to cut projects.
If the first shot at cutting a project is any indication of the future, these meetings will be interesting!
Committee member Henree Martin moved that the Orange Avenue widening project, at cost of $37 million, be removed from the high priority list. She argued that there were too many projects on the Southside.
Committee member Curtis Richardson took strong exception to the motion.
He stated that “he was perturbed that the subject even came up, it was not on any agenda. Why this project”
Visibly upset by the motion, Richardson said “it is time for equity on the Southside.”
The motion was withdrawn and the confrontation was diffused by a request for staff to bring information to the next meeting showing the geographical distribution of the dollars associated with the high priority projects.
In addition, member Christic Henry asked staff to also look at the geographical distribution of dollars from the previous Blueprint program.
The next meeting is June 13, 2013.