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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Feb. 12, 2018 6 months ago

Volusia County asks municipalities to pass resolution for half-cent sales tax

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Passing the resolution will keep the sales tax on track to appear on the November ballot.
by: Jarleene Almenas News Editor

All 16 cities in Volusia County are being asked to pass a resolution to support the County Council in adding a half-cent sales tax proposal in the November ballot to fund infrastructure for the next 20 years. 

At the Feb. 12th meeting of the Round Table of Volusia County Elected Officials at the Daytona Beach International Airport, some city leaders expressed their approval at the request and others, like Pierson Mayor James Sowell, voiced a bit of apprehension. The way the funds would be distributed was also discussed, with larger cities like DeLand on the receiving end of more funds compared to the smaller municipalities.

County Council Chair said to the leaders in attendance that the funds gathered from the transportation tax could be put together with other funds in order to start working on infrastructure projects as soon as possible.

“It’s a big deal really for us to look at making an impact on our current situation and that’s really important," Kelley said.

Each city would be responsible for identifying which local projects will benefit from the funds, said South Daytona City Manager Joe Yarbrough.

“In other words, nobody knows what DeLand needs better than DeLand knows," Yarbrough said.

“The needs are immense, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s water projects or whether it’s other infrastructure, I think every city is probably in the same place."

Bill Partington, Ormond Beach Mayor

If the municipalities pass the resolution at an upcoming city commission or council meeting, creating a list of these projects would be the city's next step. 

Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington expects to pass the resolution at the Feb. 20th meeting, and said the city just needs to start working on its project list. He also said he expects this will be well underway in the next 60 days.

“The needs are immense, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s water projects or whether it’s other infrastructure, I think every city is probably in the same place," Partington said. "We have tremendous needs and tremendous improvements that our residents are asking for, and so these dollars — 40% of which will be paid by people who visit us — can be used to make those improvements.”

He said that one of the core selling points for him about this sales tax is home rule, which he added he feels has been "under attack" during this last legislative session. Partington is willing to go to community groups in Ormond Beach to talk about the need for the sales tax and has already identified business people in the community willing to support it. 

"Each of us in the 16 municipalities lives in a place where we get to decide how to craft our communities, but it takes funding in order to do that," Partington said.

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