ZEPHYRHILLS — Should voters decide in November to extend the Penny for Pasco sales tax for another 10 years, Zephyrhills can expect a larger piece of the pie.
The city receives about 2.9 percent of the sales tax revenue. By the time the first phase of the Penny ends Dec. 31, 2014, Zephyrhills will have received an estimated $8.6 million, said City Manager Jim Drumm. If the referendum to extend the tax through 2024 is approved, Zephyrhills' portion will increase to 3.34 percent, or a possible $12 million, for the next 10-year period, Drumm said.
"It's just an estimate because we really don't know how much people will be spending," he said.
City Council members approved an agreement Monday evening between the county, school district and Pasco's municipalities that divides tax revenues in the same manner they've been parceled since 2004 — 45 percent to both the county and school district and the remaining 10 percent split between the cities, according their populations.
Zephyrhills, which had nearly 11,000 residents in the 2000 Census, saw its population grow by 25 percent in the 2010 Census, which is the basis for the new percentages, Drumm said.
St. Leo's share of the tax revenues would double, from the current 0.17 percent to 0.34 percent, according to the agreement. San Antonio would also see a jump, from 0.19 percent to 0.29 percent.
The remaining three cities — New Port Richey, Port Richey and Dade City — would collect smaller percentages. New Port Richey's would drop from 4.24 percent to 3.74; Port Richey from 0.81 percent to 0.67 percent; and Dade City from 1.68 percent to 1.62 percent.
The agreement also requires beneficiaries of the sales tax to adopt resolutions by Aug. 1 that give general descriptions of projects that would be financed with proceeds.
In the last eight years, Zephyrhills has used Penny for Pasco revenues for: a new police department building, which opened in 2004; a new emergency services communications center; an expansion and refurbishment of the city library; and drainage, road and park improvements, Drumm said.
Should the tax be renewed, the city is looking at using revenues to pay for continuing road and park improvements, including: construction of a new city park on the north end of town; enlargement and renovation of the Alice Hall Community Center; upgrading the skateboard park at Krusen Park; and improving Gall Boulevard with sidewalks and streetscaping.
The city also hopes to complete an expansion of County Road 54 from U.S. 301 to 23rd Street, a project that began as a partnership with the county, which owns the road. Traffic congestion on the road sometimes means a 15-minute wait for vehicles to get through the traffic signal, Drumm said. The project stalled when the county pulled out for financial reasons, he said.