Don't support sales tax increase
I noted with interest that the Hernando County commissioners considered raising taxes again and yet continue to give the builders a tax break by continuing the moratorium on transportation impact fees as well as the previous moratorium on school impact fees. And, they want the citizens to pass a "Penny for Hernando" sales tax initiative to further tax existing citizens rather than charge much-needed impact fees.
A few months ago, they approved a plan to raise water and sewer rates on the citizens because we need more facilities to accommodate growth. For a customer using an average 8,000 gallons of water a month, the rate at the end of the five-year phase-in period will increase nearly 25 percent from about $60 to about $75. This too, is in addition to the penny sales tax.
The School Board has facilities that are in much need of repair and yet, the commission has steadfastly refused to implement impact fees that would greatly help reduce the budget shortfall for facilities maintenance and repair. Deferred maintenance due to a lack of impact fee funds will cost many millions of dollars more than they would have if repairs were performed as needed.
And now, they want us to self-assess an additional sales tax to help offset the lost revenue from impact fees. Most of us paid impact fees on the homes we purchased or built in this county. Those funds built roads, libraries, etc. that were needed due to the growth we created. Chances are you would not need to pay more in sales tax if the commission had the courage to buck the builders and continued to assess impact fees as recommended by every study conducted.
Talk about tax-and-spend politicians. It's time we stand up and tell the county commissioners that we will not approve any increase in sales taxes until they implement the full amount of recommended impact fees. Tell them you've already paid your fair share of growth and you're not willing to do more until the new residents pay their fair share.
Unfortunately, the School Board voted to combine their half penny sales tax request with the county commissioners. While I wish they had a stand-alone request that I would have vigorously supported, I cannot in good faith vote for a sales tax program that raises my taxes for growth while new residents who are creating the need for these funds are given a free ride. Vote "no'' on the sales tax ballot referendum in November.
Ken Trufant, Spring Hill