April 17, 2017
The Honorable Doug Smith, Chairman
Martin County Board of County Commissioners 2401 SE Monterey Road
Stuart, FL 34996
Re: Proposed additional one cent sales tax
Dear Chairman Smith:
For over 60 years the Martin County Taxpayer's Association has been the fair, responsible and espected watchdog of government spending and funding in Martin County. A part of that heritage has been a long-term positive relationship between our organization and the County Commission. We offer our recommendations and suggestions as to the proposed additional one cent sales tax for Martin County.
Without endorsing or opposing the proposed additional sales tax we are very concerned that the referendum will be presented in an off year, special election. We question the cost of this special election, the date chosen and the chance for success given the short time allowed for public "education" on this issue.
Without careful restrictions placed on the use of the additional tax we cannot determine the need for this additional tax and will have trouble supporting it. We think the use of the money needs to be restricted to only road improvements, traffic signal coordination, bridge repair and replacement, public drainage issues, water quality improvements and septic to sewer conversion. There are many amenities that are nice to have but should not be funded from general sales tax; they should be funded, if at all, by private donation and user fees, not additional sales.
With the FPL surcharge remaining in place for nearly the next thirty years we have to question whether a future Commission will keep your pledge to roll back these charges. We note that Indian River County has imposed additional sales tax while maintaining a 5.9% surcharge. We recommend that the Board delay final decisions on this proposal. Thank you for your consideration. Please know that you are welcome to discuss this with our Board.
Thomas Kenny III