Guest Column: A Penny for Your Thoughts!

Cheryl Robitzsch
The one cent sales tax “IS” conservative!

Let’s face it, the proposed local option one cent sales tax may be earmarked for Conservation and Transportation, but the secondary benefits to St. Johns County will be tremendous.

The annual proceeds from the one cent option is estimated to be in the range of $20 Million dollars most of which, 62%, are estimated to come from out-of-county visitors. So, here are a few thoughts on the primary and secondary benefits of this five year temporary sales tax option.

What are some of the primary benefits?

Improved roads, new parks and conservation areas, and reserve matching funds needed for state and local grants.

In addition, our three cities, St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and Hastings, will benefit as well. Additional revenue will provide them funds necessary to help preserve the natural wildlife habitats and undeveloped lands along our intercoastal waterways, improve transportation infrastructure and re-align traffic patterns and preservation of our historic and community assets, such as the reconstruction of the sea wall in the downtown St. Augustine area. In addition, as with the county these revenues will provide them with the needed reserves for matching funds to obtain additional grant money. What does this translate into? Secondary benefits that stimulate our local economy, provides jobs and sustainability.

What are some of the secondary benefits?

Recently Florida was identified as one of the 27 states that have fallen into a recession. The local economy of St. Johns County is at risk and now is the time to act pro-actively and conservatively to preserve our current economic engine of tourism and invest in the future expansion of our county’s economy.

The one cent sales tax option will allow us to purchase and preserve natural lands and wild life habitats within our area that provide us with our distinct identity. Secondly, we have an opportunity to build a foundation to stimulate our local economy and making it more sustainable into the future by improving our existing roadways and build new routes that ease congestion and open up business corridors.

Identifiable transportation related benefits include; moving current traffic more rapidly off our local roads onto major arteries, easing traffic congestion to and from our local business districts, and providing access for new business sectors. The long term effect is economic sustainability and vitality.

What does this mean to you and I?

It means for every one dollar we spend on durable goods we pay an extra penny.

Most people in the northern part of the county already pay an extra penny every time they cross the St. Johns-Duval county line to make a purchase.

Long term benefits to you and I include; an expanded tax base that consists of additional commercial and industrial businesses, which will ease the tax burden on homeowners. It also means a strong, sustainable economy, more business opportunities and more jobs for our county.

“Jobs” Jobs are the leading economic indicator of an economy’s health.

Something to Think About!

What are the greatest transportation needs we have in St. Johns County? I’ll name a few. You think of the rest.

-Relief of the CR 210 and I-95 congestion
-Construction of the 9B Spur between CR 209 and 9A
-Improvements to the intersection of US-1 and CR 312
-Construction of the CR 312 By-Pass
-King Street between US-1 and A1A
-Improvements to the Downtown area of St. Augustine

Let’s be Conservative and plan for our future now!

If you want to know more about the proposed once-cent sales tax so that you can make an educated, responsible decision, please visit my web site for more information.

Cheryl Robitzsch was a candidate for the St. Johns County Commission District 1 seat in 2004.

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