Michael Gold, Founding Editor
HISTORIC CITY NEWS, St Augustine FL
When you cast your ballot for the General Election in St Johns County, whether by mail, during Early Voting which started today, or on Election Day at your home precinct on November 8, 2022, in addition to a mixed bag of candidates running for municipal, county, regional, state and national offices, as part of a countywide precinct referendum, you will be asked to vote “for” or “against” a one-cent sales surtax.
I hope all Historic City News readers in St Johns County will join me and vote AGAINST this avoidable financial burden. My good friend and County Commissioner Paul Waldron, who passed away last week, was the only voice of the people who stood up against the other developer-financed commissioners who are pushing this agenda forward. Paul can no longer speak for you, but I sure can.
At the end of your ballot, you will be asked to vote on three proposed constitutional amendments and one local referendum titled, “St Johns County ten-year sales surtax to fund countywide public infrastructure and improvements”.
The wording of the referendum question reads, “To provide for safer neighborhoods, reduce traffic congestion, and improve roadways and public facilities, shall St Johns County levy a one-cent sales surtax for a period of ten years to fund road improvements, alternative transportation facilities, and infrastructure for law enforcement, emergency services, public parks, recreation facilities, libraries, stormwater management, and coastal erosion management projects, beginning on January 1, 2023?”
You will be asked to mark your ballot, either “FOR THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX” or “AGAINST THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX”.
City and County managers are the authors of the 20-year backlog of deferred maintenance that is proposed to be remedied with a half-billion dollars in tax funds that could be raised from consumers over the next ten years.
Those same managers have demonstrated that they are poor stewards of our tax dollars, yet we are being led to believe that if we agree to further obligate ourselves to turn over about $49,626,914 additionally to St Johns County, $2,986,098 to the City of St Augustine, and $1,336,779 to the City of St. Augustine Beach, they will be able to clean up their mess.
Further, there are no specific guarantees as to how all, or any part of, those estimated new taxes will be spent. There simply aren’t any obligations on the manager’s part to fund any future project at any financial level.
And, the elected city and county commissioners have demonstrated an unwillingness to hold those managers accountable for their poor spending decisions. Ironically, a vote to adopt this new consumer tax will hold the taxpayers accountable for the next 10 years.
Please do the right thing. Vote AGAINST THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX.