LETTER — Supervisor states case for referendum

Published 7:44 pm Friday, September 25, 2020

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To The Editor:

Let me just say it – I am a strong advocate for the sales tax referendum on the upcoming November 3 ballot here in Charlotte County. This letter will outline why I feel this referendum is so vital to our county and the future education of the children in our schools.

As a county supervisor, I supported the county’s proposal to have a referendum and allow the citizens to vote for an increase of one penny on the dollar to our current sales tax. The additional funds raised from this increase are estimated to bring $300,000 of additional revenue every year. We’re well aware of the many requirements of our schools in terms of renovation and much-needed repairs. These funds will be earmarked solely for the needs of our schools.

Our schools and students are one of the greatest assets of our county, as reflected in the quality of our teachers, staff, and recent test scores. We are proud of the heritage of the county’s people and the contributions they have made throughout the state, our nation, and even the world. The children of our county deserve a safe, healthy and productive environment to learn and develop important skills for their future success. Why wouldn’t we want to provide the necessary resources to do this?

Unlike our property taxes, this increase in the sales tax will be paid by everyone, including non-landowners, visitors, and individuals who may commute through our county and stop to make purchases. The tax increase will not apply to groceries, medications, automobiles, farm machinery, commercial fertilizer, or seed purchases.

If the referendum fails, the Board of Supervisors will be forced to make difficult decisions and examine other sources of revenue to meet these important needs for our schools. These other sources could include tax rate increases on property and machinery and tools. These are not good options, but we must address these identified needs for our schools and the ongoing education of children.

I cannot tell you how to vote on November 3. What I want you to understand is that the sales tax referendum provides the best option we have for obtaining the funds required for our schools and provides an equitable solution for all concerned.

As a fiscal conservative, I fully support the sales tax referendum to help fund our obligation as a county to provide our children with the best public education available. I am not willing to accept doing the same things repeatedly and getting the same results – specifically, raising property taxes. We’re all taxpayers, so let’s make the right choice on November 3 – providing funds to renovate our schools, ensuring transparency and accountability, and knowing that our money was well spent on education needs and with the greatest impact on the county’s children.

Donna Fore

Charlotte County Supervisor

Aspen/Phenix District