Published: May 13, 2014 7:35 AM EDT
Updated: May 13, 2014 5:28 PM EDT

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- Charlotte County commissioners have decided to add an 8-year extension of the penny tax to the general election ballot.

That tax was set to expire this year, but county voters approved it's renewal for another six-to-eight years.

Last week, the City of Punta Gorda put their stamp of approval on the penny tax, saying they could benefit by as much as $16 million, using the money for municipal infrastructure updates.

Demonstrators, who are unhappy with the proposed tax, picketed along U.S. 41, across from the Charlotte County Administration Building.

"It's time to stop the one-percent sales tax," said Susan Hutt, a protester.  "I think you would have better commerce. People would have more tax dollars to spend and put back into the community."

"It funds great projects in the area," said Andy Leonard, a Charlotte County resident who asked commissioners to consider using the tax money for a veteran memorial park.  "The voters have passed it in the past, and I think they will do it again this year."

The proposed renovation and expansion of the Charlotte County Justice Center, at a cost of $36 million, was rejected by the ad hoc Sales Tax Focus Group, which evaluated and ranked the proposed projects in March. When the County Commission approved the recommendations, the justice center also was added to the list of 22 selected proposals, as well as six second-tier projects identified if money becomes available.