Special election for half-cent sales tax could cost over $800K

It’s your money, and you’ll choose whether more of it goes toward sales taxes. But it’s when you decide, that’s sparking debate in Lee County.

It’s no surprise taxpayers like Shirley Sweeney don’t want to see their tax bills change, “I think they need to have better budget control.”

But today the issue is less about the tax hike and more about how much money might be spent just to ask the question to voters.

“I’m hoping the county commission just won’t’ do it,” Chris Crowley said when asked if a special election should be held.

Last night the Lee County school board voted for a special election in May, to ask voters whether to increase sales tax by half cent.

But just holding the election will cost more than $800 thousand.

“There’s no reason to have a special election,” Sweeney said.

A half cent may not seem like much, but the board estimates it’ll generate about $55 million dollars a year.

Lee County School Board Chair Cathleen Morgan said, “It’s a big amount of money yes to the average taxpayer but the fact of the matter is for us we consider it a reasonable expenditure in order to call attention the situation at hand.”

But why not include this vote in the august or november ballots?

We asked County Commissioner Brian Hamman, who says the choice seems obvious,
“You’ve got one way that you can hold the election that cost $50 and you got another way to hold the election that’ll cost nearly a million dollars. Personally I’d rather do it for 50.”

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