During a State of the County presentation made to local business owners of the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership last week, Marion County Commission Chair Michelle Stone explained the impact of the Penny Sales Tax approved by Marion County voters in 2016, stressing the importance of its renewal.
Stone detailed the impact of the new tax by indicating that it was responsible for new vehicles and equipment for law enforcement and firefighters.
“It may be only one penny out of almost every dollar spent in the county, but the funds collected through the Marion County’s Penny sales tax have already rolled out new patrol cars for sheriff’s deputies and provided compressed air breathing systems for firefighters,” said Stone.
In addition to helping first responders, the tax helps fund infrastructure projects across the county, including the creation of new roadways, the resurfacing of existing roadways, improvements to lanes and rehabilitation projects.
“Although road projects require significant planning and construction time, our crews have already created and resurfaced 26-and-a-half miles of roadway via the Penny sales tax so far,” said Stone. Those roadways represent 65,000 tons of paving materials according to Stone.
Stone assured those in attendance that the tax, which is paid for by residents and visitors to Marion County, can only be designated to public safety and transportation infrastructure and equipment and cannot be allocated to salaries or recurring costs.
“The Penny sales tax is anticipated to bring $170 million to projects benefitting public safety and transportation infrastructure right here in Marion County by 2020. Imagine what we can accomplish with a renewal,” said Stone.
The sales tax, which was approved by 55% of Marion County voters on March 15, 2016, will expire next year.