Taxpayers shouldn’t trust the school district or the county.
Why should we trust the school board and Manatee County to spend sales tax revenue wisely when they have such a bad track record? The school sales tax referendum was approved in 2002 largely because of “The Promise,” made by the school district, but the promises were never kept.
The school district has used sales tax revenue to pay for capital expenditures while refusing to collect $87 million in school impact fees which could have been used instead. So now there is no funding available for six new schools that are required as determined by the TischlerBise Impact Fee Study.
The county discounted impact fees starting in 2009. Impact fee rates were reduced in 2011 after an impact fee study that did not include the schools, thus precluding the school district from resuming collection of impact fees.
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Because the county lacked impact fee funding, projects were delayed, funded by bond revenue or funded by tax revenue that was intended for other projects. Based on the amount actually collected, the total impact fees not collected totaled tens of millions of dollars. There is no reason to believe that the county won’t misuse the sales tax revenue to offset non-collection of impact fees. That would be irresponsible and a slap in the face of hard-working taxpayers.
The total impact fees not collected by the school district and the county combined from 2008 until 2016 is well over $100 million. If the school district and county had been financially responsible since 2008 and had collected impact fees, imagine where the county and school finances would stand today!
Vote “no” on both sales tax referendums if the county and the school district won’t require 100 percent collection of impact fees from now on!