Santa Rosa County residents will vote October 8, 2019, on a ten-year, one-cent local option sales surtax to fund transportation and drainage projects, public safety capital needs and quality of life projects.

WHAT IS A DISCRETIONARY SALES SURTAX?

  1. State law allows individual Florida counties to impose a sales surtax called a discretionary sales surtax or a local option sales surtax. Local governments use money raised from the local option sales tax to pay for authorized projects. A local option sales tax is subject to voter approval.
  2. The proposed surtax would be applied to all transactions subject to the state sales tax. It is capped at the first $5,000 of a single consumer purchase. Exempt items include groceries and medicine.

ONE CENT PROJECTS

To view the priority project list, please click here

tax facts and Frequently Asked Questions

Discretionary Surtax:

  • The proposed infrastructure sales surtax must be approved by a majority of voters before it can be enacted.
  • It ends after a period of ten years and can only be extended if reapproved by voters.
  • Instituting a local option sales tax means all consumers pay.
    • An estimated 25% to 30% of sales tax revenues are paid by visitors and individuals who do not live in the county.
  • It can help keep property-based taxes and fees low.
  • It cannot be used for salaries and other operational costs.
  • A citizen oversight committee is appointed to ensure funds are spent in accordance with the law.
  • What will this change mean to the average citizen? Approximately $6 a month.

Tax Watch Report and Budget Information:

The following information is found in the FY2019 Adopted Budget and the FY2020 Tentative Budget.

  • Ad valorem tax rate (millage) has not increased in Santa Rosa County since the 1980s.
  • During the recession, ad valorem tax revenues decreased by 25% due to property values.
  • The FY2020 is the first year ad valorem revenues will be greater than 2007.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the current Santa Rosa County Sales Tax rate?

  • 7.0% (6.0% State, 0.5% Santa Rosa School Board, and 0.5% Santa Rosa County and Municipalities)

If the referendum is passed on October 8th what will the resulting Santa Rosa County Sales Tax rate?

  • The referendum will replace the current 0.5 percent sales tax with a 1 percent sales tax, increasing the current rate to 7.5%

What is SRC’s ranking in per capita taxes? 1 being highest and 67 lowest (Source: Tax Watch Report)

  • Per capita total property tax levies – 49 of 67 (includes school district and other government levies (NWFWMD))
  • Per capita county government property tax levies – 55 of 67
  • Average total property tax millage rates – 62 of 67
  • Per capita total county and municipal government revenue – 66 of 67 (Santa Rosa County has the second lowest overall tax burden in the state at $813 per person.)

What is required to implement impact fees?

  • Impact fees must meet the dual rational nexus test as required by State Statute and case law. This test requires an impact fee to have a reasonable connection, or rational nexus, between 1) the proposed new development and the need and the impact of additional capital facilities, and 2) the expenditure of funds and the benefits accruing to the proposed new development. Additionally, Florida Statutes 163.31801.3(a) - Requires that the calculation of the impact fee be based on the most recent and localized data. In order to show the impact fee meets these requirements, the local government must demonstrate a rational relationship between the need for additional capital facilities and the proposed development. In addition, the local government must show the funds are earmarked for the provision of public facilities to benefit the new residents. Impact fees can not be used to address existing capital needs. 
  • The previous Santa Rosa County transportation impact fee ordinance was repealed in October 2015 because it was out of date and no longer met this requirement.  Known changes since the last transportation impact fee study include: increase in the local option gas tax, implementation of the ½ penny local option sales tax and an increase in population. To implement any new impact fee – whether for transportation, public safety, schools, or recreation – requires an analysis to be performed. The County would commission a study and hire a consultant to complete this work. Once the analysis is complete a local ordinance would be developed for public hearing and potential enactment. If the process started today, it would take approximately 9 to 12 months before impact fees could be established and collected. This timeline is based on local experience with the prior transportation impact fee as well as information obtained by staff from other jurisdictions within the State of Florida.

Why are there no school impact fees?

  • The Commissioners and School Board held a joint meeting May 15, 2019 to discuss growth and impact fees (view meeting replay here). This meeting was for discussion only with no actionable agenda items. The Board of County Commissioners has not voted on the issue of impact fees since October 2015. Impact fees were discussed as well as other school board funding sources for capital construction (i.e., the School Board local option sales tax) and how the school board has allocated funds over the past several years. The School Board intends to present a request for impact fees and draft ordinance to the Board of County Commissioners for review and action in the coming months. Agendas for BOCC meetings are posted online for citizens to review and a subscription service for meeting notifications is available here.

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How does it work?

The Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to have a special election for a ten-year, one-cent infrastructure sales tax special election on October 8, 2019. If approved by voters, the one-cent sales tax would replace the current half-cent sales tax and would raise an estimated $182 million over ten years — or $18.2 million a year — countywide.

Half cent to full cent
Jurisdiction revenue
Who will contribute to the funds
How will the county use its portion?
transportation and drainage
public safety
quality of life