One Cent Discretionary sales tax Referendum

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.


  • 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.
  • 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.

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

tax facts

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

  • Santa Rosa County has the second lowest overall tax burden in the state at $813 per person. Tax Watch Report
  • 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.