This week, the Hollywood Commission agreed to support an effort by the Broward County Commission to bring a one cent sales surtax to the ballot in November. The surtax is proposed to fund safety, infrastructure and transportation improvements.
During the meeting Commissioner Dick Blattner stressed the importance of this sales tax and how it would be used to pay for important needs in Hollywood. The tax would be on purchases up to $5,000.
The penny surtax applies only to what is currently taxed, AND applies only to the first $5,000 of an expense,” explains Blattner. “So that $100,000 Tesla will only have the penny on the first $5,000, or an additional $50.”
“We need this penny sales tax,” said Blattner. “Without this money we can’t make needed improvements. The only other way we could fund the repairs would be to issue bonds and this means the debt goes on the tax bill.”
Under current plans, 40 percent of the tax proceeds would go to Broward County. Much of the money would be used to pay for buses and possibly light rail. And 60 percent would be divided among the 31 Broward cities based on population. The cities could be used to pay for improvements to streets, sidewalks, alleys, public buildings landscaping and affordable housing. It is estimated that Hollywood would receive $250 million over 25 years from the one cent sales tax.
“The Broward Metropolitan Planning Organizations (BMPO) and County are at impasse at the moment, but we continue to meet,” explained Blatter, who serves as the Chair of the BMPO. “It can be stated with some historical accuracy that the relationship and trust between the County and the cities is icy. Beam Furr, our County Commissioner, has been a light in the dark and is going a great job representing Hollywood progressively.”
City Manager Dr. Wazir Ishmael is in favor of the one cent sales tax. “Although transportation needs are great, additional funds could support projects such as road resurfacing, improved sidewalk conductivity, the implementation of new technologies like mobile ticketing, and support for multi-modal transportation options. As city leaders, we are taking a proactive approach urging the County to distribute a portion of the revenue directly to each individual city,” said Ishmael.