By Jim Melican, GSAC Board Member
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Collier County’s Board of County Commissioners (BCC) decided at its December 12 meeting not to pursue, at least for now, renewal of the locally imposed 1% surcharge to the state sales tax rate. The surcharge, which voters approved by a razor-thin margin (51% to 49%) in November 2018, will now expire at the end of this year. The surtax, intended to fund infrastructure projects, was to continue for seven years, or until the collections from within the County reached a total of $490 million. Collections are now projected to reach a total of $541 million by year-end, so the surtax will expire two years early.

About 90% of the money collected has gone to the County; the City of Naples has received a little over 5% ($27.4 million), of which it has spent approximately $8 million and has an additional $2.1 million set aside for open purchase orders. The vast majority of this is for the beach outfall project. The reimposition of the surtax would have required a second voter referendum, and two cities within the County (Marco Island and Everglades City) favored that approach. However, the five BCC commissioners decided unanimously that, already faced with inflation-fueled increases in their living expenses almost across the board, voters would have no appetite to restore the surcharge at this time.