Voters to decide half-cent sales tax

Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM.

Franklin County voters now have something to look forward to this Election Day.

They will be asked to decide whether the county ought to levy an additional half-cent sales tax, to go to fund medically indigent care for county residents.

If passed with a simple majority vote, and after commissioners agree on an accompanying ordinance, beginning in 2014 the half-cent would bring in at least $800,000, based on state estimates for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014.

The decision by the county commissioners to place the matter on the ballot came after a discussion at the Aug. 20 meeting, begun at the budget workshop even earlier, with County Attorney Michael Shuler focusing on the rules surrounding shifting the current half-million dollar subsidy of the county ambulance service out of property tax money.

Under questioning from Commissioner Pinki Jackel, who asked for a clarification of guidelines surrounding existing taxes, such as the 1 percent health care tax, Shuler said his answer remained the same as the one he provided when first asked the question a year ago at the 2012 budget workshop.

“You gave only a quick opinion,” she said.

“It’s only allowed to be used to operate the hospital or build a new hospital,” he said, adding that the interlocal agreements, signed with both Apalachicola and Carrabelle to enable the tax to be collected in those cities’ jurisdictions and turned over to the county, further clarify its specific use.

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