On Nov. 6, Collier County voters will be asked to vote for a seven-year, one-cent sales surtax to address a range of infrastructure and community needs. The key word here? Needs.
I have heard from community members arguing this is unnecessary, that the proposed sales tax is burdensome, and that the projects are wants, not needs. I wholeheartedly disagree with this assessment. The projects outlined by Collier County commissioners are necessary to ensuring Collier County remains the best place in America to live, work and visit.
If approved by the voters, this time-limited approach will raise an estimated $490 million countywide for infrastructure projects to increase public safety, reduce traffic congestion and bolster our evolving workforce.
While Collier County has recovered well from the impact of the Great Recession, the long-term consequence of drastic budget cuts persists. County leaders reduced the budget, eliminated jobs and postponed necessary projects during leaner years. Even as property values have risen, county leaders continue to struggle to keep up with necessary infrastructure projects. Yet, the property tax rate has remained the same for the past 10 years.