Martin County residents should VOTE AGAINST the 1 percent tax on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.
Doug Smith’s Martin County Board of County Commissioners (MCBCC) majority does not deserve a $230 million dollar blank check in the name of water quality.1
- The list of projects to be funded by the tax is a “representative list” of projects.2
- The list of projects to be funded by the tax can change at any time. Id.
- The list of projects to be funded has no priority order. Id.
- Last time Doug Smith had a blank check, he and Ed Campi built a nonessential water park that cost Martin County taxpayers over 10 million dollars.3 This money should have been used to help the river.
- Due to discretionary project selection by Doug Smith, there is no guarantee this tax will benefit the river. This tax could even make the river worse.
- The MCBCC majority twice ignored Sarah Heard’s pleas for a citizen oversight committee to provide accountability to the Commission while spending nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.4
The biggest harm facing the St. Lucie River and Estuary is agricultural runoff, the bulk of which is discharged from Lake Okeechobee. Of the rest, 75% of the total nitrogen and phosphorus runoff to the St. Lucie River and Estuary Watershed comes from agricultural runoff.5
Urban stormwater is approximately 25% of the nutrient runoff loading to the river and estuary. Id. Martin County’s portion of the loading is approximately 4% of the total nitrogen and phosphorus entering the river and estuary. Id.
Doug Smith’s MCBCC majority is talking out of both sides of its mouth: On one hand they claim to want money to help the river via septic to sewer conversion with this new tax, and on the other hand they just approved bigger septic systems in Martin County.6
Unsurprisingly, U.S. Sugar controlled Martin County Economic Council backs the tax.7,8 Also unsurprisingly, the Florida Crystals- and U.S. Sugar-backed Martin County Chamber of Commerce backs the tax. And, of course, Doug Smith, backed by all of the above, supports the tax.
Martin County’s Board of County Commissioners need to fight more for the St. Lucie River and Estuary and spend smartly. This tax does neither. Bullsugar urges Martin County residents to VOTE AGAINST the 1 percent tax on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.
1. [Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board, Should Martin County voters pass a 1 percent sales tax hike? | Our view, (July 27, 2017), http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/07/27/should-martin-county-voters-pass-1-percent-sales-tax-hike-our-view/504053001/. ]↩
2. [Martin County, Sales Tax Projects 1, (July 25, 2017), https://www.martin.fl.us/sites/default/files/meta_page_files/sales_tax_projects_1.pdf.]↩
3. [Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board, Should Martin County voters pass a 1 percent sales tax hike? | Our view, (July 27, 2017), http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2017/07/27/should-martin-county-voters-pass-1-percent-sales-tax-hike-our-view/504053001/.]↩
4. [Martin County Board of County Commission Meeting, (July 24, 2017), http://martin.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=24&clip_id=3513&meta_id=145232.]↩
5. [Tetra Tech, Revised Water Quality Needs Assessment for Martin County, p. 6, (May 2017), https://documents.martin.fl.us/Documents2010/content/Agenda_Items/eng/2017/8C2-2017-05-23%20Revised%20Water%20Quality%20Needs%20Assessment.pdf.]↩
6. [Tyler Treadway, Martin County Commission OKs larger septics; bad for St. Lucie River or good compromise?, (August 22, 2017), http://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2017/08/22/martin-county-commission-oks-larger-septics-bad-st-lucie-river-good-compromise/586751001/.]↩
7. [Bullsugar.org, Bud Jordan: Investing in Martin County’s Future, (May 16, 2017), https://www.bullsugar.org/bud_jordan.]↩
8. [Eve Samples, Economic Council co-founder resigns, citing U.S. Sugar, (Feb. 24, 2017), http://www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/columnists/eve-samples/2017/02/24/eve-samples-economic-council-co-founder-resigns-citing-us-sugar/98270284/. ]↩