Collier County hoped to collect the $490 million in sales surtax revenue in six years, but the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed the pace of collections.
Nick Casalanguida, the deputy county manager, told Wake Up Naples attendees on Aug. 12 that the county has collected more than $130 million in the first 17 months of the program. While average collections were around $7.6 million, Casalanguida said the novel coronavirus has led to a drop off in recent months.
“It’s a seven-year plan,” said Casalanguida. “We expected it to be done in six years but are now thinking it will be done in seven.”
In 2018, Collier County voters approved a seven-year, one-cent local option sales surtax. The local option sales surtax is estimated to raise approximately $490 million and will end on Dec. 31, 2025 or when the $490 million is collected. The Greater Naples Chamber supported the infrastructure sales surtax increase.
Collier County government is expected to receive approximately $420 million for infrastructure projects from the sales tax. The remaining $70 million will be split among the county’s three municipalities.
Casalanguida said the county’s infrastructure sales surtax oversight committee has already validated nine projects, including the Vanderbilt Beach Road extension, bridges in Golden Gate Estates and the Big Corkscrew Island Regional Park. Several other projects have been partially validated.
While some projects were quick to move forward, Casalanguida said others, namely the community projects, will take more time to get going.
Casalanguida said the county is working with a variety of stakeholders on several of the community projects, however he said he was hopeful some of the projects could go before the oversight committee in the coming months.
The county is expected to receive a final report dealing with mental health services in the near future. Once that report is received, Casalanguida said he expected the Board of County Commissioners to discuss possible locations, including at a site next to the David Lawrence Center or on the county’s main government campus, for a new mental health facility. He said he expects to bring the project to the oversight committee in the spring for validation.
Similarly, Casalanguida said the county has a few ideas for the career and technical training center can located and continues to be in talks with stakeholders about who will run the facility. Still, Casalanguida said he thinks “a big push in 2021 will be to turn that on and get that going.”
When it comes to the workforce housing trust fund, Casalanguida said there are several projects in motion that will benefit from that fund. The money will be used to help acquire land and build infrastructure related to workforce housing.