Collier County’s proposed seven-year, one-cent sales surtax was approved by a slim margin on Tuesday. Unofficial election results show 73,090 people, or 51 percent, voted in favor of the countywide referendum, while 70,619 people, or 49 percent, voted against it. The local option sales surtax will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019 and will raise $490 million over seven years.
The Naples Daily News reported that five of the six sales tax referenda place on Collier’s ballot since 1974 have failed.
“We are thrilled with the results of Tuesday’s election and are pleased that Collier voters agree that this time-limited approach is the best way to fund a wide variety of infrastructure, public safety and community priorities,” said Michael Dalby, the president and CEO of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. “We would encourage Collier County commissioners to quickly act to prioritize the project list and appoint a citizen oversight committee. We would also strongly urge the cities of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City to formally vet and finalize their project list so that taxpayers can see how their dollars will be spent.”
Collier County government is already moving forward with the process of assembling a citizen oversight committee. In a press release Wednesday, the county announced it was seeking applicants for the newly created infrastructure surtax citizen oversight committee. The committee will be made up of residents of each of the five BCC districts and two at-large members, and applicants should have background and experience related to financial or business management.
In other local elections:
Rep. Francis Rooney won re-election to the U.S. House, claiming victory over David Holden. Rooney received 62 percent of the vote, while Holden captured 38 percent of the vote in the coastal congressional district. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart cruised to victory in Congressional District 25, which represents eastern Collier. He received 60 percent of the vote, while Mary Barzee Flores received nearly 40 percent of the vote.
Collier County’s legislative delegation won’t look much different when the 2019 Legislative Session starts back up in a few months. Sen. Kathleen Passidomo defeated Annisa Karim, 65 percent to 35 percent, to keep her seat in the Florida Senate. Over in the Florida House, Rep. Byron Donalds is headed back to Tallahassee after defeated Jennifer Boddicker, 62 percent to 36 percent; while Rep. Bob Rommel captured a second term after he defeated Sara McFadden, 67 percent to 33 percent.
Commissioner Penny Taylor will keep her seat on the Collier BCC, handily defeating Gary Petit-Dor. Taylor received 70 percent of the vote, while Petit-Dor received 30 percent.