PBC Commission to take up sales tax issue at May 3 meeting

The Palm Beach County Commission will meet on May 3 to discuss a plan to raise the sales tax to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, schools and county buildings.

Cities are entitled a cut of the sales tax proceeds, which are expected to be $2.7 billion over 10 years. Because the sales tax money would also be shared with the Palm Beach County School District, elected officials representing a majority of city residents had to approve the split.

That threshold was reached once West Palm Beach and Wellington approved the plan.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said the sales tax issue will be added to the May 3 agenda.

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PBC could push sales tax vote to May 3

Palm Beach County could push a public hearing on a proposed sales tax hike to May 3, two weeks later than commissioners had expected to take up the issue.

Cities would get a portion of the $2.7 billion over 10 years the tax increase is expected to generate. Because the money would also be shared with the Palm Beach County School District, elected officials representing a majority of city residents would have to approve the split.

County Administrator Verdenia Baker said that threshold will be reached if West Palm Beach approves the plan tonight and if Wellington backs it on Tuesday. In that scenario, Baker said it is possible initial plans for an April 19 public hearing on the sales tax could go forward.

But if either of those cities reject the plan, more time would be needed to reach the 50 percent plus one threshold that would clear the way for a public hearing. Delray Beach is expected to consider the plan on April 19, with Riviera Beach taking it up on April 20.

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Baker updates Black Chamber of Commerce on sales tax plans

Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker updated the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County Friday on plans to raise the 6-cent sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

About 60 black business owners and officials were on hand at the Salvation Army’s Northwest Community Center in West Palm Beach as Baker detailed on how money from the tax increase – about $2.7 billion over 10 years – would be spent.

Nearly all of the money would be used to upgrade roads, bridges, schools and county buildings. About $121 million would be directed to brick-and-mortar projects at cultural institutions like museums and theaters, and another $40 million would be set aside as an economic development fund.

Some of those in attendance wanted to know how their businesses could bid for some of the work that would be undertaken if the sales tax is approved by voters this fall.

The County Commission has voted to move forward with a plan to increase the sales tax in conjunction with the Palm Beach County School Board. A public hearing on the plan is expected to be held on April 19 at the Weisman Governmental Center at 301 N. Olive Avenue.

Check with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com on Saturday for more coverage of this issue.

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A divided PBC Commission approves sales tax plan

A divided Palm Beach County Commission approved a recommendation to raise the county’s sales tax Tuesday after a back and forth and back again series of motions.

Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of raising the sales tax from 6 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar. The tax hike would generate $2.7 billion over 10 year for repairs to roads, bridges, schools and county buildings.

Cultural projects would get $121 million, and a $27 million fund would be established for economic development projects.

While the final vote indicated strong support for moving forward with a sales tax plan, the long debate and its twisting, contradictory series of motions and substitute motions underscore the concern of many commissioners that a plan including funding for cultural projects and economic development could be rejected by voters.

Check with http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com later today for more on this story.