Sales tax going on ballot

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Funds sought for public safety

The Marion County Commission last week unanimously approved putting a sales tax option before county voters in the March 2016 presidential ballot.
If passed, the 1 percent sales tax would fund public safety equipment needs for law enforcement, fire rescue and emergency medical services, as well as transportation capital road projects for Marion County and its municipalities (Belleview, Dunnellon, Ocala, Reddick and McIntosh).
The temporary tax would be levied over a period of four years, starting on Jan. 1, 2017 and ending on Dec. 31, 2020.
“This sales tax will provide the most equitable funding source for much-needed priorities in our community,” said Commission Chairman Kathy Bryant. “It will ensure that all county residents and visitors participate in paying for these essential services for all.”
The commission voted on the sales tax referendum at a public hearing after months of citizen input, research and fact - gathering, and multiple public workshops.
Sales taxes are paid by all county residents and visitors at points of sale. As an example, a tourist or resident buying a $1 beverage at a local convenience store would contribute $0.01 toward the sales tax funds; the same client buying a $100 gift at a local store would contribute $1 in sales tax. All sales tax funds collected over the four-year period would pay for the specified equipment and projects only.
County leaders and staff will be hosting community meetings to discuss the sales tax option and specific projects it would cover. Organizations and citizens interested in group presentations may contact the Marion County Office of Public Information for scheduling, at 352-438-2300 or pio@marioncountyfl.org.