Local state lawmakers hope to bring back millions of dollars to Manatee County
Boyd and Robinson also want state to limit when local governments can hold special elections
The Florida Legislature opens its 2022 regular session on Tuesday.
Here are some of the bills of local interest lawmakers representing Manatee County have filed:
State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton
The Manatee County School District caught grief last year when it asked voters to approve extension of a special 1-mill property tax during an off-year special election. The school district said the election had to be held in 2021 to ensure it would be able to continue collecting the levy in order to boost teachers’ salaries and for other programs. Opponents said holding the election this past November was a waste of money and a ploy by the school district to hold down voter turnout. Voters overwhelmingly approved extending the tax.
If Boyd’s Senate Bill 1194 becomes law, it would require eferenda elections related to tourist development taxes, tourist impact taxes, and children’s services and independent special district property taxes to be held on the day of a general election; requiring referenda elections related to increases in county and municipal ad valorem tax millages to be held on the day of a general election; requiring referenda elections related to local option fuel taxes to be held on the day of a general election, etc.”
State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, has filed a companion bill (HB 777) in the House.
State Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota
Gregory has filled two bills (House bills 1047 and 1049) that would abolish the Trailer Estates Fire Control District and allow it to be absorbed by the neighboring and much larger Cedar Hammock Fire Control District. Trailer Estates voters last November endorsed abolishing its fire district.
Among the more than $28.5 million Gregory is seeking for local projects in Manatee and Sarasota counties are $10 million for a new harbor crane at Port Manatee; $7.5 million for a widening of Moccasin Wallow Road (on top of $3.6 million approved last year); and $5 million for the first phase of State College of Florida’s new campus in Parrish.
State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton
Robinson has submitted 18 requests, worth a total of almost $34 million, to fund a variety of local projects in Manatee and Sarasota counties, including $5 million for the new Mote Marine SEA Labs on Sarasota; $3 million for a STEM education facility at USF Sarasota-Manatee; $2.5 million for construction of a pedestrian overpass over U.S. 41 in Palmetto; $2.5 million toward the proposed acquisition and development of a recreation area on Rattlesnake Key; $2 million for flood mitigation projects in Holmes Beach; almost $1.3 million for improvements to Pine Avenue in the city of Anna Maria; and $900,000 for the replacement of the Green Bridge Fishing Pier in Palmetto.