Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Selling Clay's Sales Tax

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Selling Clay's Sales Tax

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- The sales pitch is about to begin.

On June 23, the Clay County Commission voted to put a

referendum on the November ballot asking voters to approve a

15year extension of a 1-cent local option sales tax due to

expire Dec. 31, 2004.

On June 30, commissioners and County Planning Director Susan

Fraser began developing campaign strategy for selling the idea

to voters.

Commissioner George Bush suggested putting together a videotape

showing how revenue from the 1-cent sales tax has helped finance

public improvements.

"We could show a tour of our new county jail," Bush said,

adding that public safety and transportation improvements also

should be part of the video. That would include public service

improvements such as new fire engines, rescue vehicles, parks

and the new four-lane bridge over Swimming Pen Creek.

The first PR tool, however, will be printed flyers to be mailed

to households and businesses. But commissioners couldn't agree

on whether the printed information should be limited to the

sales tax issue or include other referenda as well.

Commissioner Pat McGovern said he thought the mailings should

address the sales tax and proposed county charter amendments,

including one calling for a separation of duties of the clerk of

court.

Bush disagreed.

"No, we need to keep it simple," Bush said. Just stick to the

sales tax issue, he said.

Whatever commissioners ultimately decide about promotional

campaigns, Fraser urged them to make some decisions quickly.

"We need to start now in order to have something by midAugust,"

Fraser said, adding that she could begin immediately writing the

copy for mail-out flyers.

McGovern said that for the campaign to be successful, voters

will have to be persuaded that it is in their best interest to

continue paying the additional penny tax on consumer goods.

The campaign, he said, needs to stress public safety

enhancements, libraries and other county services that have

benefited from the sales tax, "with the implication being that

you're not going to get them if you don't [approve the tax

extension]. …

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