BCC to put school board’s half-cent sales tax on ballot

By Nick Blank Staff Writer
Posted 10/8/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – County officials approved the Clay County School Board’s request to place a half-cent sales tax on the 2020 general election ballot.

The school board sought to put the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

BCC to put school board’s half-cent sales tax on ballot

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – County officials approved the Clay County School Board’s request to place a half-cent sales tax on the 2020 general election ballot.

The school board sought to put the measure on a special election ballot in November and the county voted against it. Circuit Court Judge Steve Whittington ruled in favor of the county in August.

The sales tax aims to raise about $318 million for maintenance projects, according to the school district. State Legislature prohibited raising sales taxes in non-general elections in the last session with House Bill 5.

County commissioners favored the move to the 2020 ballot, citing the cost of a special election, voter turnout for special elections and voter education.

BCC Chairman Mike Cella recommended residents research the issue. They have until Nov. 3, 2020.

Commissioner Gavin Rollins referenced Supervisor of Elections Chris Chambless’ estimate that the special election would have cost about $180,000.

“In this case, we’re saving money and we give the public ample time to be aware of it,” Rollins said. “I see no issue putting this on the ballot.”

School board chairwoman Carol Studdard and district officials were in attendance. She said it was time for the school to move forward with voters and highlight the school board’s needs.

“We’ll spend the year having public meetings, educating the public and letting them know where this money will go,” Studdard said.

In other business, commissioners and staff discussed restrictions on sexual offenders and predators. Offenders must live at least 1,000 feet from a school in Clay County. A buffer of 2,000 feet was recommended by Rollins.

“A thousand feet is a couple of football fields,” Rollins said. “In some cases, if there’s a clear line of sight, a sexual predator could see a school.”

County attorney Courtney Grimm said the Clay County Sheriff’s Office provided additional restrictions for the county to discuss. The first recommendation was a provision about loitering near bus stops or daycare centers, or other timeframes where children are or get picked up.

“(With this restriction), those who are registered are not allowed to be in that area,” Grimm said. “We call it the safety zone.”

The sheriff’s office asked to include all offenders to fall within requirements for living restrictions. Some offenders aren’t subject to the restrictions due to the date of the offense, Grimm said.

Another request from the sheriff’s office would prevent offenders from decorating a residence or passing out treats during Halloween. The last item was a registration fee for offenders moving to the county, similar to an initial $50 fee paid to Nassau County and a fee structure for re-registering. Duval County has a $25 flat fee.

“The purpose of having the registration fee is because of all the administrative work that goes into registration and re-registration,” Grimm said.

Commissioners gave staff direction to proceed with the topics Grimm presented and draft an ordinance.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment