Walton County residents say 'No' to 1-cent sales tax for roads, reject amendment 2 to 1
Daily News/USATODAY Network
Published: 9:51 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2022 Updated: 11:43 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2022
Walton County voters voiced a clear “no” to a proposed amendment for a one-cent sales surtax to be used to pay for improving transportation infrastructure throughout Walton County.
The margin against the proposed tax was more than 2 to 1, with a total of 23,431 “no” votes, or 69%, compared to 10,450, “yes” votes, or 31%, according to the unofficial election results as of Wednesday morning.
According to the language of the amendment, the funds generated from the surtax would have be used for “projects that improve roads and bridges, expand public transit options, fix potholes, enhance bus services, relieve rush hour bottlenecks, improve intersections, and make walking and biking safer.”
In a guest editorial published in the Northwest Florida Daily News on Oct. 30, 2022, Miramar Beach resident Art Miller argued against the one-cent tax and voters seemed to agree.
Miller argued that Walton County already had a process for acquiring infrastructure funds with the 2015 ordinance creating the South Walton Tax Increment Area and a South Walton Trust Fund. “This ordinance authorized the appropriation of trust funds to support infrastructure, such as the construction and improvement of roads, bridges, stormwater facilities, and other capital improvements,” wrote Miller.
Miller argues that although the taxable value of real estate in South Walton County has more than doubled, “The tens of millions of dollars the BCC (Board of County Commissioners) should have set aside for infrastructure in recent years were never put in the Trust Fund.”
The amendment fared the worst in in-person and early voting, but still trailed in mail-in votes, with 3,706 “no” votes to 2,441 “yes” votes.