Orange County mayor fields questions about proposed 1 cent sales tax for transportation

If approved, Orange County sales tax would go up from 6.5 % to 7.5 %

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – During a series of town hall meetings, Orange County residents can ask questions about a proposal to raise the current sales tax to invest in the county’s transportation.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has been hosting a series of town hall meetings to get resident concerns about a proposal to raise the current sales tax in the county from 6.5% to 7.5% to improve the county’s public transportation, roads and more.

The mayor is hosting his latest meeting on Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Barnett Park Gym. County officials said they had 171 people RSVP to attend ahead of the event.

Demings said the time is now and the one-cent sales tax could help the county invest more in road infrastructure, add more Lynx buses and expand Sunrail.

“It going to get worse. We are going to end up in gridlock. It’s all about timing, and I believe the time is now,” Demings said during an interview with News 6 in October.

Orange County resident Sally Baptiste said she’s against the possible sales tax increase.

“I don’t want to give them more money. I don’t think more money is going to fix the problem,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste also questioned why the money could not come from other means or other taxes.

Demings said there are close to 1,500 new residents weekly in Orange County. He said the new tax could help the county invest more in the county’s transportation.

The county said raising fees from the already existing gas tax, property tax and/or impact fees wouldn’t gain as much revenue as the new possible sales tax. The county said it’s the best option and 51% of the new possible transportation investments would be paid for by tourists and non-residents.

The plan will be developed in early 2020 before county commissioners vote on the proposed sales tax increase.

Residents can find more information on the proposal at ocfl.net/transportation and take a questionnaire about what improvements they would like to see with the county’s transportation.

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