To counteract the revenue loss HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) board members agreed to raise property taxes to counter-balance the loss and streetcar track extensions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT
August 15, 2011
(Tampa, FL) - The economy has played a major part in the decline of public transportation. To counteract the revenue loss HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) board members agreed to raise property taxes to counter-balance the loss and streetcar track extensions.
The HART Board members, chaired by Hillsborough County Board of Commissioner Kevin Beckner, voted 8-2 to raise these taxes. Voting against the increase were board members John Byczek and County Commissioner Sandra Murman.
The increase makes the rate .50 cents per every $1000.00 of value, which rose .02 cents with this increase from .48 cents. The owner of a home assessed at $200,000 and taking a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $75.
The tax is to raise $5.3 million to extend the downtown's streetcar three blocks to Whiting Street, with hope of attracting business riders and increasing operating hours.
However this comes with mixed feelings since the transit authority has seen a 7% decline in riders from January to May, but in June and July a slight increase.
Former County Commissioner Brian Blair says "with the poor economy and a decline in housing values, this tax increase makes no sense, and is a waste of tax payer's money."
The streetcar system for which this tax was imposed for relies heavily on out-of-state tourists and local visitors, including weekend partiers, catching rides to the St. Pete Times Forum, Channelside, Ybor City and the Convention Center.
While serving on the HART Board a few years ago, then Commissioner Blair said," I warned other Board members that the extension was a waste of taxpayer dollars and they would be coming back to the taxpayers to subsidize this Streetcar. The Streetcar had almost burned through the 10 million dollar endowment that was supposed to fund the Streetcar along with passenger fares forever. The Streetcar goes from no place to nowhere. Even Mayor Bob Buckhorn voted against the Streetcar when he was on City Council."
The tax increase only benefits those who frequent that area, and use this system. Other than that, it does nothing for the rest of the City of Tampa or Hillsborough County as a whole.
Brian Blair is available for interviews. Please contact Eclectic Media Productions (347)92-STARS or (347) 927-8277, Email: infomediaproductions.tv
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