Pasco voters will get a chance this election to keep a tax or jettison it.
Penny for Pasco, a sales tax used to improve roads, build and renovate schools, purchase emergency vehicles and preserve environmentally sensitive lands, is up for renewal.
Originally approved by voters in 2004, Penny for Pasco increased the sales tax in the county from 6 cents to 7 cents for 10 years.
The current Penny expires at the end of 2014, and that's why government leaders in Pasco are hoping voters in November will approve a 10-year renewal that would extend the tax through the end of 2024.
Local governments faced organized and vocal opposition to the Penny during the original campaign in 2004, but that hasn't emerged this go-round. In fact, so many other election issues are drawing voter attention that proponents worry voters will forget about the Penny, which is the last item on a lengthy ballot.
The school board and the county commission each receive 45 percent of the Penny proceeds. The remaining 10 percent is divided among the municipalities, with population determining how much they receive.
The original Penny helped build schools, such as Veterans Elementary in Wesley Chapel; provided funding for road construction projects; purchased ambulances; and bought environmental lands, such as the Cypress Creek property, among other uses.
Zephyrhills has planned improvements to the city library with its Penny for Pasco money.
If renewed, over the course of the next 10 years, the Penny is expected to generate about $502.3 million.
The school district plans to spend its $226 million share on building renovations and technology upgrades at schools throughout the county.
Some of the more extensive efforts would include a $22 million remodeling project at Zephyrhills High, a $10.1 million remodeling project at Quail Hollow Elementary in Wesley Chapel and a $6.8 million remodeling project at Cox Elementary in Dade City.
The county commission, also receiving $226 million, plans an assortment of projects such as the purchase of fire trucks and law enforcement vehicles; construction of bicycle and pedestrian trails; safety and operation improvements at more than a dozen intersections; acquisition of more environmental lands; and an effort to improve the county's jobs outlook and economic opportunities.
Information is available at PennyforPasco.com.