More Cities Could Soon Split Transportation Surtax Cash
Written by Risa Polansky on March 12, 2009
By Risa Polansky
Three Miami-Dade municipalities that don’t receive a dedicated portion of the county’s half-cent transportation surtax proceeds could soon see a share — and the money they’ve missed out on over the years.
Though at least one of the localities has long been seeking a cut, the most recent push comes from Tallahassee.
Rep. Oscar Braynon II and Sen. Frederica S. Wilson are sponsoring twin bills in the state House and Senate that would prohibit the county from withholding surtax proceeds from municipalities incorporated after voters approved the tax and require the county to retroactively reimburse the cities for "any withheld surtax proceeds."
Miami Gardens, Doral and Cutler Bay were all incorporated after voters agreed to the half-cent surtax in 2002.
The county distributes 20% of the proceeds to the municipalities that existed at the time.
"The overall principle is that all of the municipalities that are paying into the surtax should get their surtax money, fair share," Ms. Wilson said.
Mr. Braynon said the same, calling it "a fairness principle."
Miami Gardens would collect about $2.1 million to $2.2 million a year, Doral about $660,000 to $695,000 and Cutler Bay about $780,000 to $815,000, said Charles Scurr, executive director of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust, which oversees surtax spending.
Staffers are still calculating how much the retroactive repayments would be.
The lawmakers’ push to include the municipalities comes amid changes to the surtax program. County commissioners voted last week to allow surtax funds to be used toward operations and maintenance rather than exclusively new projects.