To the Editor:
I am writing as an individual island resident and not in my capacity as a member of the board of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority. As I am sure everyone knows, there will be an item on the November 6 ballot concerning a proposed real estate tax levy to partially pay for the bridge replacements. There are a couple of matters that seem to need clarification.
First of all, during our numerous public meetings about the financing of the replacement bridges and in letters to the editor of this paper, there have been dire predictions made by some about the economic effects of a toll increase on Boca Grande business.
The fact is that, whatever the toll finally turns out to be, the difference in the toll the proposed real estate tax increase would make is about 50 cents.
Secondly, it appears likely there could be considerable confusion about the language on the November ballot concerning the property tax referendum. The ballot will read “For Bonds” and “Against Bonds.”
The fact is that a vote for the bonds is actually a vote for an increased real estate tax. If the majority of the votes are cast against the bonds, it will not materially affect the GIBA’s ability to issue bonds or the interest rate on them. While the language on the ballot is grossly misleading, it is, unfortunately, required by Florida law. However, your vote is simply for an increased real estate tax or against it.
While it is up to the voters, certainly not the GIBA Board, to determine whether or not there will be an increase in our real estate tax, it is important that everyone know what the vote is about.
Very truly yours, Lee MajorBoca Grande
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