Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pinellas County PSTA Interlocal Agreement Review - Section 1 and Section 2

Pinellas County Voters are being asked to approve a law (The GreenLight Plan) that would provide
for an open ended 1% increase in the County sales tax.

You can read a review of the actual law you will approve if you vote yes at Sales Tax (GreenLight) Ordinance Review

Due to pressure from opponents of the Greenlight plan and the Sales tax ordinance, the Suncoast Transit Authority and the Pinellas County Commission found it necessary to develop the Interlocal Agreement before the election to add some direction to how the revenue from the 1% sales tax will be spent and to attempt to add some clarity regarding the suspension of the current PSTA Ad valorem property tax. 

The following document is a reproduction of the Pinellas County Interlocal Agreement with the Suncoast Transit Authority approved by the Pinellas County Commission.

The text of the Agreement appears in italics     My Comments appear in Bold regular text.

SECTION 1. CONDITION PRECEDENT. This Agreement shall be effective upon execution by the parties and approval of the Surtax by the voters of the County at the Surtax Referendum ("Effective Date").

Here is your chance as a voter to put a stop to all of the insanity.

 If you don't approve the sales tax referendum on November 4, 2014 by voting NO, this Agreement and the Sales Tax ordinance both go in the trash can where they belong.

SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS. As used herein, the following terms or phrases shall have the meaning ascribed below:
Be sure to read this Section carefully.

(A) Agreement shall mean this Interlocal Agreement, as amended or supplemented from time to time.

(B) Business Day shall mean any day other than a Saturday or Sunday or legal holiday or a day on which the principal office of the County or PSTA is closed.

(C) Change in Law shall mean the enactment, adoption, promulgation, modification or repeal, after the Effective Date, of any federal or state law that: (i) substantially and materially limits PSTA's delivery of transit or transportation services described in PSTA's Greenlight Plan; or (ii) substantially and materially limits the County's performance of its obligations pursuant to Section 3 herein; or (iii) invalidates or terminates the levy of the Surtax by the County; provided, however, a "Change in Law" shall not have been deemed to have occurred hereunder if PSTA shall be diligently prosecuting a lawsuit challenging the legality of such enactment, adoption, promulgation, modification or repeal, including participation in any related appeals.

This means if PSTA gets into any legal trouble, like they are now with the Department of Homeland Security, and the County wants to shut down the money flow, they can't as long as PSTA is "diligently prosecuting a lawsuit challenging the legality of such enactment, adoption, promulgation, modification or repeal, including participation in any related appeals."

All it takes to keep the sales tax money flowing is room full of lawyers filing appeals and the sales tax dollars keep flowing to PSTA.  And your tax dollars will pay for the lawyers.

(D) Clerk shall mean the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller of Pinellas County, Florida.

(E) County Infrastructure shall mean the County-owned assets generally described in Exhibit B attached hereto as that Exhibit may be amended from time to time in order to include assets that may not exist as of the effective date of this Agreement.

This one pretty much kicks the barn door open for the County to define anything they want to as an "asset" that qualifies as requiring revenue (payment) from PSTA for its use.

See the Whereas on County costs.

(F) Department shall mean the Florida Department of Revenue.

(G) Fiscal Year or FY shall mean October I through and including the following September 30.

(H) Force Majeure shall mean a Change in Law or any other act, event or condition that prevents either Party from substantially and materially being able to perform the applicable Party's obligations under this Agreement, to the extent such act, event or condition is due to circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the Party asserting a Force Majeure as justification for being prevented from performing such obligations; provided, however, such act, event or condition is not the result of such asserting Party's failure to perform its obligations hereunder in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

Pretty standard stuff.

 (I) Milestone Schedule shall mean the schedule of milestones attached hereto as Exhibit A, as the same may be amended and supplemented from time to time

Here the milestone schedule which appears as Exhibit A is redefined to no longer be a milestone schedule but is merely an example of a milestone schedule since it can and will be, "amended and supplemented" from time to time.

No provision is made for how changes are made, who may request them, who, by or how they are approved and if the public has any input.

Our look at Section 2 continues tomorrow.

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Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks.

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