Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pinellas County PSTA Interlocal Agreement Review - Sections 7 and 8

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.

(A) In order to finance or refinance projects, PSTA may issue bonds or notes, enter into lines of credit, incur loans or other indebtedness, enter into concession, lease or similar agreements, and may secure payment obligations under such bonds, loans, notes, lines of credit or other indebtedness or pursuant to such concession, lease or similar agreements with a pledge of and lien on the Surtax Net Proceeds in accordance with the provisions of Section 212.055(1), Florida Statutes, and other applicable law, including any indebtedness refinancing such bonds, loans, notes, lines of credit or other indebtedness. Prior to the initial issuance of any indebtedness by PSTA, the Pinellas County Attorney shall approve the trust agreement or trust indenture (the "Trust Agreement") pursuant to which such indebtedness is to be issued. The County and PSTA agree that it is their intent that such approval be provided by the County Attorney prior to the date of the Surtax Referendum. Notwithstanding the foregoing, PSTA shall at all times comply with its debt policy referred to in Section 10 hereof.

This is the $2.2 Billion Dollar Train Section.

Here the Agreement sets the stage for PSTA to quickly issue obligation bonds and other lines of credit for the Greenlight plan, but mostly for procurement, planning, and construction of the train to nowhere.

(B) Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, to the extent permitted by law, in order to effectuate the purposes in PSTA's Greenlight Plan, PSTA may enter into leases or public private
partnerships with concessionaires, and may secure its obligations to make lease, concession and other payments under lease and concession agreements with a pledge of and lien on the Surtax Net Proceeds in accordance with the provisions of Section 212.055(1 ), Florida Statutes. (C) Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit the amount of indebtedness that may be incurred by PSTA to be secured by the Surtax Net Proceeds.

Here in (C) Mr. Miller and his band of Greenlight yes proponents get the real green light to borrow with, minimum oversight, however much they can and pledge any or all of the sales tax proceeds to the obligation.

PSTA and the County hereby approve the Milestone Schedule. PSTA shall promptly notify the County as soon as it reasonably believes that any milestone set forth in the Milestone Schedule is likely not to be timely achieved. Upon such notification or upon PSTA's failure to achieve timely any milestone set forth in the Milestone Schedule, PSTA and the County shall meet as soon as practicable to discuss the reasons for PSTA not timely achieving the milestone and the effect of doing so on PSTA's progression on PSTA's Greenlight Plan. If the County and PSTA are unable to agree to a resolution or an amendment to the Milestone Schedule, a nationally recognized transit consultant, approved by PSTA and the County will be retained, at the sole cost and expense of PSTA. Within sixty (60) days of having been retained and approved, or such longer time as is reasonably necessary, such transit consultant shall make written recommendations to the parties on methods PSTA should utilize in the future to achieve the relevant milestone(s), to achieve in a timely manner future milestones, and/or to revise the Milestone Schedule, as appropriate. PSTA and the County agree to promptly implement the recommendations of such transit consultant to achieve the relevant milestone(s), to achieve in a timely manner future milestones, and/or to revise the Milestone Schedule, as appropriate, as such recommendations are modified by mutual agreement of the Parties, and to the extent such recommendations are permitted by law and existing contractual obligations of PSTA. Prior to the 10th anniversary of this Agreement, the Parties shall prepare a new, mutually agreeable Milestone Schedule consistent with PSTA's Greenlight Plan that will become effective on the 10th anniversary of this Agreement.

This Section tries to set some conditions around the Milestone Schedule, because the last thing PSTA wants is some schedule they actually must meet. 

There are no mandates, or penalties for failing to meet the milestones. When you see words like "promptly", "in a timely manner" and "revise as appropriate" along with hiring a consultant as a mediator you can pretty well bet this is just so much fluff.   

Watch My Video Green Light - It's a Bad Law before you vote.

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Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks.

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