Friday, September 19, 2014

Pinellas County PSTA Interlocal Agreement Review - Section 2 Continued



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. 

DISCLAIMER:
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.

The Review of Section 2 continues....

(J) PSTA 's Greenlight Plan shall mean PSTA's plan, including the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, the Community Bus Plan, the Pinellas Alternatives Analysis, the Greenlight Pinellas Financial Plan, and the Light Rail Station Development Concepts, as filed with the Clerk as of the date hereof, all of which were developed and approved by PSTA, that addresses the planning, development,
improvement, construction, equipping, operation, maintenance and financing of local passenger rail and regional connections and/or an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours, as the same may be amended and supplemented from time to time subject to the provisions of Section 10 hereof.

All of a sudden the Greenlight plan just got a lot bigger with the addition of all of these other "Plans".

Interesting because you are not voting on these plans according to the Referendum Ordinance since they are not part of the Sales Tax Ordinance language.  

You will also note all of these plans were "developed and approved by PSTA" and apparently the County is buying in completely.

Then there is this: "that addresses the planning, development, improvement, construction, equipping, operation, maintenance and financing of local passenger rail and regional connections and/or an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours, as the same may be amended and supplemented from time to time subject to the provisions of Section 10 hereof. "

Note the underlined words "and/or" this one sentence gives PSTA the way out of expanding the bus system.

(K) Party and Parties shall mean the local governments that have entered into this Agreement, either singularly or collectively.

This seems to indicate that the County and PSTA will attempt to get other Pinellas County jurisdictions to sign on to this Agreement to participate in the "GreenLight Plan".

This Interlocal Agreement appears to set the stage for negotiations with the 24 jurisdictions and put PSTA in the power position in these negotiations.

(L) Surtax shall mean the one percent (1 %) Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax imposed pursuant to the Ordinance.

Before it said up to 1%, now it just says 1%. They simply want all they can get as soon as they can get it.

(M) Surtax Net Proceeds shall mean the amount of Surtax proceeds received by the County from the Department.

Pretty much 1% of almost everything you, your kids and grand kids buy for the next 90 years.

(N) Transportation Infrastructure shall mean all land, roads, rights-of-way, easements, other interests in real property, buildings, facilities, stations, stops, buses, trains, rolling stock, vehicles, tracks, guideways, utility systems, equipment, communications and technology hardware, software and/or systems, and any other real or tangible or intangible personal property required to design, plan, permit, develop, operate, maintain, repair, and replace buses, bus rapid transit, express buses, commuter and/or passenger rail and other transit or transportation services and systems provided by PSTA and eligible to be funded by the Surtax as provided for in accordance with Section 3 of the Agreement.

I call this the PSTA operational reaffirmation clause; take all the money you can get and spend it any way want for just about anything you can think of.

(0) Transportation System Surtax Trust Fund shall mean the trust fund created by the Ordinance to be held by the Clerk solely for receipt and distribution of the Surtax Net Proceeds in accordance with the terms of the Ordinance and this Agreement.

This is a transfer fund that is supposed to make the voters feel better since the money appears to not be going directly to PSTA. We will get to the Section that determines how the funds are actually distributed.

Don't get your hopes up here for a lot of control later.
Check back in on Monday as we continue to look at the Interlocal Agreement that goes into effect if Green Light Pinellas passes.

The review will continue with:
SECTION 3. USE OF SURTAX NET PROCEEDS.

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

E-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net. Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosures: Contributor to
No Tax for Tracks.
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