Monday, September 22, 2014

Pinellas County PSTA Interlocal Agreement Review - Sections 3 and 4



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.

SECTION 3. USE OF SURTAX NET PROCEEDS. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the County and PSTA agree that all Surtax Net Proceeds, including any interest earnings thereon, and/or proceeds of any bonds, notes, loans, lines of credit or other indebtedness secured thereby, including any interest earnings thereon, shall be expended by each Party only as expressly permitted by this Agreement, Section 212.055(1 ), Florida Statutes, and the Ordinance.

This simply says that the County will receive the funds and send them to PSTA. There are no provisions for the County to spend any of this money. Strangely they don't even get a handling fee.

SECTION 4. DISTRIBUTION AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF THE SURTAX NET PROCEEDS
(A) Upon receipt, the County shall deposit the Surtax Net Proceeds into the Transportation System Surtax Trust Fund to be held by the Clerk for distribution to PSTA in accordance with the Ordinance and this Agreement

Money comes from you to the Florida Department of Revenue; they take out a small handling fee, and send the money to Pinellas County. The funds are deposited in the Transportation System Surtax Trust Fund.

(B) Unless otherwise provided in Sections 6 or 9 hereof, all Surtax Net Proceeds shall be distributed to PSTA in accordance with Section 5 hereof, to be used by PSTA for the planning, development, improvement, construction, operation, and maintenance of local passenger rail and regional
connections consistent with PSTA's Greenlight Plan, PSTA's present and future bus service, and/or an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours consistent with the PSTA's Greenlight Plan, and to make payments to service indebtedness (including indebtedness refinancing such indebtedness) or satisfy other financial obligations, including without limitation any concession, lease or other payments to be made by PSTA under concession, lease or similar agreements, all in connection with PSTA's Greenlight Plan and all as authorized by Section 212.055(1 ), Florida Statutes and other applicable law.

Note the proceeds are to be used for the "the planning, development, improvement, construction, operation, and maintenance of local passenger rail" as their first dedicated purpose.

(C) PSTA agrees to use its best efforts to maximize state and federal grants, donations of rights-of-way, construction of stations, public private partnerships, and any and all similar resources in order to leverage the Surtax Net Proceeds to their fullest extent.

Notice the order of precedent established here in the distribution of funds "to be used by PSTA for the planning, development, improvement, construction, operation, and maintenance of local passenger rail"; "Consistent with the PSTA's Greenlight Plan", which we already know can be changed at any moment with little or no public input.

And the really important verbiage: "and to make payments to service indebtedness (including indebtedness refinancing such indebtedness) or satisfy other financial obligations, including without limitation any concession, lease or other payments to be made by PSTA under concession, lease or similar agreements, all in connection with PSTA's Greenlight Plan and all as authorized by Section 212.055(1 ), Florida Statutes and other applicable law."

This lets PSTA immediately borrow the $2 billion plus dollars through a series of bond issues to start the train project, and obligate you to a sales tax for up to 90 years.

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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