Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pinellas County PSTA Interlocal Agreement Review - Section 11 Part 3

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 11 Continued

E) PSTA shall be solely responsible for any additional costs incurred by the County necessary to maintain and operate existing County Infrastructure directly resulting from conflicting or adjacent PSTA facilities and shall reimburse the County for such costs from Surtax Net Proceeds.

Here the County specifically holds PSTA responsible for incidental costs related to PSTA's use of County infrastructure.

(F) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, nothing herein is intended to transfer any jurisdiction, exclusive use, responsibility, control or access to the PSTA for County Infrastructure. However, this is not intended to prevent PSTA from obtaining rights or permission from the County for the exclusive use of a portion of County right-of-way. Nothing contained in this Section 11 shall be construed as requiring PSTA to pay the County for its present or future use of County rights-of-way or other County Infrastructure unless such rights-of-way or County Infrastructure shall be for the sole and dedicated use of PSTA. Furthermore, nothing contained in this Section 11 shall require PSTA to pay for any costs incurred by a private utility which incurs costs as a result of any
improvements or changes made by PSTA to any County right-of-way or other County Infrastructure and the County agrees to require public utilities to relocate their utilities at their expense if necessitated by work by PSTA in accordance with any policies, rules, regulations or practices of the County when the County performs work in County rights-of-way.

Sets up some degree of control on PSTA acquisition and use of County right of way and then takes swipe at private and public utilities in the right of way.

You have to wonder how the boys at Duke Power feel about this one after they dumped $50,000 into the GreenLight Yes PAC. "Furthermore, nothing contained in this Section 11 shall require PSTA to pay for any costs incurred by a private utility" ..... The question becomes what happens if PSTA refuses to pay Duke Poweer for a utility relocate?

In this Section the County attempts to put some operational teeth in the Interlocal Agreement in key areas where it (the County) may have some liability. This Section also sets up how the County will interact with PSTA regarding certain fees and infrastructure.

Interestingly it also provides for private and public utilities to pick up the cost of any utility relocation for the light rail train.

It does not however address the issues of taking of private property, (immanent domain) or property owned by a municipality.

(G) If and only if the Surtax Referendum passes, PSTA shall validate its authority to issue bonds or notes, enter into lines of credit, incur loans or other indebtedness and the pledge of the Surtax Net Proceeds as security therefore, including this Agreement, pursuant to Chapter 75, Florida Statutes, at its sole cost and expense. The County shall fully cooperate with and provide its best efforts to assist PSTA in obtaining a judgment validating such rights, including on any appeals, and PSTA shall pay for the County's costs and expenses related thereto.

This Section sets up the real purpose of the Sales Tax Referendum, the establishment of a Bondable revenue flow and ties it to the successful passage of the sales tax referendum. 

The County agrees that the sales tax revenue may be pledged to bonds and other indebtedness and requires PSTA to follow all of the rules for municipal bonding.

The County pledges its help and support but stops short of being a participant in the issuance of these bonds. 

However, given that 33% of the PSTA Board of Directors is made up of very cooperative and lemming like County Commissioners, should the bond issuers require County participation or obligation it would in all likelihood pass a County Commission vote.

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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