ST. GEORGE – As a part of its Issues Over Eggs breakfast Friday, the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a presentation of Proposition 1 for chamber members and the public who want to better understand the issue.
The proposition is a ballot initiative asking voters to approve a sales tax increase for additional funding for transportation infrastructure and public transit.
“We like to give our members an opportunity to learn about current issues, like this proposed tax, and encourage them to offer feedback and suggestions to local leaders,” said Gregg McArthur, St. George Area Chamber executive director.
“Proposition 1 would take a quarter of one cent of sales tax – that’s one cent from every four dollars – and dedicate it to local growth in the form of transportation investments in roads, bike lanes, sidewalks, trails and transit,” McArthur said.
Known as the “local option sales tax,” the proposed sales tax was an option given to voters as a part of the 2015 legislation that increased the state gas tax.
The Washington County Commission approved putting the measure on the November ballot during its Aug. 16 meeting.
Prior to this several Washington County city governments were advocating for the measure and passed resolutions to that effect, often citing the need to find additional funding for transportation infrastructure.
However, whether or not the county and cities get that additional funding will be left in the hands of voters this November.
If the 0.25 percent general sales tax is approved by voters, tax funds received will be allocated in the following manner:
- Areas without public transit service: Cities, towns and unincorporated parts of the county will receive 0.10 percent of the funds; the remaining 0.15 percent will go to the county proper
- Areas with public transit service: St. George and Ivins will receive 0.10 percent for public transit use, 0.10 percent will go to the county’s cities, towns and unincorporated areas, and the county will receive 0.05 percent
Supporters of the measure have said Washington County’s population is increasing significantly and this surge of growth has elected officials struggling to keep pace with community necessities like roads.
During the Washington County Commission’s Aug. 16 meeting, Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said cities were finding themselves in a crunch due to the increase in roads they need to maintain with decreasing funding over time.
“So what happens in response is, cities take more and more – are forced to – take more and more out of their general funds and devote them to transportation, thus taking funds away from other services that we provide.”
Making the case for supporting the sales tax increase Friday will St. George Mayor Jon Pike and St. George Public Works Director Cameron Cutler.
According to data from the Utah League of Cities and Towns, which supports the local option sales tax, if passed in Washington County, St. George could see an additional $1.4 million revenue toward its transportation funds and another $1.6 million applied toward SunTran.
The Issues Over Egg breakfast and Proposition 1 will be head in the SelectHealth Auditorium located at 1424 E. Foremaster Drive at 7:30 a.m., Friday.
St. George News reporter Julie Applegate contributed to this article.
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