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Penny For Pinellas Tax Up For Renewal

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Public hearings start this week on the possible renewal of the one-cent sales tax widely known as the "Penny for Pinellas."

The penny is shared among Pinellas County's 24 cities to fund long-term, capital projects such as roads, bridges, trails, storm water projects, fire stations and parks. It has been in effect since 1990.

On Nov. 7, voters will decide on the penny renewal for 2020-2030.

County Commissioner Ken Welch said he believes that the penny tax has a good chance of being re-authorized in November, and that a chunk of its revenue will probably go to fixing Pinellas' ailing sewage system.

"There is a strong consensus. Almost everyone you talk to says, 'You need to spend a lot of that money on the sewers.' They know that environmentally, in terms of our economic development, in terms of tourism, we just cannot afford to have that kind of dumping of raw sewage--or even treated sewage--going forward,” Welch said.

Around a third of the penny sales tax revenue comes from tourists and seasonal visitors.

Public meeting dates and locations are below:

§  Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.
The Centre, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor, FL 34683

§  Monday, March 20, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.
Historic Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33703

§  Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.
Pinellas County Extension, 12320 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774

Carson graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011 with B.A. degrees in English and international studies, and earned a master's degree in journalism from New York University in 2017. Prior to coming to San Antonio, she worked as a news intern for WUSF Public Media. She's also contributed print stories to Ms. Magazine, Chronogram, Souciant, and Bedford+Bowery, among others.