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PSL chooses road projects if sales tax hike passes

Posted at 7:12 PM, Apr 16, 2018

St. Lucie County currently faces a $600-million dollar backlog of road and other infrastructure projects. So it will be asking its residents to say "yes" to a 1/2 cent sales tax increase this November to ease that burden. 

Slowly, sidewalks are snaking their way through the heart of Port St. Lucie.

The newest stretch was just completed two weeks ago along Idol Avenue and leads to a charter school.

Still, the city is still playing catch up for decisions developers made 50 years ago.

“They built a city without sidewalks," said Mayor Greg Oravec.

Based on a resident survey, the Port St. Lucie City Council Monday approved a wish list for projects that would be funded if a 1/2 cent sales tax increase is approved by voters. It would bring in 88-million dollars to the city over the next decade.

The last county sales tax hike request In 2016 was shot down, and not one voting precinct in Port St. Lucie approved it.

“Back then, a different council had increased property taxes so that proposed sales tax came right on the back of an increase in property taxes," said Mayor Oravec.

Sidewalks wouldn’t be the only thing funded. A number of road improvement projects are planned including St. Lucie West Boulevard and Floresta Drive.

While there was nothing in the plans specific to the Tradition area, some residents there said they’re willing to listen.

"If everyone is convinced it’s going to be used for widening the right streets and go ahead with some of the capital projects that need to be done in Port St. Lucie, maybe the voters will put it through this time," said resident Ted Atkinson.

“It’s a tough decision to spend more money always but when they see what they’re going to get for their investment I think they’re going to vote yes," added the mayor.

The sales tax increase is expected to cost the average homeowner about 50 dollars over a year.

St. Lucie is trying to raise the sales tax to 7 cents, which would match Palm Beach, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties.

St. Lucie County Commissioners will come up with their wish list of infrastructure projects at a meeting May 1.