Hillsborough land acquisitions program faces budget challenges

06/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Last November, Hillsborough County citizens voted in large numbers to continue to country’s land acquisitions program, known as ELAPP.

Last week at a budget hearing, County Administrator Pat Bean said that the only way to pay for the program would be by raising taxes, something Commissioners had previously said they were opposed to.

That led to some complaints from local citizens, including some who voiced their opinion at today’s County Commission Meeting.

At the end of the day, Commissioner Rose Ferlita reiterated that she did not want to raise taxes, but is hoping that the County’s economic staff can find a way to pay for ELAPP.

Commissioner Jim Norman added that if the Board wanted to act on behalf of the public, they should not ignore Amendment One, which Floridians approved in January of 2008. That measure tried to minimize property tax increases by doubling the homestead exemption and capping any tax on non homestead properties by 10%. Like Ferlita, Commissioner Norman said he’d like to have it all, so to speak.

The Board will discuss the issue tomorrow (Thursday) at their budget hearing at 1:30PM.

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