The CEP would like to thank the more than 132,000 Marion County voters who overwhelmingly approved the renewal of the Local Option Sales Tax. The renewal won more than 70% approval in a record voter turnout. Perhaps more impressively, the issue won every Marion County precinct – all 122!

The CEP through its political committee Citizens Encouraging Progress, Inc or CEPI lead the effort to encourage voters to renew. A broad base of businesses contributed more than $80,000 to assist this effort. This may cause one to wonder why the CEP and businesses would invest so much time and dollars into this issue. What are they getting out of it?

It is a fair question. First, the CEP receives no funding from the sales tax. All of the funds are dedicated to building and maintaining transportation infrastructure and to the capital needs (equipment, facilities, etc.) of our first responders. Businesses and the CEP recognize that if our community is to continue to grow (and the Ocala Metro is now adding nearly 150 new residents a week) then there must be continued investments in building and maintaining our roads and other transportation infrastructure and in supporting our first responders. Businesses and residents agree that when there is an emergency, you want to know that when you call 911 the appropriate assistance will arrive with the equipment they need to help.

Additionally, the sales tax is the more efficient and effective way to fund these important items. An ad valorem (property) tax is only paid by the 65% of residents who own property. However, a sales tax is paid not only by every resident but all of those who visit and commute into our community each day. Our economist tells us that is at least 30% of the revenue. Having 130% fund the roads we all use and the first responders on which we all depend is definitely more efficient than expecting 65% to fund the items.

Your support and renewal of this important investment in our community is not only appreciated, it is needed if we are to continue to grow and prosper. Great things are happening in the Ocala Metro and the future is very bright for our area. Thank you for your continued investment in our joint future.

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