TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. -- In an effort to help people struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, Treasure Island city commissioners have decided to delay property tax increases for the upcoming fiscal year.
“I think that’s awesome,” said Rebecca Case.
Case has mixed feelings about COVID-19. She said her family is closer, “because we’ve had to learn to be more of a family unit.”
She says the pandemic has forced them to be together, communicate and play games.
Nearly 2 million Floridians applied for unemployment benefits due to the pandemic, and it’s hitting cities hard, especially their budgets.
That’s why Treasure Island leaders decided to follow the steps that other Tampa Bay area cities have taken, and not raise taxes. Commissioners voted to keep the city’s 3.6192 mills instead of increasing it to 3.7129 mills.
We've learned the money from the tax hike goes into an account for bridge repairs, specifically the city’s Causeway bridge.
“Everything has such a domino effect,” Case said. “I don’t know what kind of shape the bridge is in. I hope it’s not going to hurt someone if they don’t fix.”
According to the city, while the bridge needs repairs, it’s not to the point where it is a danger for drivers to use. They don’t see this delay having an impact on repairing the bridge.
And of course, some locals, are concerned about this possibly leading towards tolls.
"I don't want to see tolls back on the bridge," he said. "That's not good for tourism or treasure island."
To sidestep the potential cost to taxpayers and tourists the city has hired two lobbying firms to secure state and federal dollars for future projects. One of those future projects will include replacing and repairing the drawbridge in several years.
The Treasure Island Causeway Bridge was replaced in 2004 and it costs $50 million. The city received money from the federal government for that project.