Volusia County Officials Split On Sales Tax Results

By on May 22, 2019 in WNDB News

DeLand, FL – Volusia County’s top officials have differing opinions on a proposed sales tax amendment that was voted on by residents.

It was just last night (May 21st) when the county delivered the news that the sales tax proposal, which has been circulating around Volusia for over a year, was rejected by a 55% to 45% vote.

And, it didn’t take long for some of Volusia leaders to voice their opinions on the matter.

In fact, a couple of them have some very different opinions.

Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley, who was in favor for the vote, said that not only did the sales tax lose, but so did the residents.

“The residents and taxpayers (lost),” said Kelley to WNDB. “We would have had 35 to 40% of the revenue coming in from those (tourists) outside of Volusia County, which certainly would have helped all of the budgets of the cities and the county.”

When it came to breaking down the number of registered voters who participated, only around 28% of the county voted, with over 100,000 votes coming in.

And Kelley believes that there could have been a different result if more voters turned out. He also said if more information had been passed around and there was more time, maybe the sales tax wouldn’t have fallen through.

“I think maybe a different result could have been a larger turnout, with more information and more education,” said Kelley.

Kelley also mentioned that he believes the sales tax could come up to a vote again, maybe even in the 2020 general election.

“We know there would be a huge turnout in 2020,” said Kelley. “Proper education, proper information, eliminate the misinformation that was put out, it might make a difference.

But, one Volusia County leader seemed to think differently than Kelley. In fact, they believed there was no way the tax could have worked in the first place.

District 4 Councilwoman Heather Post took to social media not long after the results were delivered, saying that she made it very clear from the beginning that she was not in favor of the tax.

She said her reasons were she didn’t believe in taxing citizens to “fix a broken system,” and that it was clear that county voters made their voices heard.

“Leadership needs to stop bulldozing over the citizens,” said Post. “They need to stop and actually listen. Because, last time I checked, this is the United States of America and in a democracy, people have a voice through vote.”

A sentiment that was also felt by Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

However, Sheriff Chitwood would probably be the closest one to the middle between a yes and no decision on the sales tax, seeing as he supported it, but he didn’t support the council.

“I agree with everything that everyone said about not trusting the county, and I’m one of their biggest critics,” Chitwood said. “(But) I thought it would be a good thing but, obviously, 55% of the people thought otherwise, and that’s the rule of the day.”

Chitwood was very critical of the council, accusing some members of having no idea what’s happening in the community that they lead.

“We need the kind of people on the county council that will push us forward,” said Chitwood.

It’s still not known if the county plans to push another attempt at the sales tax increase come 2020.

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