Local officials tweak transportation details before Wednesday's Hillsborough BOCC meeting

Details were also firmed up regarding an oversight board that would be selected to make sure that the public's monies for the transportation tax were being spent responsibly.  Officials agreed that the board, which would be selected of 11 citizens from the community that had experience in accounting, auditing and transportation, would meet twice a year and report to the Clerk of the Hillsborough Circuit Court.  It was decided that those members would serve staggered three year terms, so that that committee would not lose experienced members all at one time.

Lucia Garsys, the County's Planning and Infrastructure Services Administrator, said she would bring forward a list of the non-transit projects, with a final recommendation coming back to March 10th.

And County Attorney Renee Lee said she would have a rough draft of the Interlocal agreement between the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace and the county ready to present to Commissioners on Wednesday.

Commissioner Sharpe told the gathering that it was crucial that information available that showed how the group had arrived at their conclusions.  "People need to understand the how and why about these issues," he said as the meeting concluded.

The issue will be discussed at the end of the the BOCC's scheduled meeting on Wednesday, which will not be any earlier than 2:30 p.m.

A workshop was held in the Hillsborough County Center Monday afternoon regarding the proposed penny cent sales tax referendum on transportation that local officials are furiously working on to ultimately get ballot language approved later this month.  The informal meeting was led by County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, with Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, HART Executive Director David Armijo, along with members of TBARTA and the Tampa Bay Partnership participating.

Among the details hammered out was a proposal that will be brought before the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners regarding a new issue about the ballot language: whether or not to include the fact that there will be a 75/25 split between bus and rail projects vs. road projects.

Based upon a suggestion by Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, County staff will prepare two versions to go before the Board on Wednesday - one measure will include the 75/25 split, the other will not.  As was discussed earlier Monday at a HART board meeting, many board members believe that including the 75/25 split on the actual proposal takes away the flexibility from  HART later on.  But because they are aware that some County Commissioners might not like removing that language, a second 75 word mock ballot ordinance will be presented (this comes after the word "rail" was deleted and then re-inserted in the ballot language late last week).

Because the ballot language cannot go beyond 75 words, officials are obviously limited.  Officials at both the Monday afternoon meeting, as well as HART members earlier, seemed to agree that the listing of "560 buses" that its in the current draft be omitted.   

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