Here is a sampling of the results of many county referendums that appeared on the ballot.
ALACHUA COUNTY A protest referendum against the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision passed with 71.51% of the vote. The nonbinding proposal stipulated that corporations are not people and money is not speech. Also, voters defeated a proposed one cent tax increase to fund transportation on a 60.03%-39.97% vote.
BREVARD COUNTY Two referendums were on the ballot. The first was the renewal of a half penny sales surtax to benefit school infrastructure, which succeeded by an approximate 15% margin. The second one concerned the establishment of a property tax exemption for businesses, both new and existing, who meet new hire thresholds. This measure also passed with over 70% of the vote.
CHARLOTTE COUNTY Commissioners asked voters to approve an extension of the existing one cent sales surtax which is set to expire on December 31st. Proceeds of the tax are used for a wide range of public purposes. The extension was approved on a 55%-45% vote.
CLAY COUNTY Voters rejected a proposal that the school board should have the power to appoint the superintendent of schools. Sixty-one percent of voters rejected the proposition.
ESCAMBIA COUNTY County leaders asked voters to extend two existing sales taxes. The first was a half-cent surtax to benefit schools, which passed with 69.47% of the vote. The other initiative extends a one cent surtax to fund infrastructure and public facilities. It was approved by a slightly less percentage of 64.77%.
LEON COUNTY Voters were asked to extend an existing one cent sales tax for twenty-five years in order to fund transportation, water quality, parks and recreation, and economic development improvements. The extension was approved on a 65.05%-34.93% vote.
MARION COUNTY Rather than increase the sales tax, Marion County voters were asked to implement a real estate tax by one mill to benefit local schools. Nearly 54% of voters approved the millage increase.
MARTIN COUNTY A proposal which would meet the County’s financial needs to address neglected infrastructure was on the ballot. A one cent local sales tax increase for a period of four years was approved by the Commission; who asked for voter concurrence. Because only 83 votes separated those who voted for it and those who voted against it, the canvassing board will be reviewing provisional ballots. There is a possibility of a recount.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY The county had five referendums for voters’ consideration. Of interest was the proposal to allow the expansion of Florida International University onto sixty-four acres of an existing public park. Voters agreed to the expansion plan with approximately 65% of the vote.
MONROE COUNTY Citizens of Monroe County approved a half cent sales tax to fund school security, technology and capital projects. The measure passed with over 63% of the vote.
ORANGE COUNTY Four county charter amendments and one referendum were on the ballot. Voters approved making citizen initiatives harder to place on the ballot; restricting the subject matter of initiatives; limiting terms of office; and make existing partisan elections non-partisan. The amendment to make all charter office elections partisan failed on a 54%-46% vote. The referendum to renew the one mill real estate tax to benefit schools for an additional four years passed with over 76% of the vote.
PALM BEACH COUNTY Voters were asked to approve the continuation of the Children’s Services Council as an independent taxing authority. The Council has been operating for the past twenty-seven years, funding nonprofits and community agencies to provide services for children and families. Nearly 85% of voters approved the continuation of the Council’s work. Similar referendums for Children Services Councils in Broward (75.89%), Martin (76.93%), St. Lucie (85.64%) and Okeechobee (85.33%) counties also passed.
PINELLAS COUNTY A referendum was on the ballot to add a one cent sales tax beginning in January, 2016 to finance public transportation, including expansion, increased frequency, and local passenger rail. The initiative, popularly known as Greenlight Pinellas, was defeated by nearly 62% of the vote.
POLK COUNTY Voters overwhelming rejected a proposal to approve a one cent sales surtax whose proceeds would be placed in a trust fund. Half of the funding would serve as dedicated funding for the Polk Transit Authority. Nearly 72% of voters voted against it.