If the four year, one cent sales surtax referendum is approved by voters in November, the revenue will be used to repair the county’s existing infrastructure – roads, bridges, and drainage pipes. By the terms of the ordinance, the Board of County Commissioners has to review and approve all projects.
Based on Department of Revenue estimates, Martin County could expect to receive $21+ million dollars per year, with additional funds going to the municipalities (City of Stuart, Jupiter Island, Ocean Breeze, and Sewall’s Point) within the county. While the county’s revenue is restricted to the repair or replacement of existing infrastructure, each municipality can, separately, determine how its revenue share will be used. Currently, 53 of Florida’s 67 counties have already implemented a sales surtax. Of these, 26 counties have no expiration date on the surtax.
In order to identify and prioritize projects, Engineering Department staff has inspected the pipes and bridges and rated every road maintained by Martin County. What they found was that almost 50% of our bridges are beyond the 50 year life expectancy and more than 260 miles of roadway require repair or replacement. Likewise, all 34 miles of metal pipe in the county has exceeded its expected lifespan of 30 years.
Since so much of our infrastructure is at or beyond life expectancy, we decided that an integrated approach, combining repairs of roads and pipes, could create significant efficiencies in both time and cost. For example, a savings of nearly 60% of pipe replacement cost can be realized by combining pipe replacement or bridge work with road resurfacing. With the addition of swale grading and sidewalk repair (funded by maintenance budgets), this integrated approach would restore major roadways and make adjoining neighborhoods whole.
Additionally, the revenue from the sales tax can be leveraged to secure grants. For example, last year Martin County received almost $3.5 million in Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) road grants. FDOT provided $2.7 million and the county’s required contribution was just $781,000, which had to be accumulated over several years. We were able to resurface almost 14 miles of road in 2014 using FDOT grants.
For the interactive map and more information: http://mcgov.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=e495b2253d474bbba1e37b23586aa4f3&webmap=0e69b13452464f2bb24096c9e2f25686