Sarasota County Heads to Polls

SARASOTA -

Sarasota County voters will get to vote on extending the penny sales tax for another fifteen years. The tax was last extended in 1997 and is set to expire in 2009. Backers say over the past 18 years, it has pumped more than $700 million into local governments for road, school and other infrastructure projects. Sarasota Schools nets 25 percent of the proceeds, with Sarasota County getting half.

Also on Tuesday, voters will get to decide on what is being called the super-majority amendment. It would require four out of five county commissioners to agree on future changes in the Comprehensive Plan to increase land use density.

Currently, the votes of three out of the five commissioners are needed to approve land use changes. The amendment is backed by several citizens groups, who see it as a way to put a brake on rampant development. But it's opposed by the local Chamber of Commerce and many realtors, who say it would be bad for business.

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