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Property tax referendum to be ‘introduced’ to Council Monday

By Staff | May 31, 2018

A proposed property tax referendum to fund $60 million in parks improvements will be formally introduced to the Cape Coral City Council – and the public – on Monday.

If ultimately approved by Council on June 18, the ordinance would put a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to approve a .5 mill property tax to guarantee general obligation bonds to fund the long-term plan to create new parks, trails and community centers and to maintain and expand old ones.

According to information received by the city from The Trust for Public Land, there is enough voter support from residents to get the proposal passed.

According to a survey summary received by the city on Wednesday, a “statistically valid survey” was conducted between May 15 and 19 on landlines and cell phones.

Fifty-nine percent of voters indicated they would initially vote yes, with 30 percent saying they would definitely vote yes.

The survey shows voters would be especially supportive of protecting wildlife habitats, ensuring more parks are handicap accessible, improving shoreline protection and providing nature education for children.

The survey conducted by the national not-for-profit dedicated to “places for the people” at its expense, also showed that a majority of Cape voters say they would be more inclined to check the “yes” box if accountability provisions are included.

Some provisions are if the proposal requires full public disclosure of all bond spending(52 percent much more likely to vote yes), that funds can only be used for purposes spelled out in detail in the ballot language (50 percent much more likely) and that the city allows funs from the referendum to be matched by federal, state, county or private sources(47 percent more likely to vote yes).

Results still hold up, the survey summation states, when voters hear more about the proposal.

Fifty-seven percent indicated that they would vote yes if the election was held the day they were surveyed.

The margin for error is 5.66 percent, according to the summation memo sent to the city.

Cape Coral is a rapidly growing city in population, but is lacking parks and rec facilities for the number of residents currently living here, according to the parks plan analysis.

The Cape is deficient in every parks category other than specialty parks, lacking 660 acres in total park acreage as of 2015.

City Council meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, at 1015 Cultural Park Boulevard.