SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — On Monday, Seminole County officials unveiled a reconstructed trail loop at Lake Mills Park. Officials touted the recreational area, thanking the penny sales tax for making it possible.

What You Need To Know

  • The penny sales tax is a 1% sales tax, amounting to one penny in tax revenue for every one dollar spent by consumers in Seminole County

  • The tax has been in place since 1991, and over the years has accounted for $1.8 billion in revenue county-wide, according to officials

  • The tax is up for renewal on November's ballot, and it will be up to voters on whether the tax stays in place

  • County officials say the tax helps pay for a variety of infrastructure projects, and if renewed is slated to fund flood and stormwater projects

Seminole County officials are in the middle of an informational campaign, hoping to educate voters on the penny sales tax. According to officials, the tax generated $101 million in 2022 alone.

“You can actually see when you’re leaving one county and coming into Seminole County, you can see the pavement changes,” said Commissioner Bob Dallari of Seminole County District 1. “You can see you have more trails. We have more parks. That’s all happening because of this initiative that we have with our citizens.”

Officials say they estimate about 20% to 30% of the tax is paid by those living outside of Seminole County, like tourists or individuals passing through.

However, if voters decide not to renew in November, officials say they expect deep budget cuts and the possibility of raising property taxes. According to our partners at the Orlando Sentinel, those property tax increases could result in someone with a $400,000 home with a homestead exemption paying about $450 more a year in property taxes.

The tax, according to officials, pays for a variety of infrastructure projects, and if renewed, will go towards flood mitigation.

Seminole County has seen its fair share of mitigation issues, most notably after Hurricane Ian, where officials described the flooding as “historic.”

David Piotrowski, who lives in Seminole County, says he saw significant flooding after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

“The water came completely over the dock, and there was maybe about 3-quarters of an inch on the porch,” said Piotrowski.

The Vietnam vet says the water was just a few inches shy of entering into the main part of his home. He says water did destroy his dock located off Lake Jesup, and also damaged his laundry room.

Piotrowski says before establishing an opinion on any potential flood mitigation plans or the penny tax, he’d want to take a look at the plans himself.

County documents describe the plans as “[constructing] an outfall system for Isolated Wetland along North Lake Jesup Avenue.”

Officials say, if renewed, the penny tax will also be used towards new stormwater drainage infrastructure along Midway Avenue.