We received the packet of information that Parsons provided the Transportation Policy Leadership Group on June 11 to back up their proposal to put another 30 year $3.5 BILLION sales tax hike on the 2016 ballot. Parsons handed the packets to the county commissioners at that meeting so it appeared the commissioners had not even had a chance to review what was in it. We assume that County Administrator Mike Merrill provided some type of briefing or summary of the information to the commissioners prior to the meeting.
However, what should have occurred is that all the commissioners should have had the opportunity to actually read the information to then be able to ask some challenging questions about the information they received. They should not be simply relying on what Merrill tells them for all their advice. Merrill is not a policy maker and he should not be acting like one as if he is an unelected County Mayor. Commissioner Hagan read a lengthy scripted statement supporting the tax hike and Commissioner Miller stated we'll be "DOOMED" if we don't pass the huge tax hike. But apparently neither one of them had even read the information packet to know exactly what was in it. Sound eerily familiar.
So we started reading the packet and some of the data appeared a bit strange. The packet stated that both transit and roads were "relatively" equal in prioritization response. We decided to look at where the GoHillsborough workshops were held as that provides some good insight for who had the opportunity to actually participate in this effort. Here's what we found:
|GoHillsborough workshops held: Tampa vs County|
Hillsborough County's population is about 1.3 million while the city of Tampa's population is about 350K. GoHillsborough held their workshops disproportionately in the city of Tampa vs the county based on population. What GoHillsborough did was force anyone in the county to have to drive much further to even participate in the workshops held in the county.
Why were the workshops disproportionately held in the city of Tampa? Was this intentional?
This is the data the county commissioners paid a million bucks for and are relying on to make decisions. Why aren't they asking these questions?
GoHillsborough's data looks skewed.
GoHillsborough looks flawed.
GoHillsborough 30 year $3.5 BILLION proposed sales tax hike looks flawed.