Sales tax spending group to exclude commissioners

If the proposed half-cent sales tax for new county infrastructure is passed by voters on Aug. 30, the business community group backing it wants an advisory panel that’s independent of county commissioners to help decide how the money is spent.

Citing concern about “public trust,” Ed Carson, who heads Moving Santa Rosa Forward, a volunteer group that includes the chambers of commerce in five Santa Rosa municipalities, told commissioners on Monday that neither elected officials nor county staffers should be part of the planned advisory committee.

“With all due respect, we really feel like this needs to be a group of citizens and business people as opposed to having staff and representation from the board,” said Carson, a Pace contractor.

The ballot language states that the half cent for infrastructure can fund law enforcement, fire and public safety facilities, among several other possible expenditures. That half-cent tax is a separate ballot measure from another tax of equal amount that’s designated to pay for a new county courthouse in Milton.

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