Mayor Mike Dever plans to ask commissioners Tuesday night to consider another sales tax proposal that would provide additional funding to the community's embattled public transit system.
Dever said Tuesday afternoon that he'll ask commissioners to consider a second public transit sales tax question that potentially could dedicate a full 0.25 percent sales tax to the city's bus system.
Here's how it would work: A two-tenths of 1 percent sales tax to fund transit would remain on the ballot. Commissioners last week approved moving ahead with that ballot initiative. But a separate 0.05 percent sales tax - five hundreds of a percent - sales tax question also would be on the ballot. The 0.05 percent sales tax would generate an extra $600,000 a year in sales tax funding for the T, according to city estimates.
Voters could cast two separate votes to support the 0.20 percent sales tax and the 0.05 percent sales tax, which if both passed would provide the transit system with 0.25 percent in sales tax funding.
But voters who believe that is too much funding for the transit system could choose to vote only for the 0.20 percent sales tax or vote for neither. The 0.05 percent sales, however, could not be approved by itself. It only would be enacted if the 0.20 percent tax also passed.
"I want to do this because last week there was a clear desire from many members of the public to seek more money from the public for transit," Dever said.
At last week's meeting, commissioners heard many speakers urge the City Commission to move forward on a 0.25 percent sales tax rather than the 0.20 percent sales tax.
Dever said the extra five-hundreds of a percent, would give the city more ability to purchase new buses and take care of other capital needs related to the transit system.
The two transit questions would be in addition to a 0.30 percent sales tax that will be on the ballot to fund streets, sidewalks, fire engines, stormwater improvements and other infrastructure.
Dever said he did not think voters would become confused by the multiple ballot issues, saying other cities often put five or more sales tax initiatives on one ballot.
"I think we'll just need to educate the public on the issues," Dever said.
Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.