Seminole County uses tax dollars to educate people on new tax; Residents fight the effort

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County leaders are about to spend tax dollars to explain to residents why they should vote in favor of raising their own taxes.

The county is already spending half a million dollars to hold a special election in May where voters will decide if the sales tax will be raised from 6 to 7  percent.

Now, leaders want to spend $50,000 in tax money to hire a firm to educate people about the potential sales tax increase.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa spoke to one group that's launching a counter campaign to show residents, what they said, the county won't tell them.

The firm’s goal is to educate residents on how the sales tax will be spent if it’s approved.

“It's a penny per dollar and it adds up very quickly,” said resident Grant Maloy.

Maloy is a former county commissioner and he said the county's attempts to educate won't give voters all the information to make an informed decision.

“If they are going to do a fair presentation they need to have both sides have a say,” Maloy said. “The people who try to fight it don't get any help other than just grass roots. They take our money and spend it against us.”

With the county looking to put out literature, Maloy and his group said they have a plan of their own.

They've already emptied a box full of signs that clearly state how they feel about the tax.

The county's public works engineer said it wants to hire the firm to field questions from the public, especially as the vote date nears.

He said that way, the current county staff can concentrate on their regular jobs.

The vote is set for May 20.

The county said it plans to have a finalized list of what the money would be used for before the end of March.