On November 8, 2016, Alachua County voters passed the Wild Spaces Public Places surtax, an eight-year, half-cent sales tax to acquire and improve conservation lands and create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities within Alachua County. Among its provisions was a requirement for citizen’s oversight of the expenditures. On March 28, 2017, the County Commission adopted Resolution 17-36 establishing the Wild Spaces Public Places Citizens Oversight Board. The Oversight Board has met since 2018 to review funding receipts and expenditures by all the sales tax recipients and has handled several issues that arose during their tenure.
Wild Spaces & Public Places Citizen Oversight Board
Assure citizens and elected officials that funds approved through the referendum are expended only to: a. Acquire and improve environmentally sensitive lands to protect drinking water sources, water quality, and wildlife habitat, and, b. Create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities as permitted by Florida Statutes, the referendum ballot language, and ordinances. c. Notwithstanding the above, Alachua County may utilize a portion of its proceeds to establish a fund for the purpose of providing matching grants to the municipalities within the County for projects that meet the requirements of subsections (a) or (b), and which, in the sole discretion of Alachua County, have countywide significance.
The Board has three basic responsibilities: 1. Track overall expenditure of one-half percent sales tax revenues. 2. Report annually, or as necessary, to the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners and each City Commission on expenditure of funds. 3. If it is the opinion of the Advisory Committee that funds may have been misappropriated, they have the right to audit, immediately bring their findings to the municipality and the Board of County Commissioners and demand repayment with the approval of the Board of County Commissioners.
For Agendas and Minutes from past Committee meetings, click here