A Penny goes a long way in Charlotte County!

Over $350,000,000 of valued infrastructure has been financed by the “penny tax” in Charlotte County over the past 24 years. The “Penny Tax” or “1 Cent Sales Tax”, as it is often referred to in Charlotte County, has been in effect since 1994. It is actually a “1% local option sales tax”: one cent on the dollar.  Voters have since approved extensions of this sales tax four times. On November 4, 2014, it was approved for a 6-year extension, so it will be back on the ballot in November 2020. Most of the county’s residents understand its benefits, but newcomers, especially those from highly taxed areas like the northeast, cringe when they cast their ballots for the tax at the urging of their new neighbors.

“A local option sales tax is a discretionary sales tax authorized under Florida law, and must be approved by a majority of the electors voting in a referendum. The revenue and any interest accrued can be used:

  • To finance, plan or construct infrastructure;
  • To acquire land for public recreation, conservation or protection of natural resources;
  • To provide loans, grants or rebates for residential or commercial energy efficient improvements;
  • For economic development projects (up to 15%).

Monies may not be used for operational expenses related to infrastructure.”

The tax is paid by everyone who spends time in our county: not just residents, but vacationers and visitors too. Currently, the annual revenue from the sales tax is roughly $18 million. These pennies (over $350,000,000 in total) have provided funding for quality of life projects throughout our community.

Performing Arts Center

Most of our area’s completed projects are easy to see, and include:

  • Charlotte Center for Performing Arts Center
  • South County Regional Park
  • Charlotte County Event & Conference Center
  • Punta Gorda Pathways, Linear Park and Harborwalk
  • Laishley Park
  • Public Works Complex
  • Historic Courthouse Renovations
  • Lighting on the Bridges
  • Burnt Store Road Expansion Phase I and Safety Features
  • Two New Fire Stations
Laishley Pier
Old Courthouse


Some of the completed projects that are not so easy to see are:

  • Upgraded Dispatch Systems for Police/Fire/Emergency Response
  • Fleet Management Building
  • Downtown Flood Mitigation
  • Laishley Park Flood Mitigation
  • Gilchrist Park Flood Mitigation
  • Regional Water Interconnections
Harbor Walk at the Performing Arts Center

Funded Projects underway are:

  • New South County Library
  • Burnt Store Road Completion
  • Gilchrist Park Playground & Restrooms
  • Waterfront Activity Center Design
  • Street Lighting Projects
  • Pathways Improvements
  • More……

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