I’ve made no secret of the fact that I think Key Largo should incorporate. I talked a little bit about what revenue sources are available. In this post, I’ll go into more detail about the infrastructure sales tax in particular.
If Key Largo were to incorporate, it would definitely shake things up. The infrastructure sales tax is distributed based on a formula set by statute. This estimate is based on the formula. The state takes a few other factors into account, but for my purposes, this will be close enough. So here’s how things would have looked in fiscal year 2013 if Key Largo were incorporated.
Incorporated Key Largo would have received about $3.5 million. Monroe County’s revenues would decrease by $2.4 million. What’s surprising is the large decrease in Key West’s revenues – almost $700,000.
These figures by themselves don’t tell the whole story. The county spends a certain amount of infrastructure sales tax on Key Largo. These numbers are categorized into three general areas – Lower Keys, Middle Keys, Upper Keys. On average, the county spends about $3 million per year to serve the entire Upper Keys. Roughly half of that was spent on facilities that largely benefit Key Largo specifically – wastewater, parks and affordable housing. The other half was spent on facilities that benefit the entire Upper Keys area – police, fire, government buildings. See the table below.
The current annual average benefit of the sales tax to unincorporated Key Largo is about $1.5 million per year. Key Largo could increase that benefit to roughly $3.5 million per year if it were incorporated. And this is only one revenue source.