What's In It For Us
Port Charlotte has stood by and watched our neighboring cities to the north and south of us enjoy tremendous economic growth while we, in Port Charlotte, have become a "drive-through" area. There is a reason for the growth in North Port and Punta Gorda. They are incorporated municipalities where decision making rests with their residents and local City Council. They have the ability to seek and court business investment in their city independent of the county.
There are a number of advantages to becoming a municipality similar to North Port and Punta Gorda;
What follows is an overview of the advantages of incorporation. More in-depth information can be found by clicking on the links above.
More Control over Spending
Capturing of Revenue Streams
Ability to Attract New Business
Citizen Plan for Port Charlotte's Future
Charlotte County taxes residents in a variety of ways; through Ad Valorem or Property Taxes, Special Assessments (MSBUs), MSTU's, Licensing and Permitting, Fines, etc. As an incorporated city we can begin to set our own rates and reap the money these taxes generate or reduce/eliminate them. It's our city and the county no longer has a say in how we run our incorporated area.
MORE CONTROL OVER SPENDING
Incorporation is not a panacea that will solve all our financial problems. It is merely the first step.
Controlling spending is a two part process; 1) limiting how much you spend and 2) deciding what to spend it on. By gaining control of revenues, residents of Port Charlotte can decide how much to spend and where to spend it within our own community. Incorporation brings many dollars back into our community to be spent improving our quality of life.
We can change our mindset from what the county is doing to us to what can we do for ourselves?
CAPTURING REVENUE STREAMS
Municipalities enjoy many of the priviledges of county government when it comes to revenues. A city of Port Charlotte would get a share of communication taxes, franchise fees, the proposed sales tax, gasoline tax (county and state)etc. The share is based on the percentage of the total county population represented by the municipality. For Port Charlotte, this would represent millions of dollars in annual revenue which we currently pay but don't receive direct benefit from.
Additionally, we would be able to apply for grants from both the state and federal governments to help defray the cost of needed infrastructure projects within Port Charlotte. Currently the county applies for these grants on behalf of the unincorporated county residents and decides where the money will be spent.
City governments have decision making for the financial well-being of the city to include, budgets, contracts, reserves, grants etc. The city government replaces the county government in the delivery of all municipal services to include, zoning, building codes, planning, regulation, waste removal, public transportation etc.
ABILITY TO ATTRACT NEW BUSINESSES
Port Charlotte residents and business owners could work together to attract new business to our area, not the county at-large, to our direct benefit. Any incentives would be offered by us and apply to property and businesses located within Port Charlotte. It would be our decision as to what type of businesses we want and can attract. It would also be our decision as to whether or not we needed more HUD housing and the cost of transportation needs that come with those grants. If this type of government grant was not something that fit our vision for Port Charlotte, the county would need to locate those facilities outside our city limits, just as Punta Gorda does.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR PORT CHARLOTTE
Currently, Port Charlotte does not have a good "brand" image for retirees, businesses, or investors. Growth and development has been haphazard at best and destructive in the worst case. We need a vision for what we want and can become. This is not a "top down" process. Development of a Comprehensive Plan for Port Charlotte would depend on citizen input and participation.
Residents of Port Charlotte would develop our own vision and growth plan for our city. It would not be based on the needs of the county but on the needs and desires of the residents within our city boundaries. This would not be "top down" decision-making but one in which we could all choose to participate for the best outcome for Port Charlotte.