Chamber and coalition back transportation sales tax

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and several other organizations have officially announced their support behind the Alachua County’s transportation sales tax initiative. Moving Alachua County Forward referendum will institute an eight-year, 1 cent sales tax to fund various transportation projects if the initiative is approved in November.

Builders Association of North Central Florida, Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors, Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation, African American Accountability Alliance, Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee, Community Coalition for Older Adults and Alachua County Emerging Leaders are some of the organizations that helped build the coalition that endorses the initiative.

If the sales tax does not pass, one alternative is raising property taxes for some of the county’s transportation needs. Voters rejected a similar initiative in 2012 for a 15-year, ¾ cent sales tax that would have funded road repairs. Unlike the 2012 initiative, the new initiative has diverse support. The sales tax would raise $30 million per year, but 30 percent of that revenue is expected to come out of pockets of people visiting Alachua County. The sales tax initiative will help with transit, bicycle/pedestrian projects and a program for Older Adults, which would use smaller buses to transport seniors.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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