MURDOCK — Charlotte County commissioners gave Charlotte County school officials a homework assignment.

The commission considered Tuesday a $24 million request from school officials for a share of the county’s proposed 1 percent sales tax extension. The money collected could help pay for an integrated “one-button” lock down and video security system for schools. Commissioners want more details before offering their final approvals.

“Kids safety is number one,” assistant school support services superintendent Jerry Olivo said. “You can’t put a dollar value on that.”

The school’s request wasn’t the only county commissioners considered at Tuesday’s meeting.

Team Parkside’s requested $ 350,000 for at least one pedestrian-friendly bridge in the neighborhood. Inline hockey players, asked for $500,000 so the county can rebuild and refurbish a multipurpose skate rink in Englewood.

All of the requests made the cut Tuesday with the commissioners’ approval.

The next step calls for the county’s advisory committee, the Sales Tax Focus Group, to review the projects. Its next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m Jan. 22 in Room 106-B in the County Administration Center, 18500 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte.

The advisory council will then rank the more than 30 projects for sales tax funding. By April of next year, commissioners will be asked to finalize the list of projects, as well as how many years the extension should run.

The final question, about whether there should be a sales tax extension to fund these projects, will go to the voters of Charlotte County.

Olivo and assistant support superintendent Michael Desjardins explained how the school board already allocated $13 million to harden security around schools since the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a year ago February.

School officials, however, suggested the next project might be funded in phases.

“There’s different components to the overall project,” Desjardins told commissioners. “There are different ways, I guess you can say, to implement those phases.”

“I think it’s great,” said Rob Kruzel, president of the Tringali Hockey and Sports League, about getting onto the list. He told commissioners how the rink at the Tringali Center is the only rink like it within 40 miles of Charlotte County.


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