Tanner Andrews mug

Tanner Andrews

It looks so good in the adverts. They show a nice, big, juicy burger, piled high and tasty. So, there is naturally some disappointment when you see the actual deliverables.

Many groceries are similar. Yes, the pictures look nice, but you know not to expect beautiful food when all they are selling is some nasty cooking oil.

Canned vegetables also require some preparation and other ingredients before they resemble the picture. At least, given the low expectations for pet food, there is not much disappointment there.

On the other hand, when you look at the Volusia County sales-tax promotion, you may not expect the level of disappointment they plan to deliver. You might call it a billion-dollar disappointment, that being the amount of stuff they cannot deliver.

The tax would bring in more than $40 million per year. Earlier, we figured your share of the Pave Florida 2019 bills moving through the state Legislature.

That was only about $60, and the Legislature agreed that you would happily root through the couch cushions and send the money in to Tallahassee.

Unfortunately, the county’s sales-tax increase will take a bit more. Take $40 million a year, divide it among a half-million people, and you need to come up with about $80 for every person in your house. Plan for this every year, for the next 20 years.

The county has a nice list of projects for your money. It is better than burgers, they say. In fact, it is almost as good as not issuing building permits for sprawl until the developers provide the roads.

It is almost, but not quite, as good as fast-food burgers. The smell of the burger starts to fade when you remember that the county keeps about half the money, or $20 million a year. The special sauces start to turn when you consider that, with bond interest, the county effectively only gets half that, or $10 million a year.

What gives it that “eau de dumpster,” however, is the intended use. The developers expect about $90 million of the tax money for 11th Street/LPGA improvements, so they can keep building Margaritaville and Mentos.

That means the first nine years’ tax goes just to subsidize sprawl-in-the-swamp in west Daytona Beach. Assuming no cost overruns, of course.

You can guess what the County Council is thinking — you can get pretty hungry over the next nine years, so when you get your scraps, they will seem tasty.

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.