Monday, June 13, 2011

Are Higher Taxes On The Horizon?

On June 9th our City Council held a special workshop to talk about the city's budget. It's usually in these special workshops where the precedent is set for very important decisions that affects our daily lives, and once again, another decision is about to made that I believe can hurt a lot of Palm Bay residents.

Concerned citizens showed up to hear the decisions of our elected public servants. One of them was the elected Chairman of the Constitutional Conservative Caucus, a local activist group dedicated to the principles of conservative limited government on the local and county level, Kieth Rigler, who noted some interesting details during the meeting.

One of those details was the admission of how the 2011's budget is already starting off with a $4,000,000 short-fall due to declining property values. No surprise there, since Brevard's three major cities have lost a combined 9.5% per quarter from 1st Quarter 2010 to 1st Quarter 2011. Most analysts believe the housing market has gotten worse and will only get a lot more worse before it gets any better. This brings us to 2012's budget short-fall which is estimated to be around $6,000,000 (i.e. $2,000,000 more than 2011).

But don't worry, they will fix it. Apparently there were talks of... wait for it... wait for it... You Guessed It: RAISING OUR TAX RATES! From 7.5 Mil to 9.5 Mil (which pretty much will make us the highest Mil in the county unless Satellite Beach beats us to the punch). And you thought government was all out of ideas. In fact, to add injury to insult, possible new fees are in the works. Among these fees will be a new Fire fee. To quote Keith:

"These are only estimates, but what would happen is they would reduce the avg. households mil by $50.00, what portion goes to fire from your mil, and then would add a FIRE FEE of $250.00 to $300.00 to your TAX bill. Who knows, the new FIRE UNION contract this Sep.(starts negotiations) could increase the FEE even higher."  

Perhaps this is what we want anyway, right? After all, Council Member Ken Greene said that everyone talking to him wants their taxes raised. (By the way, don't you love how he uses the straw men's argument. Who's everyone?).

There will be more budget workshops. These are the dates: 6/15, 6/23, 6/30, and 7/7. I believe it is very important that we start attending these meetings and make our voice heard, loud and clear.

Please call your City Council Member and let them know how you feel and be sure to let your neighbors know, as well.

Harry Santiago Jr.

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