Friday, June 24, 2011
LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!!!
"LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!!!"
Why not? After all, who would ever be opposed to the democratic process of allowing the people to decide how much money they want to spend on government? I know... crazy idea, right?
Especially when you know 3 out of 5 of your City Council Members want to raise your millage to what would be the highest in Brevard County at 9.875 per $1,000 of assessed value (dangerously close to the State allowable cap of 10 per $1,000). But that's not all, how about a possible $300 annual Fire Fee on top of your tax bill. Sounds unbelievable? Here is the audio below, it's about an hour and forty seven minutes, but considering that Council is about to suck you dry, you should really hear what they have to say:
William Capote, Michelle Paccione, and Ken Greene are about to pull magical rabbits out of their hats. They will attempt the unthinkable: to persuade the majority of Palm Bay residents that it is good to raise taxes and add fees in the midst of what most economic analysts are calling a depression. These three Council Members are about to commit a grave error that will economically crush our municipality and make Palm Bay a ghost town in a matter of a year or two if they decide to go along with this glorified theft.
One concerned citizen, Tres Holton, who you hear toward the end of the audio said that adding a fee even if the tax rates were dropped will cause many median priced homes to see an increasing impact more quickly than higher priced homes.
Here is what Tres means:
Let's say you have a house worth $120,000 in today's market. At 7.5 Millage you are paying $900 for your annual tax bill. Now, let's say your house losses 25% of it's value the following year and is assessed at $90,000. At a lower rate of 7.0 Millage you are paying $630 for your annual tax bill. That's $270 less than last year's bill (It's amazing how a half a millage can save you hundreds of dollars - I digress). It's called a wash or a roll-back. But now add a $300 Fire Fee and you pay $930 or $30 MORE than what you've paid last year. So here is how it looks:
$120,000 X .0075 = $900 + $0 Fire Fee = $900
Next Year (assuming 25% Loss in Value):
$90,000 X .0070 = $630 + $300 Fire Fee = $930
Now, let's change it up a bit and say you own a $375,000 home in today's market. At 7.5 Millage you are paying $2,812.50 for your annual tax bill. Now, let's say your house also losses 25% of it's value the following year and is assessed at $281,250. At the lower 7.0 Millage you are paying $1,968.75 for your annual tax bill. That's $843.75 less than last year's bill. Now add a $300 Fire Fee and you still pay a much lower $2,268.75 or $543.75 LESS than what you've paid last year. So here is how it looks, again:
$375,000 X .0075 = $2,812.50 + $0 Fire Fee = $2,812.50
Next Year (assuming 25% Loss in Value):
$281,250 X .0070 = $1,968.75 + $300 Fire Fee = $2,268.75
Here is a good question: How many $375,000 homes are in Palm Bay? My latest MLS search revealed "0" for the past year from the date of this blog; that is "None" or "Nada" (that's Spanish for nothing). In fact, within a year of the date of this blog, Palm Bay residential homes' median sell price is $68,900 (Brevard County's Median Home Price is $99,475) and just last year alone Palm Bay local real estate market lost over 10% of its value and will see another double digit dip this year as well, according to most real estate analysts.
So if Palm Bay homes are under the median home price for the County, and according to the example provided above we would still pay a higher tax bill even if the millage rate were lower and the fee added; how much more will we pay if the millage rate went up and a Fire Fee were added? What would it do to home values? What would it do to businesses? What would it do to jobs in the private sector? How many more families just scraping by and living paycheck to paycheck will lose their homes?
We are faced with food and energy inflation, devaluing dollar, mounting debt, skyrocketing foreclosure rates, unemployment rates in the 20th percentile by most analysts' real estimates, and declining wages; and now you can add an increase to your tax bill.
Mayor John Mazziotti and Council Member Kristine Isnardi suggested that the Fire Fee go to a vote by the people in a special election. For obvious reasons, the other three aforementioned above voted down that great democratic idea.
I say... LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!!!
Harry Santiago Jr.