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First 2017 Budget Hearing on June 14 at 6pm
June 12, 2016

In an unrelenting desire for ever more taxpayer money, the county Administrator has proposed a $57M tax increase for the next fiscal year, which will be in addition to about $75M per year that the county will get from the sales tax if approved by the voters. This is just greedy. The first budget workshop... 

Sales Tax Increase – Are the intended uses lawful?
April 9, 2016

As you probably know, the County Commission voted 5-2 to proceed with a 1% sales tax referendum for the November election. Ballot language is expected to be voted on at an upcoming meeting. Under the terms of the proposal, the $270M annual proceeds are distributed as follows: 48.0% $130M School District 27.5% $74M County 18.5% $50M Municipalities ... 

Sales Tax Referendum Gathering Steam
March 20, 2016

The county commission will vote Tuesday whether to ask the voters to raise the county sales tax from 6% to 7%. (Agenda Item 5B1) After aborted attempts in 2012 and 2014, when a majority of the board thought the proposal was “half baked” and the need not urgent enough to convince the voters... 

Sales Tax Proposal Sent Back for More Info
February 10, 2016

During a long meeting that stretched from before lunch until 5pm, the Board of County Commissioners yesterday deferred action on staff’s sales tax proposal, sending it back for more information. Commissioners Valeche, Burdick and Abrams all wanted to see things slow down while the proposal is... 

Increasing Sales Taxes a Bad Idea
February 2, 2016

A little shy of two years ago, the County Commission voted 4-3 to reject a staff proposal for a ballot initiative for a half penny sales tax increase. This was the third sales tax attempt since 2012, and we are about to see the fourth attempt unveiled at the February 9th BCC meeting (Items 5D2, 5D3). County... 

Final Hearing on FY2016 Budget, 9/21
September 16, 2015

Next Monday, the Commission will take their final vote to set the county-wide millage rate at 4.7815, unchanged since 2012. Out of the $63M tax increase, the $775K that they did not commit to new spending will be rolled into reserves, ready for use to increase the BDB subsidy and other priorities that... 

$725M County Budget Proposal Largest in History
June 7, 2015

The county budget proposal, to be discussed in the first budget workshop on Tuesday, June 9 at 6pm, proposes flat millage at 4.7815 producing $57.5M in new taxes on rising valuations. With property values having returned to 89% of the peak seen in 2007, this budget is actually $36M higher than the record... 

Let’s Be Honest about the “Biotech Cluster”
April 8, 2015

Yesterday, the Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to void their interest in the deed restriction that would have prevented “Project Diamond”, the UTC techonology showcase proposed within the “biotech campus” on the Briger tract. The other government players –... 

On Oversight, Checks and Balances, and the County Budget
September 19, 2014

Our system of government imposes an arrangement of checks and balances, so no person or group can acquire unchecked power. When it comes to the county budget, Florida statutes clearly designate the legislative body – the county commission, to have the authority and responsibility to set priorities... 

Maximum Millage Adopted
July 23, 2014

Yesterday, the County Commission set the county-wide maximum millage at 4.7815, unchanged in four years. Reduced payments on county debt have very slightly reduced another line item called the “voted debt” millage, and they are trying to claim a slight reduction by combining the two rates,...