Government and Politics
September 25, 2017
On September 19th, the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners tentatively voted to raise property taxes by a 4-1 vote. I adamantly dissented. Readers of Florida Today may have observed an official Notice of Proposed Tax Increase published on Friday. Unless the citizens of Brevard County convincethe Board otherwise, we are on a clear path to once again raise taxes at thefinal budget hearing scheduled for Tuesday, September 26th at 5:30p.m. in the Viera Government Center Boardroom. I urge readers to make their voices heard, either by contacting their Commissioner directly, or by attending this hearing.
For months, the Board held workshops to discuss the County’sbudget. During this period, my office worked to identify areas where the County could either reduce spending or, atminimum, prevent increased spending within specific departments. While the Board did agree with a few of theseproposals, it largely stayed on the path of enlarging government and increasingspending. We have now reached the inevitableresult of this out-of-control spending – raising your taxes to pay for it.
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, the millage planthat the Board tentatively approved on September 19th is a tax increase. The formula which the State agencyuses is designed to prevent politicians from keeping citizens in the dark whenthey raise taxes. Still, you can expectsome Commissioners to try to explain away this tax increase. After all, last year the Board voted to breakthe voter-imposed Charter Cap, which is designed to prevent increases in spendingmore than the Consumer-Price-Index. Theyear before that, the Board voted to raise taxes, just like they are doing now. Each time, Commissioners did what politiciansalways seem to do and tried to worm their way out of their responsibilities.The bottom-line is that more than 25% of Brevard County homeowners will seetheir tax bills increase this year, and all property taxes will be higher thanthey should be. Brevard County Citizenshave heard all the excuses before, and are smart enough to know what a taxincrease is.
I humbly ask Brevard County citizens to get involved anddemand that their elected officials at the County Commission keep theirpromises. If the Board votes to givefinal approval to the current plan, the tax increase will take effect beginning October 1st. Time is runningout, but there is still one more chance to convince Commissioners to make the“tough choices” and become good stewards of your hard-earned money.