This is a Paid Political Advertisement. Paid for and approved by Linda McKinney 6025 Keystone Ave. Port St. John, FL 32927. Independent of any group, organization or committee.
PSJ4T is always touting that we will pay just a little bit more in taxes. Oh? Anyone want to lay odds on that? Let's look at the TRUTH of the matter.
If you look at the State Statutes and the laws that are written regarding cities receiving matching revenue funds, the City of Port St. John would have enough taxes through MSTUs to equal the required 3 mils. On my TRUTH page, you will see in the teal color text the items written by UCF and PSJ4T from Addendum 1. On page 4 of the Addendum, you will see the words,
"As stated in the feasibility study, Section VI.7, p.27, and Section IV.10, p. 28, Port St. John intends to continue participation in the Fire and Rescue MSTU (2.2035 mils), and the self imposed [sic] Park and Recreation MSTU (0.8398 mils). The aggregate millage associated with the municipal millage rate of 2.2426 mils, Fire Control MSTU 2.2035 mils, and the self imposed [sic] Park and Recreation MSTU 0.8396 mils yields a total of 5.2859 mils."Do the math: 2.2035 + 0.8398 = 3.0433 mils without including the Road and Bridge MSTU and the Law Enforcement MSTU. IF you include all of our MSTUs, we have a grand total MSTU millage rate of 4.7836. We don't have to raise taxes 0.5 mils in order to receive matching funds. We are already in the matching funds arena with just our Parks and Rec MSTU and our Fire and Rescue MSTU. But, PSJ4T fools everyone by saying that they have to raise our taxes 0.5 mils in order to receive matching funds [Note: this link no longer works]. By adding the 0.5 mil, they bring our total up to a whopping 5.2836 mil for city taxes; and they make what becomes our City taxes increase by 10.4%. In other words, the 0.5 mils required [Note: this link no longer works] to receive matching revenue funds is an outright LIE!
No. Take a look at the links to different Brevard County Cities at the Brevard County Property Appraiser's web site. These links will show you that people who live in incorporated cities still pay Brevard County Taxes; they don't go away. Also notice that I have listed the current millage rates for the cities. Look those numbers over and realize that we will be paying 5.2836 mils according to PSJ4T. That's MORE than Cocoa, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Indialantic, West Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Malabar, Indian Harbour Beach and Palm Shores! ALL of these are established cities; some with their own police and fire protection, most with better services than are being promised the residents of PSJ. (Look for the name of the city, and the Proposed millage to the right.) Eye opening, isn't it?
NOTE: None of the below city links works due to the fact that they are six years old. For current millage rates, click on the Property Appraiser's Tax Facts Page link above and click on the individual cities' links.
Titusville City Millage Rate: Proposed 6.6286
Cocoa City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.0062
Melbourne City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.4545
Cocoa Beach City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.7100
Cape Canaveral City Millage Rate: Proposed 1.8748
Indialantic City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.5978
Palm Bay City Millage Rate: Proposed 7.5416
West Melbourne City Millage Rate: Proposed NONE
Melbourne Beach City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.0143
Malabar City Millage Rate: Proposed 1.6053
Satellite Beach City Millage Rate: Proposed 6.0013
Indian Harbour Beach City Millage Rate: Proposed 4.2670
Rockledge City Millage Rate: Proposed 5.4813
Palm Shores City Millage Rate: Proposed NONE
The MSTUs that we currently pay don't go away, either; they will still go to the County who collects them, then pays the lump sum to the City. That is, until the City decides to take over a service. If and when a City decides to take over a service (for instance, police protection), then the City has to have a way to collect those taxes; which means another City employee. Which is not in the budget.
No. If we incorporate, we will continue to pay certain County taxes, no matter how big we are, nor how long we are a City. According to the City Charter, we won't pay Fire Control MSTU, Law Enforcement MSTU, PSJ/Canaveral Groves Recreational MSTU and Road and Bridge District 1 MSTU. That's (existing as of October 27th) 2.2035 mils; 0.9805 mils; 0.8375 mils; and 0.7621 mils, respectively. Thus, the taxes you pay to the County, if we incorporate, will be 15.464 mils instead of the current 20.2476. But, add to that the City millage of at least 5.2836 and it's 2.46% more in taxes than if we don't incorporate.
According to the City Charter, the services we currently receive from the County will continue as they are, being billed through the City, instead of going directly to the County. But that's only for the first year. After the first year, according to law, the contract comes up for negotiation. The County can (and probably will -- no offense intended toward the County people) demand more money for the services rendered. By the way, the current Sheriff's Department coverage will continue AS IS for at least the first year (until October 2003), according to the City Charter, Florida Legislature page 24, lines 9-16:
"It is the intent of this section that the county shall provide and be compensated for the provisions of services to the City of Port St. John as budgeted for in the fiscal year 2002-2003 Brevard County Budget for the remainder of the budget year. The level of services to be provided will be consistent with the level upon which the fiscal year 2002-2003 expense budget was predicated and in accordance with adopted revenue."
PSJ4T promises a city tax rate of just over 3 mils (PSJ4T does NOT count the Fire MSTU, but you will still have to pay it) to enable the City of Port St. John to participate in revenue sharing. If you look at the TRUTH, the City will not be able to use the millage rate money used for servicing the County Contracts; they will be something called "Reserve Revenues." This means that they are "earmarked" for a certain item and must be spent on that item. Thus, the MSTU moneys are not true City moneys. It all goes to the County because it is earmarked for the contracts we will need to have with the County to provide the services they are already providing. And for this, we will have the privilege of paying at least 0.5 mils -- 2.46% -- MORE than we are currently paying?
Well, that depends. If the City takes over a service, say Fire Protection, they will first have to figure out how to do that. We would have to find a place to put the Fire Station, purchase the fire trucks, hire Fire Chiefs, hire Firefighters, train them, and tax the residents accordingly. Or, they can leave it in perpetuity with the County and be open to the demands of the County at every contract renegotiation. It's up to the City Council as to what gets done and how it gets done; it's not up to PSJ4T.
If history is any teacher, the lesson to learn is that taxes only go up. Yes, they can go down occassionally (especially during election years), but they find their way back up quickly and usually higher than they have ever been before. So consider that when you are voting, and consider how that will effect your children if they want to reside in PSJ to be near you. If you are going to see your grandchildren whenever you want, they may need to have a Mom and Dad who make enough money to pay for their future time with Grandma and/or Grandpa.
You will be effected by that as well. Look at the links above. All of these incorporated municipalities are still paying County taxes. If the County raises the County taxes, the residents in these incorporated areas still have to pay the higher taxes. Being a City does not protect you from that. And, Brevard County currently has a restriction against raising taxes over 3% each fiscal year, called CAPIT (see my Injunction page for more information on CAPIT). There is no such thing in the City Charter.
If the City is set up the way PSJ4T wants it to be, you could be impacted twice as much as if you were just a County resident. Consider: The City of Port St. John contracts with the County for Fire Protection. The County decides that the County needs to raise the cost of those services because a fire truck was burned up in a rescue. The cost must be shared. So, they up the price of the Fire Protection contract and the County decides to give matching funds out of another County budget area where that is allowed. So, you could be feeling the pinch twice. You could feel it because the City raises its tax rate for Fire Protection in order to cover the cost of the new contract with the County. And you could feel it when the County's taxes go up to cover the matching funds cost of the fire truck. You could get pinched twice when it comes to this sort of thing.
No. But if we become a city, we could face a similar situation.
Things pretty much stay the way they are. The County is on notice that there are other people besides PSJ4T out there willing to put their shoulders to the heavy burden and keep an eye on things in Brevard County. That is not to say that you'll get another group of people "claiming to represent the people of PSJ", but not being asked to do so. It does mean that there are people who are more interested in keeping PSJ as it is, and keeping our way of life as it is, and who won't make enemies of our neighbors as they claim to represent us, than we have had for the last six years or so. Several people have had a wake up call in this. Several people saw how dangerous it is to not pay attention. Although our lives are still busy, we all need to be aware of what is being said on behalf of the people of our great community. We all need to be aware that there are meetings we can attend, functions we can go to, and learning we need to do in order to be better citizens and to better watch out for our own interests and the interests of the UNINCORPORATED areas of Brevard County known as Port St. John, Frontenac, Hardeeville, Williams Point and Delespine. If you can't go to meetings, then at the very least, try to watch them on television, or visit the County Commissioners' web site and read the minutes from the meetings. This will help keep you informed. Let's learn from this and keep our eyes and ears open. Let's not let this thing -- nor anything like it -- sneak up on us again.