Note: This webpage was first put up back in the PSJ Incorporation battle days. Thus, not all links will still be able to send you to the page intended.
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.
It took long enough, but it is finally updated. Anything you see in teal is an update; a direct quote from the updated Feasibility Study that I received in the mail on Friday, October 4, 2002, from my contact in the DCA. Anything that does not have a teal quote with it was not refuted in the Addendum 1 to the Feasibility Study.
To get the amended City Charter (the Florida House amended it), click here. The amendments show up in different colors, so you will be able to see what was changed. You don't need any special program for this because I did not click on the .pdf (Adobe Acrobat Reader) link, but the same thing is available in that format by clicking here. I prefer the HTML format because the colors don't show up in the Adobe Acrobat Reader format and all you have is lines of different thicknesses under the words; makes it a little difficult to tell what is what. Print one for yourself and read it as a bed time story to educate yourself as to how the "CITY of PSJ" would work. I think you may wish to sleep with the lights on afterward.
DISCLAIMER: I have tried to get the most current, most accurate information I can get. This is the most current information I have received from the State agencies that are involved. This is not to say that there is not more current information out there; it is to say that this is what I have. If you want more information, or what you might consider better or more current information, please look it up for yourself. I can only tell you what I have. Please go out and look for yourself. This issue is too important to let someone else -- the Civic League, PSJ4T, or me -- do the work for you. As of today, October 4, 2002, you have just over a month. EDUCATE YOURSELF.
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.
You are seeking the truth about the incorporation of Port St. John, Frontenac, Hardeeville, Delespine and Williams Point into the City of Port St. John.
May I take a moment to point out to you that if Port St. John residents turn out at the polls on November 5th and the majority votes to incorporate, that we will be taking away the right of self-determination to these other small communities? Check out my Heritage page for more information.
First, you need to know that any state statute that I quote is available online at Florida Statutes;
and any Titusville ordinance I quote is available at
Titusville ordinances. (With Frames: for water and sewer, click on the left frame, on Chapter 21, Utilities; then on Article 1, In General; then on Section 21-1. Without Frames: do a search in the "Search" box for "water, annexation" and when the results come up, click on Section 21-1.) Any Brevard County Ordinance I quote is available at Brevard County Ordinances. All of these pages may or may not use Frames (depending on your computer preferences). If they do not use frames, you will be at the right County, State, City -- whatever -- to be able to do a search. Search for whatever the subject is you are looking up.
Second, you need to know that anything I quote from a person I have either in writing from "Happenings" the PSJ HOA newsletter, a Florida Today article, minutes of the Brevard County Commission meetings, or other printed, or internet resources. Or, I have some things on tape. If you would like to see my evidence, you are more than welcome to e-mail me here to set up an appointment time and place.
Third, I called the DCA (Department of Community Affairs in Tallahassee) and requested a
copy of the Feasibility Study and all of the comments and findings from the five reviewing
committees, departments, etc. Copies of them are now available for you to review at the Cocoa
Library in the Documents section on the second floor, and at Commissioner Scarborough’s office
in the County Government Center in Titusville on South Street. The documents include:
Memorandum from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research;
Memorandum to Andrew Grayson, Senior Attorney, House Committee on Local Government and Veteran’s Affairs;
Memorandum from the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs;
Memorandum from the Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations;
Memorandum from the Florida Department of Revenue;
and a copy of the Feasibility Study with more information than was available in the Studies being made available to the public. I will admit that you will find more information in those documents than you will find here: both good and bad. Go to the Cocoa Library (Second Floor, Documents Section) or Comm. Scarborough’s office and you may read the documents there or copy them there, but you may not remove them from the library. It is worth your while to make sure I am telling you the truth. I also called them again recently and got the updated version of the Feasibility Study. It is now available at the Cocoa Library and Truman Scarborough's Titusville office. The Feasibility Study was not changed much, so I only put the pages in that had actual changes on them (I think it was five or six). Then there was the Addendum 1, that had the things PSJ4T and UCF changed separately without going into the Feasibility Study pages. It has six pages as well. I put each changed, January, 2002, Feasibility Study page in the binder behind the original, October, 2001, page of the Feasibility Study so that you can compare the two. I put the Addendum 1 pages at the end of the Feasibility Study.
Fourth, you need to know that anything that is in brackets [...] is for clarification, or a comment within a quote. Also, anything that is quoted from the comments received from the State agencies, I left the quote as it was; if it had underlined words, they are underlined here; italicized words the same, etc. I tried to make the quotes easy for you to spot by putting larger quotation marks around them; if there are quotation marks within the bigger quotation marks, they were in the original quote. Quotation marks that start a paragraph but do not end a paragraph mean that the quote is still continuing in the next paragraph. When you see the quotation marks end a paragraph, that means the quote ends also. My comments are clearly marked. Also, any time you see [sic] or (sic) that means that the spelling I give you is the exact spelling -- even though incorrect -- that the person I am quoting used; it means just that, Spelling Is Correct: (sic).
Now to the truth you are seeking.
I am not a member of the PSJ Civic League. I am not a member of PSJ for Tomorrow. After not being a member for about seven years so that I could homeschool my sons, I just rejoined the PSJ HOA on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 in order to keep an eye on them. Other than that, I am not a member of any pro- nor anti-incorporation organization, group, or whatever. I am a person who believes in the truth and goes out and does the work to find the truth. I don’t trust other people to tell me the truth on issues this important: I do the work myself. You are encouraged to find out that I am telling you the truth by checking on everything I tell you. Go to the library or to Commissioner Scarborough’s office and read the Study analysis yourself. Go to the web sites and read the laws. If you have back issues of "Happenings," read them; but if you need to see the issues I have, you may e-mail me here and we’ll make an appointment to let you see them. I have the amended Feasibility Study pages that changed and the addendum to in the Cocoa Library and Comm. Scarborough's office also. So if you would like to see them, they are available to you.
Feasibility Study. Do you know what the word "Feasible" means? I can’t find a legal definition in the State Statutes, nor from the Law Library at Viera, so I turned to Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Portland House, New York, copyright 1989. "Feasible (adj.) 1. capable of being done, effected, or accomplished 2. suitable: a road feasible for travel 3. probable; likely." It has to do with the question, is it (1) capable of being done? Anything is capable of being done as long as it’s humanly possible. The answer the Feasibility Study gives to the question, "Can PSJ Incorporate?" is yes. It can be done. But that does not mean that it should, or would be affordable, or that it would be good for us. The author of the Feasibility Study, Professor David Laney, himself states in the Feasibility Study that we would start out in debt on page 33 (depending on which version you have) of the Study, "The City of Port St. John would begin its existence as an incorporated municipal [sic] with a deficit revenue stream". How much debt we would be in, I do not know, but I will give some indication of the possibilities later.
The Incorporation Feasibility Study has been a push of some members of Port St. John for Tomorrow (PSJ4T) since at least 1996. In the July 1996 "Happenings," on page 5 writing in the PSJ HOA report, Maureen Rupe writes, "As always, we have a lot more on these and other issues: the Incorporation Feasibility Study, Local Advisory Board, Planning and Zoning, Safety and Beautification Issues."
Mary Tees and Maureen Rupe, members of Port St. John for Tomorrow, have participated in scare tactics for a long time. "Happenings," July 1998, Mary Tees, commenting on Palm Bay’s sewer/water issues, writes: "That is the same situation we can find ourselves in with Titusville, an obscure Fla. statute that allows utility companies to extend their service five miles beyond their service areas." You can find Titusville City Ordinance, Section 21-1, Water, available at Water [No longer available], where you will read that Titusville’s own laws forbid them from providing services to anyone outside their city limits without someone first agreeing to be annexed. They agree to be annexed if it’s a large area, by majority vote; and if it’s an individual, they can sign a paper. But first, you have a say before Titusville provides services. That’s their law. But it didn’t keep PSJ4T from making the statement in "Happenings" in November 2000 on page 22, "Our biggest threat is being forced onto sewer by Titusville (who has the highest rates in the state) or Cocoa. A city can force sewer on areas up to five miles outside their city limits per Florida Statute 180, and a city can do this without annexation." As you can read for yourselves at the web site I gave you, Titusville’s laws prevent us from being "forced" onto their sewers.
If you go to State Statute Chapter 171, Municipal Annexation or Contraction, it will explain very well that we cannot be annexed without a vote. According to the definition of "enclave" in the Statute, we are too big to be considered an enclave (and our population is too big for that as well), and we would have a say. Check it out at Chapter 171.
This is the boring, but necessary, part. Florida Statute Chapter 163 covers County Government and Intergovernmental Relations. If you look at the portion that covers municipal overlays, 163.3217(a)1, it says, "This section applies only in those jurisdictions in which the county has authorized, by resolution or local ordinance, the development of a municipal overlay pursuant to the provisions of this section. A county governing body, or a citizens’ organization that represents property owners in the area affected, may sponsor the preparation of the municipal overlay." The Port St. John Homeowners Association, had a municipal overlay made for PSJ and the surrounding communities in 1994 (Maureen Rupe, PSJ Civic League meeting April 11, 2002 at the Parish Medical Facility Community Room at the front of PSJ), without the other communities having any say in the matter. This violated 163.3217(a)(1) which says -- paraphrased -- that once a county government has authorized a municipal overlay it can be sponsored by a citizens’ organization "that represents property owners in the area affected." The property owners in the affected areas of Delespine, Frontenac, Williams Point and Hardeeville did not get to represent themselves for the municipal overlay. They found out much later that they were part of it. The municipal overlay also violated 163.3217(3): "A municipal overlay must contain: (a) Boundary options for the creation of the new municipality. (b) A feasibility study as outlined in chapter 165 [not included or even performed until 2001]. (c) A map of existing and proposed land uses in the area by type and density [not included in the municipal overlay that I know of]. (d) Populations projections for the area [I don't know if this was done.] (e) Data and analysis relating to the provision of public facilities for the area [not included]."
The Feasibility Study has many flaws. All of the reviewing committees had bad things to say about PSJ’s Feasibility Study and Charter. I will not lie and say it was all bad, they did say that it met the requirements for this standard and that standard; but in this instance, as in most, it is the bad that will get you. So you need to be warned.
State of Florida Department of Community Affairs
To: Andrew Grayson, Senior Attorney, Florida House Committee on Local Government
and Veteran's Affairs
From: Maria Abadal Cahill, Policy Administrator
Subject: Proposed Incorporation - Port St. John, Brevard County
Date: December 11, 2002 [an obvious typo]
The last paragraph of this Memorandum states:
"The Port St. John area is subject of outstanding comprehensive plan amendment cases found not in compliance by the Department of Community Affairs. Brevard County Plan Amendment 94-2 that removed the Port St. John subdivision from the "Existing and Future Sewer Service Area" map was found not in compliance because this area was found to have "severe" limitations for septic tanks. Brevard County Plan Amendment 95-2 was also found not in compliance on similar issues. That amendment removed the Port St. John subdivision area from the sanitary sewer needs maps and tables and the "Existing and Future Sewer Service Areas" maps. These areas have soils with "severe" limitations for septic systems. The Sanitary Sewer Element of the County’s comprehensive plan identified this area as a high priority areas for the provision of central sewer facilities. These issues have not been resolved and will need to be addressed as part of the City’s comprehensive plan, should they decide to incorporate."
---- My comment: What will happen if we incorporate? We’ll be forced by the DCA to go onto sewers -- from Titusville or Cocoa, they don’t care, as long as PSJ gets sewers. UPDATE: In the amended Feasibility Study -- Addendum 1, page 1 -- The PSJ4T response to this finding from the DCA was one line (and I quote): "The need for this issue to be addressed as part of the City's comprehensive plan, should Port St. John decide to incorporate, is acknowledged." (unquote) How many times have they argued that this would not be an issue if we vote to incorporate? How many times has one of them written a letter to the editor of Florida Today arguing my assertions? And yet, in the Addendum, they acknowledge that it will have to be done!
The Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research
Edward Montanaro, Coordinator
To: Andrew S. Grayson
From: Ed Montanaro
Date: December 13, 2001
RE: Proposed incorporation of Port St. John
First paragraph reads:
"I have reviewed the required feasibility study for the proposed city of Port St. John. The proposed entity seems to meet the statutory requirements for incorporation as the study notes. However, notwithstanding the fact that the proposed entity seems to meet the minimal statutory requirements for incorporation, there are material shortcomings in the statutorily required feasibility study that should be addressed before the Legislature hears this matter. Section 165.041, Fla. Stat. [not a link], specifically requires a feasibility study and enumerates specific elements to be included. The instant report fails to address the requirement of subsections (b)1 and 9, an explanation of the major reasons for incorporation, and an analysis to support the conclusion that incorporation is necessary, and (b)10, an evaluation of the alternatives available to the area to address its policy concerns. The feasibility study is entirely silent on these matters."
"Note: Potentialities of this point have recently been provided increased credence. Recently there has been an application submitted ot Brevard County Planning and Zoning board asking for a Small scale Plan Amendment to change the Future Land Use designation for the South side of Port St. John Blvd., just east of the I-95 entrance/exit ramps, (refer to map 1). The application requests changing the present designation from Neighborhood Commercial to Community commercial for the purpose of constructing a 275 room hotel. This application, if approved and progressed to development, would forever change the longstanding residential atmosphere and quality of life presently enjoyed by the residents of Port St. John.
"Additionally, it sems reasonable to assume a facility of this nature would exceed the carrying capacity of septic tank service. Accordingly, the developer would seek access to municipal sewer, requiring either the City of Cocoa to extend service north from Camp Road, or the City of Titusville to extend service south from the intersection of Grissom Parkway and Kings highway [sic]. Either scenario would result in an incursion of municipal sewer service within the proposed municipal boundaries of Port St. John."
---- My Comment: According to a PSJ HOA flyer done to support the Feasibility Study in 1999, Cocoa already has sewer lines run along Grissom Parkway. They don't say how far they came, but they say the lines are there. IF Cocoa were intent on forcing us to hook-up to their sewer system, don't you think they would have done so by now?
The third paragraph of the same memorandum:
"First, as a general principal, explicit statutory mandates ought to be observed, especially by the Legislature. If the requirement is unreasonable, it ought to be amended rather than overlooked. Second, in this case the drafters of these provisions had good policy reasons for including them. (I can vouch for this personally as I worked for and with the people involved.) Specifically, the drafters were concerned about the proliferation of many small governments that were the product of local political schisms rather than any real need for additional government. They were likewise concerned that annexation of unincorporated areas into existing governments, an alternative that would almost certainly be more cost effective, would be set aside in order to avoid conflicts with major landowners or to further individual political ambitions. They also realized that there are alternatives short of annexation or incorporation that would not burden the area’s residents with additional governments and that these alternatives might become more obvious if the reasons for the proposed incorporation were explicitly and unabashedly stated. Such alternatives include contractual arrangements with other units of government or the private sector to provide additional services or the use of the MSTU mechanism to arrange for services in excess of those provided countywide. The drafters of the existing statute clearly did not favor the multiplication of government. The principal reason for adoption of the statute was, in fact, to prevent the creation of new municipal governments to the extent possible."
The fourth paragraph, page 2, of the same memorandum:
"Finally, in light of the fact that the creation of a new government seems to directly violate four of the five principles Speaker Feeney has established for proposed legislation--less government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, individual freedom--it seems especially appropriate to require anyone proposing a new government to explain, in detail, the reasons why a new government is necessary and why the obvious alternatives are not adequate under the circumstances."
---- My comment: Notice how many times the words "additional government" appear in this Office of Economic and Demographic Research memorandum? PSJ4T insists that a city government would not be another layer of government, but a substitute government. The people at the State level don’t seem to agree with PSJ4T about that. Also, ask yourself how many options PSJ4T has given the residents of PSJ and the surrounding communities. How many options have you heard?
Florida Department of Revenue
December 19, 2001
To: Andrew S. Grayson, Senior Attorney, House Committee on Local Government
and Veteran’s Affairs
From: Rick McClure, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Revenue
Tony Hamm, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Revenue
David Ansley, Revenue Program Administrator I, Department of Revenue
Subject: Proposed Incorporation of the City of Port St. John
All of Paragraph 1:
"The entitlement to immediate revenue sharing participation upon the date of incorporation poses a problem. It appears that such early participation conflicts with the definition of a "municipality" in 218.21(3), F.S. To be a "municipality" and thus be eligible for revenue sharing, a municipality "must have held an election for its legislative body pursuant to law and established such a legislative body, which meets pursuant to law." In this instance, Port St. John’s council election does not occur until 02/04/03 and the council does not hold its first meeting until 02/05/03."
All of Paragraph 2:
"Section 12(8) of the draft charter provides for participation in all state shared revenue programs, effective on the date of incorporation, 12/31/02. This date for beginning participation is problematic, since it requires the revenue sharing distributions for all counties and municipalities to be calculated for a partial period of thirty days (12/1/02-12/30/02) without Port St. John and not to be recalculated for a period of a single day (12/31/02) including Port St. John. It is recommended that the initial date for revenue sharing participation be the first day of a month occurring after the first meeting of the council."
"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.
"Section 218.23(1)(c) closes by stating, 'This paragraph requires only a minimum amount of revenue be raised from ad valorem tax, the occupational tax, and the utility tax. It does not require a minimum millage rate.' Subsequently it is submitted, Port St. John satisfies the statutory 3-mil minimum for eligibility to participate in revenue sharing. Comments submitted by the Legislative Committee On Intergovernmental Affairs, p.6, section '3)', paragraph 2, support this position."
----- My comment: Look at that first line in the teal amendment of this section, you won't like it: "The feasibility study for Port St. John does propose imposing a municipal millage rate of 2.2426 mils." I thought they said that the mil would only be raised 0.5 mil. Since when does the city propose to raise it to 2.2426 mil? But that's what it says, "does propose imposing a municipal millage rate of 2.2426 mils." What happened to their 0.5? Or are they counting this as something else? But a millage rate on what? Or should it be "for what"? They say it's a "municipal millage rate" so that means it will go to the city. But what happened to only raising our taxes by 0.5 mil? What isn't adding up here?
All of Paragraph 3:
"Section 12(8) of the draft charter also provides that the provisions of s. 218.23(1), F.S., are to be waived through the state fiscal year 2003-2004. Port St. John will not have completed a full local fiscal year by the end of the 2003-2004 state fiscal year, ending June 30, 2004. Thus, Port St. John could not possibly satisfy the revenue sharing criteria contained in s. 218.23(1), F.S., until the end of the 2004-2005 state fiscal year. Therefore, it is recommended that s. 12(8) of the draft charter be modified to state that the eligibility waiver extends through the 2004-2005 state fiscal year."
All of Paragraph 4:
"The feasibility study on p. 24 indicates that Port St. John intends to impose a municipal millage rate of 2.2426 mils. Section 218.23(1)(c), F.S., requires as a condition of revenue sharing eligibility, that a local government impose 3 mils of ad valorem tax or a 3-mil equivalent. The draft charter does not provide for the inclusion of any special district millage to satisfy the 3-mil requirement of s. 218.23(1)(c), F.S., as has been the case in charters of other recently proposed municipalities. Therefore, after the expiration of the general waiver of s. 218.23(1), F.S., discussed above, Port St. John will have to increase its municipal millage to 3 mil or greater or otherwise satisfy the 3-mil requirements of s. 218.(1)(c), F.S., to qualify for revenue sharing."
Same Memorandum, Different Heading:
Gas Tax Revenues
All of Paragraph 5 (ends on page 3):
"Section 12(9) of the draft charter states that Port St. John shall be entitled to receive local option gas tax revenues beginning 01/01/03. This start date conflicts with s.336.025(4)(b), F.S., which provides that newly incorporated municipalities will not receive fuel tax distributions until the beginning of the first full local fiscal year following the incorporation, which in the instance of Port St. John, would be 10/01/03. If the intent is for s. 12(9) of the draft charter to supercede s. 3336.025(4)(b), F.S., then the phrase, "notwithstanding the requirements of Section 336.025, Florida Statutes, to the contrary" should be inserted in the first sentence of s. 12(9) of the draft charter."
All of Paragraph 6:
"Section 336.025(b), F.S., requires that gas tax distributions to newly incorporated municipalities are to be in accord with the lane-mile formula. Section 12(9) of the draft charter states that the lane-mile formula is not to be used if an interlocal is executed prior to June 1, 2003. However, an interlocal agreement adopted prior to 06/01/03 cannot take effect until after 07/31/03 and the distributions prior to 07/31/03 must be in accord with the lane-mile formula. See subs. 336.025(4) & (5)(a), F.S."
UPDATE: "Section 336.025(4)(1), F.S., states, '...gas tax distributions to newly incorporated municipalities are to be in accord with the lane-mile formula, or,' Section 336.025(4)(b)(2) 'Determined by the local act incorporating the municipality.'
"Section 336.025(1)(b)(2) and Section 336.025(2)(a)(1) states in part; 'The county may, prior to levy of the tax, establish an inter-local agreement with one or more municipalities located therein, representing a majority of the population of the incorporated area within the county, a distribution formula for dividing the entire proceeds of the tax among county government and all eligible municipalities within the county.' This is the case in Brevard County with the county government receiving 47.14004266% of revenues from this source.
"Presently, incorporated municipalities participating with the inter-local agreement constitute 87% of the county's incorporated population. If Port St. John were to incorporate, the resultant incorporated population participating would be approximately 80% regardless of any participation by Port St. John.
"Accordingly, it appears the revenue share accrued by Port St. John would be in accordance with the calculations set for in table VII.2 of the feasibility study."
---- My comment: What this is basically saying, is that we get gas tax revenue figured a different way than the DOR memo expected. If this is controlled by the County, and from the looks of the share they get (47%+) it looks like it is, how often do we have to negotiate this contract and who do we have who will have the time and knowledge to enter into those negotiations? The City Manager will be busy writing grants to get us money, and trying to run a city to keep us afloat. The City Council will be made up of PSJ residents -- even forcibly incorporated ones. I know I trust my neighbors, but do they have the experience needed to do something like this? If not, what happens to PSJ, the City?
The Florida Legislature
Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations
To: Joan Highsmith-Smith, Staff Director, House Committee on Local Government and Veteran’s
Andrew S. Grayson, Senior Attorney, LGVA
From: Marsha Hosack, Executive Director
Chuck Hungerford, Senior Analyst
Carolyn Horwich, Senior Attorney
Re: Review of Port St. John Incorporation Feasibility Study and Proposed Municipal Charter
Date: December 14, 2001
Page 5, Item 6:
"The Study appears to meet [not a link] the requirement that it identify proposed services and the estimated costs for them (pages 18-21 and 26-28). It should be noted that the proposed City of Port St. John primarily relies on existing service providers to either continue providing services to the residents of the Port St. John area or to provide those services under contract to the City subsequent to incorporation. An exception to this includes withdrawing from the current Road and Bridge MSTU and purportedly having this function performed by Brevard County government. However, this item does not appear [not a link] in the proposed budget. In addition, it may be appropriate to include a letter of intent or a memorandum of understanding from current service providers and from proposed service providers (including Brevard County government and Brevard Sheriff’s Office) indicating intent to provide the specified services at the level indicated and for the amount proposed in the feasibility study. Also, a new municipality is required to generate a comprehensive plan within one year of incorporation. This issue does not appear to be addressed either in the budget or the feasibility study."
UPDATE: "Page 24-26 of the Port St. John Incorporation Feasibility Study addresses the revenues accrued as a result of withdrawing from the Road and Bridge MSTU (0.7621 mils). These are included as constituent millage to comprise the total proposed 2.2426 mil general fund municipal millage rate.
"Actual expenses associated with the performance of this function by Brevard County Government can not [sic] be projected at this time, since exact conditions of any contractual negotiations between the proposed city of Port St. John and county government can not [sic] be anticipated. A formal letter of intent between Brevard County and the Port St. John for Tomorrow Committee regarding continuity of service provision and intent to negotiate for future service delivery has now been submitted under separate cover letter by the Port St. John for Tomorrow committee."
---- My comment: So they take us out of the Road and Bridge District MSTU, and fix that by raising our millage rate for a city millage rate of 2.2426 mills. Wonderful. The Road and Bridge District MSTU was 0.7621 mills. We saved money there! (Not!) Here is a list of the taxes we pay through Brevard MSTU, etc. Read it and weep. Remember, we won't be losing all of these charges; some of them will continue because we will "contract" so many services through the County and others will appear that are not mentioned here. (I'd provide a hankie, but I can't reach you through the screen.) PSJ4T has been "negotiating with the county" for us to continue getting services from them. They apparently started that after this e-mail from the County Manager, Tom Jenkins to Comm. Scarborough went through. I guess they forgot that part in their haste to make this happen. Separate cover letter = didn't have it before. If they thought so much about our money and what to spend it on, shouldn't they have considered talking to the County before doing a City Charter? Remember: the City Charter went up to Tallahassee with the Feasibility Study and will become law if the four communities that will be forcibly incorporated are voted into that against their will November 5th.
Same Memorandum, page 5
"The Study does not meet [not a link] the requirement that it include the name and address of three persons submitting the proposal."
---- My comment: "‘We reluctantly put our names on the bills as the citizen sponsors, but we still have not said we are supporting incorporation,’ Ferraro said." This is a direct quote from a Florida Today article by Marilyn Meyers on April 23, 2002 No longer available. (20th paragraph), quoting Carmine Ferraro of PSJ4T. But it says in this memorandum that it didn’t have anyone’s name on it. UPDATE: The amended Feasibility Study does have the names and addresses of three sponsors:
4265 Quechua Rd.
Port St. John 32927
7185 Bright Ave.
Port St. John 32927
5115 Fay Blvd
Port St. John 32927
(Shock! Surprise!) However, I read the rules regarding the Feasibility Study and how to put it together and it clearly states that the signatures had to be included. Why were they not on the original submission?
Same memorandum, page 7
"4) Are the proposed revenues and expenditures contained in the Study consistent with revenues and expenditures of municipalities of similar size?
"This section of the analysis compares the revenue and expenditure estimates for the proposed municipality of Port St. John with 12 "similarly sized" municipalities in Florida. As presented in Table 1, all of the municipalities reported FY 1998-99 total expenditures significantly greater than those projected for Port St. John. The estimated expenditures projected for Port St. John ($1,001,870) is less than 8 percent of reported expenditures for the comparison municipality with the smallest reported expenditures, Rockledge ($13,717,055), less than 2 percent of the comparison municipality with the largest reported expenditures, Jacksonville Beach ($70,661,990), and approximately 3 percent of the "average" reported expenditures for the twelve comparison municipalities ($32,933,347). When the expenditures for MSTUs or other special districts providing municipal type services are included ($1,726,478), the Port St. John proposed expenditures becomes $2,728,348, or approximately 8 percent of the reported expenditures of the comparison municipalities."
"In addition, it should be noted that the fiscal data for the 12 municipalities reflect total reported revenues and expenditures for FY 1998-99, while fiscal estimates for Port St. John are those projected for FY 2002-03. It can be assumed that total expenditures and revenues for these 12 municipalities will have increased during the last four years, and as a result, the gap will have increased between their "average" reported expenditures and those projected for Port St. John. More detailed summaries of the FY 1998-99 revenue and expenditure data for the 12 municipalities are provided in Appendix B."
UPDATE: "The municipal structure and method of municipal service delivery proposed by the city of Port St. John is perhaps somewhat outside the paradigm of municipal constitution within the state of Florida. Rather than establishing autonomous municipal service delivery capabilities, to a large extent, Port St. John intends to utilize the service delivery of area municipal governmental structures. This approach prevents unnecessary duplication of area municipal service delivery capacity, and minimizes the inherent potential of burgeoning municipal budgets."---- My comment: HOGWASH! The PSJ4T budget and their proposed "method of municipal service delivery" is done so that the good people of PSJ will say, "Oh, we can afford that!" I will remind you again and again and again: THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT PSJ4T's BUDGET NOR THEIR IDEAS FOR SERVICE DELIVERY WILL STAND WITH AN ELECTED CITY COUNCIL!! IF THEY HAVE TO WORK THAT HARD TO GET IT TO LOOK AS GOOD AS IT DOES (and in my eyes, and the eyes of the reviewing committees, it isn't that good!), THEN THEY HAVE TO BE PULLING SOMETHING OVER YOUR EYES. DON'T FALL FOR IT!! THINK FOR YOURSELF. LOOK FOR YOURSELF. REALIZE FOR YOURSELF THAT THE CITY COUNCIL IS IN NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM OBLIGATED TO USE PSJ4T'S WAY OF DOING THINGS. PERIOD. PSJ4T IS PULLING A FAST ONE HERE. LOOK AT THE RESPONSE: "SOMEWHAT OUTSIDE THE PARADIGM OF MUNICIPAL CONSTITUTION WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. DOES THAT NOT TELL YOU THAT IT'S SO UNUSUAL THAT IT HAS PROBABLY NEVER BEFORE BEEN DONE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND THAT NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE IT WILL WORK? NOT TO MENTION GUARANTEE THAT IT WILL COST LESS? THINK!!
In my opinion, if PSJ4T’s proposed draft budget, Revenue of $3,925,735 and Expenses of $3,691,188 is right, we will have no services. We cannot afford them on the budget PSJ4T put together. Consider that their numbers say that we will have a tax increase of $19.50 per year (page 4, Port St. John Estimated Fiscal Budget-Draft Prepared by Amy Tidd, Submitted by Port St. John For Tomorrow -- April 25, 2002, and May 9, 2002). What will that get us compared to the numbers below?"Table 1
|"Municipality||2000 Population Estimate||Revenues||Expenditures|
|Port St. John||22,000||$02,950,456||$01,001,870|
|New Smyrna Beach||20,214||$57,225,938||$55,565,322|
|Royal Palm Beach||20,235||$18,689,767||$18,060,492|
|Fort Walton Beach||22,220||$22,860,056||$21,964,877|
---- My comment: PSJ4T has touted Palm Coast (June 13, 2002 PSJ4T meeting at the Port St. John Community Center: on tape). I downloaded Palm Coast’s budget from their web site (www.ci.palm-coast.fl.us go to Financial Reports), and their adopted budget for 2002 was $20,736,442. You can see by PSJ4T’s numbers and the numbers that the other cities actually use, that PSJ4T is very wrong. Considering the vast gulf between PSJ4T’s numbers and the numbers presented above, what would your taxes have to be in order to maintain the level of services and operate as a city after incorporation? Are you willing to pay that much? How much debt can a city accrue before it has to go bankrupt? If you will notice the chart above, Aventura and Naples are operating in debt: $6 million and $8 million in debt. Do you want this for your city? Will Port St. John incorporate only to go bankrupt in the first year? Look at the numbers. You decide. You may also wish to consider what I found at Lake Alfred, a Florida city with a population of 4,000 people and a budget of $5.6 million with a millage rate of "$7.058 for $1,000 of taxable property value." I am sure they contract a few services, considering their population and their millage rate. But if you look at their population (4,000) and consider our population (22,000), how can PSJ4T say that our city’s budget will be less than theirs?
Then in the same Florida Today article quoted above (April 23, 2002, by Marilyn Meyers):
"The estimates are being reworked now with the Florida League of Cities and a group of
retired city managers known as Range Riders, Ferraro said. His group plans to announce
the revenue figures at a public forum on April 25 and the budget expenses at a forum in May."
---- My comment: I called the Range Riders. I talked to Dick Simmons of Orlando who was the ONLY Range Rider who came over here and spoke to PSJ4T or anyone else about PSJ and incorporation. He said that he met with PSJ4T "in Amy Tidd’s living room" and they talked about incorporation, but that he "never saw the feasibility study, never laid my hands on it" and that looking at numbers isn’t something Range Riders do. He was there "to tell them how to sell the idea" of incorporating, and only that. I also spoke to Howard Tipton, a Range Rider, he was supposed to come over with Mr. Simmons, but his wife had passed away so he didn’t make the trip. And, he said, "that’s not the sort of thing we do." He also gave me the number of his daughter, Lynn Tipton, in Tallahassee, who was President of the Florida League of Cities. I called her and she said that the only thing they did for PSJ’s incorporation was to send them a list of cities that had recently incorporated and an example of something. The League of Cities did not look at the budget numbers. She referred me to the Rockledge representative of the Florida League of Cities, Nancy Glass, who said that no one there had looked at Port St. John numbers. See my response to Ms. Tidd's Threatening Letter to get more details about this.
Florida Today, June 9, 2002, article by Marilyn Meyers: "‘Titusville seems to have
aggressively annexed down (southward) since we’ve said we are going to incorporate,’
said Maureen Rupe, who lives on Bright Avenue in Port St. John."
----- My comment: "Happenings," July, 2001, page 32, PSJ4T wrote: "It is for these reasons, that it is the position of Port St. John For Tomorrow (PAC), that in an effort to move the Feasibility Study forward, we are in agreement with the City of Titusville’s request and Brevard County, District 1’s concurrence, to use Kings Highway as the Northern Boundary line for the purposes of the approved study, with a caveat stating that by agreeing to this new boundary line, it will in no way preclude us from meeting the minimum statutory requirements in order to be considered a city."
You may also wish to consider the meeting minutes of the (Brevard County Commissioners click on Brevard County Commissioners at the left, then click on Board Minutes; choose the appropriate year and then the appropriate date, or just click on the active links below). For example:
March 21, 2000: "Mary Tees, President of Port St. John for Tomorrow said one third of the residents in Port St. John live below $15,000 which is the national poverty level; and most of the citizens are retirees on fixed incomes."
Aug. 1, 2000: Mary Tees and Maureen Rupe speak before the Commissioners again, this time
on the issue of Sheriff’s Deputies and funding them with an increased millage rate.
Maureen Rupe stated "without law enforcement the laws are not worth the paper they are
---- My comment: The Port St. John for Tomorrow proposal for a city budget would cut our Sheriff’s Deputies down from nine to seven. I guess law enforcement isn’t that important after all.
Aug. 1, 2000: At first PSJ4T’s budget said it would be a $19.50 total tax increase
(PSJ4T Fiscal Budget-Draft, submitted May 9, 2002, page 4), then it rose to $25
(verbal, PSJ4T meeting). But, as Mary Tees asked (speaking about the Sheriff’s
Deputies’ funding), "who cares about a few pennies"?
---- My comment: Maybe the one-third of PSJ residents who are below the poverty level?
May 25, 1999: Mary Tees, "supported extending the four cents [tax]." Maureen Rupe, same date: "supported the tax."
Sep. 28, 1999: Mary Tees, "requested the Board not give someone a [tax] break," while Ms. Rupe, "recommended no tax abatement."
Oct. 12, 1999: Maureen Rupe, "recommended fines."
Aug. 28, 2001: Maureen Rupe informed the Board that she, "spoke to the Board last week on
the importance of an increase in impact fees" and "that not only does the County need
to increase fees..." Amy Tidd, also of Port St. John for Tomorrow, also spoke on this issue
on the same date, "stated she supports impact fees".
---- My comment: It seems to me that Port St. John for Tomorrow has double vision. A public vision at the Commissioners’ meetings of raising taxes and fees and making sure fines were given; all the while telling the residents of Port St. John that their taxes will go up only a little if we become a city.
This is the stuff that if you don’t know, it will hurt you. It will not only hurt you, but it will hurt what you can spend on your kids, your family vacations, how much money you have to spend at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy and for the family dog. This is the information that if you don’t know it; you will one day regret it.
Now you have the facts. Now you know the truth. Now you decide.The wording on the ballot is supposed to be something along the lines of: