Category: Editorial

For the Record Vero Beach City Council

August 5, 2022

Editor’s Note: This article is by a Volunteer Writer and does not reflect the views of Indian River News and or its’ Owner.

Mayor and City Council:

Most government meetings offer public comment time when typically you address your comments to the members at the dais or the chairman and you’re done. Not so with the city council…at times it becomes a debate and last time it became an opportunity for the mayor to criticize and distort my comments. If I had said something not factual, a simple correction could be put on the record, but that is not what happened because I spoke the truth and I spoke it to all of you. All of you voted on the issues I raised; all of you are responsible for increasing taxes and spending tax dollars. I said nothing about politics.

To be clear, I am not anyone’s campaign chairman and I’m also not dumb! Let’s take a look at what has transpired vis a vis the donation/gift/handout/partnership contribution from the city to the school board/education foundation/Sports Complex. One of the reasons there’s so much confusion is that the introduction of the project and the first vote on a ONE MILLION DOLLAR ‘thing’ was so premature you didn’t even know the name of the entity to send it to!

The project hadn’t been announced to the public, there was no mention of it at a school board meeting that I know of. It appears that although the planning consultant had worked for months and spoken to people all around the county, they hadn’t spoken to the people living around the property (your constituents.) Maybe that would have come later and in good time.

After hearing about the project through the Dog and Pony show at the March council meeting, I called Ms. Emerson. She said the campaign wasn’t up and running yet, they had an approximate budget and weren’t sure how much they’d need going forward for security and maintenance. But despite that, an unannounced vote was taken of the council members after they all swooned over the project, and they all fell in line – YES! Give them ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

You want to talk political? Could it be that the timing had anything to do with the primary election cycle and the deep pocket snowbirds getting ready to leave town? Could it be that someone needs an ‘education’ feather in their cap and more friends on the school board and foundation?

But the fast pace didn’t fool the crowd and when questions were asked, someone had to back track…more presentations at country clubs, the dog and pony show at the high school and another show at the meeting this week. And another unanimous vote in June which wasn’t even listed specifically on the agenda to give ONE MILLION DOLLARS to the school board. Oh, right, that was just housekeeping…the check’s not been cut yet. I didn’t watch the entire meeting on Tuesday, did you vote for it again?

Tuesday, what I did focus on was the nebulous stormwater plan and tax. For starters, why increase taxes at all and why devise a system that’s not fair and equal to all homeowners and businesses? If the Lagoon is so important, why give ONE MILLION DOLLARS to the school district/foundation now and raid Covid money for stormwater abatement? As Larry Reisman said on July 22, “What I read back then (in 2015) reminded me of the old politician saying, “Don’t worry; you’ll know what’s in the bill after we pass it. It’s no way to run a government.” And it still isn’t!

Speaking of taxes – county taxpayers also fund an extensive Mosquito Control Board which cautions everyone that standing water on their properties can be mosquito breeding grounds. Talk about politics…the IRNA said in their fawning Letter to the Editor today, “We have always wanted the stormwater utility to have an incentive component for property owners to retain more stormwater on their own premises.” Foolish regulations and taxes are more costly than you think…like charging for impervious land on a property and then expanding the boat storage facility impervious space on the banks of the lagoon!

I would suggest rather than disparaging me for an excuse, you all look to your record and the obvious facts and stop playing politics.

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