Manager of Port Orange is ready to spend those increased property taxes …..


Ted Noftall
4:37 PM

to Bob, Dennis, don, Drew, Mayor
Hank and Pat,
Well there goes the News Journal editorial in today’s  edition telling us how much better off we are all going to be paying higher property taxes this year as a result of higher property values as divined by the property appraiser bandit in Deland.
AND MAKE no mistake the Manager of Port Orange is ready to spend those increased property taxes…..
His budget if he ever releases one is expected to include the  following turkeys.

  •    several hundred thousand dollars for pay raises for all City employees.
  •    several hundred thousand dollars  more to fund those obscene sick and vacation buybacks which run into the tens of thousands for average employees and topped $66,000 for the former manager and will be an expected  whopping $90,000 for the police chief.
  •  and finally another couple of hundred thousand to hire a brand new fire chief.

Each of these three items need to be non starters for a council concerned with Port Orange’s financial well being.  First of all some if not all  City employees earning in excess of $100,000 are overpaid relative to what they can command in the private sector as evidenced by  the current private sector earnings of the three department directors who left the City over the past year.
Sick and vacation buybacks in Port Orange are some of the most generous found anywhere which should not be a surprise to anyone considering the former manager benefited from them the most.  For the most part they do not exist in the private sector and they were never presented to taxpayers as the  golden parachutes they have become.
And finally if the manager wants to have both a fire chief and a police chief  he needs to explain why the director of public safety position is not working out,  AND then if he still wants a fire  chief and a police chief all he needs to do is stop calling  Bergman and Miller  “deputy” chiefs……unless of course they are not qualified to be chiefs in which case they are likely  not qualified to be deputy chiefs either.  The notion that government can keep on expanding its own bureaucracy ( always for a good reason)  with yet another  chief across these two departments needs to end.    It’s called living within your means……the public sector does it every day  and so should government.  Just because the manager wants something doesn’t mean he needs to be given it.
I was on the Manager search committee and I recommended Greg Kisela  largely because of his private sector experience.  He needs to hearken back to those roots to a far greater degree in my estimation.
The Port Orange Council made a principled decision to not fracture further an already fractured property tax exemption system by denying additional  exemptions to near destitute property owners in the City.   In making that courageous decision I believe they promised implicitly to provide lower, not higher taxes for all property owners.
To do so they need to clearly explain to the manager  that these three turkeys will not be flying in Port Orange any time soon .
Ted Noftall

From: Ted Noftall []
Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2013 4:55 PM
To: ‘Pat Nelan’
Subject: The Poroperty Appraiser Bandit is Back

So the  News Journal front page story  from 2 days advised     “Volusia county property Appraiser Morgan Gilreath hasn’t been accustomed to giving good news to local government”  AND in an inside story in yesterday’s  paper regarding Deland we are told “ The preliminary property numbers were a little bit disappointing, only up by 1.9 percent, and we were hoping for 2.5 percent “
So why do local governments like rising property values ???  Because they take in  greater property tax revenues without having to raise the millage rate is why.
So  who benefits from rising property values beyond  taxing authorities,  and those planning on selling their property.  Not you and I.   I was invested in residential and commercial real estate since before the huge run-up in values starting a decade ago and have rode those values back down over the past ½ dozen years.  For anyone that  did not acquire more real estate, or sell what they I owned  the run-up and run-down neither helped nor harmed ……. beyond the additional  property taxes we all paid.
Those in power in port Orange  sat quietly by and watched the tax coffers  they were going to have to spend grow by leaps and bounds.   AND were those additional taxes at least invested and spent wisely ??
Not unless you consider investments and developer subsidies like Eastport, Riverwalk, the Dock-To-Nowhere, the since closed RCC  and the  $ 20 million reclaimed water boon doggle  to have been  wise investments.  The fact is  un warranted property taxes,  lack of transparency and obfuscated budgeting practices have hosed Port Orange residents of upwards of $100 million dollars.
That may be about to change.
Having declined to implement the Amendment 11 special property tax break  that would have benefited only a small number of near destitute property owners,  Council has I believe  made the far more important  decision to reduce property taxes for all property owners.   Gone  is the Manager’s plan to reward his senior staff with an across the board pay raises    through an increased property tax that would have been masked by the property appraiser bandit in Deland.   At a minimum I believe that Port Orange will be rolling its millage rate back  to a rate such that home owners do not pay more this year simply because the partner in crime property appraiser is again telling us that our property values are increasing.
And it may even get better that that as the City ran a surplus last year equal to almost 30% of the property tax raised in the City.
Come on Council let’s give some property tax relief to the Prop 11ers AND to all other property owners in the City.
Ted Noftall


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