Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's Up With The Tax???

My question to all of you is what is truly going on here.  Why are the Commissioners in such a hurry to enact this utility tax?  You have indicated that, if approved, it will not take affect until October 2011.  So, what is the rush?  When Mr. Hanson/Mr. Dunkley brought this before the Dias last August, it was advised then that your office look into this matter further.  Yet, no report or financial impact statement was created (referenced from the City's response of my Prr dated May 3, 2011 requesting said document(s)).  This is odd since Mayor Noland, Commissioner Ganz, and former-Commissioner Poitier asked the staff to send the Utility Tax back for further review and research and yet all the staff came back with this year was the same rhetoric and information that they provided at the August City Commission Meeting.  So either, City Management and certain staff are incompetent because they actually did not research the full impact of this utility tax or they are very intelligent and know that to tell the whole truth about the impact of this tax would make everyone a bit leery of it.  

Does anyone remember the tom-foolery that went on last year at the September 21, 2010  CC Meeting about the millage rate, when the City Management and staff tried to convince us that the City was not increasing the tax, yet, after all was said and done they had to admit that what they proposed was an increase.   These same two individuals Burgess Hanson and Hugh Dunkley attempted to befuddle the situation then by giving presentations on the millage rate whose aim was to confuse the public, but thanks to a few people in the community the truth was brought to light.

So, here we are again and this does not sit well with me, as Mr. Hanson is always saying that his "job is to provide the Commission with as detailed information as possible" (Dec 13, 2010 CC Meeting for example) and yet on this utility tax all the staff has seemingly come up with is the fact(s) that Deerfield is the only Municipality of its size not to have one, the Charter cannot limit the City's ability to levy taxes, we need "widen the nets"  on tax revenue and not depend so heavily on the ad valoreum tax, and that the utility tax would in effect provide equity to the tax paying public because everyone will be hit with the tax.  These are the same points brought up last year and so I personally don't see where the further research which was requested by the Commission was done before this Utility tax was thrust back upon the Dias for a rushed vote.  

I can state a couple reasons I believe the rush is on, but as I and others have previously stated to the Commissioners, City Management, and staff "This is wrong" and un-American as it is an affront to the democratic process since over 10,000 of the City's residents are currently without a duly elected representative and this utility tax ordinance and many others that affect the entire City would be "taxation and legislation without representation" and since at many workshops, meetings, and public hearings the actual public is not allowed to voice their opinions on agenda items up for discussion those 10,000 plus individuals are not virtually or physically represented by the City's Government and I believe cause can be brought up to void all ordinances, resolutions, and amendments that were/are enacted while a good portion of the City is without representation.  

Now, if the public was actually allowed to speak on all issues brought up at the Dias then cause is weakened.  But the City seems to not be in any hurry to lift this imposition placed on its residents by not allowing them to affectively participate in their government and the fact remains that these rules actually discourage, not encourage public participation in government.  In the light of this City's recent scandals concerning elected officials, it would seem prudent (at least to me) that our government would open itself up to the public to avoid any future issues of perceived improprieties and would foster and encourage, rather than discourage, community involvement.

So, again I ask what is really going on?

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