David Singer Guest Post: Expanding the Agenda
The Clock has offically started ticking.
Ever since South Dade Matters blog of November 18th regarding potential candidates for the Palmetto Bay November 2014 election, I have been inundated with inquires as too who I will support. In all honestly, I really hadn’t thought about it until last weekend.
There are five areas of concern which should be of uttermost importance to every Citizen of Palmetto Bay. Yes, I know the election is in November 2014, but, if the election was held today I would ask each candidate their stance on the following issues that I feel the Village is presently facing :
Area of Concern #1: The need to terminate Village Manager Ron Williams – Ron Williams is as responsible as Mayor Shelley Stanczyk for the difficulties occurring in Palmetto Bay. Williams is an obstructionist and a micromanager who refuses access to public records guaranteed by law to every citizen of Palmetto Bay. It is next to impossible for either residents or the council to get financial information from his finance department. He has ballooned the Village’s budgets and employee count over the past four years and is spending this Village into Real Estate Tax increases. Ron Willam’s has no prior job experience as a Municipal Manager and is still learning on the job. Unfortunately his grade so far is an F and Williams needs to be expelled. Any candidate who supports removing Williams gets my support.
Area of Concern #2: The Neighborhood Protection Ordinance. We need to roll back NPO requirements. The Citizens of Palmetto Bay voted for and passed the Neighborhood Protection Ordinance under false pretenses. Whether you agree or disagree with the NPO it’s restrictions should be followed by everyone subject to the law. This includes business, schools and, yes, the Village government itself. Except that the hypocrites at the Village seem to think that they should be exempt from the NPO. This was apparent on October 31 at Coral Reef Park when they broke their own Sound Ordinance. I can envision further Palmetto Bay and Village sponsored events at Coral Reef Park or Thalatta Park where this will reoccur over and over. This is the same sound Ordinance was sponsored by Joan Lindsey less than a year ago. It’s the typical mindset of “do what I say, not what I do.” If Palmetto Bay can’t follow the same requirements placed upon businesses and schools then the ordinance should be amended. Any candidate who supports amending the NPO to make it fair to businesses and schools gets my support.
Area of Concern #3: Village Spending Reduction. There needs to be a Hiring Freeze/Reduction of Expenses to maintain the fiscal health of the Village. While the incompetent Village Manager and math-challenged Village Finance Director are relying on the development of the Business District for economic growth, we can’t rely on a 10 year growth plan for our fiscal health and stability. Palmetto Bay’s continued budget deficits have the likelihood to result in increased Real Estate taxes. High profile complex development projects can take a dozen years from inception until the first shovel strikes dirt. To fiscally overextend our Village and spend us into the dirt relying on uncertain revenue projection from the Downtown District is unwise and foolish. The time to put the brakes on spending is now. Any candidate who supports freezing Village hiring and reducing Village expenditures gets my support.
Area of Concern #4: Operating Losses at the Parks. There needs to be accountability for Operating Losses associated with Coral Reef Tennis Courts and Thalatta Park. Does anyone really know how much the Tennis Courts or Thalatta Park lose every year? I’ve looked at the financials for the past four years and I couldn’t tell you whether the tennis courts were losing $100,000 or a $1,000,000. The Village has already spent a Million Dollar on a hot dog stand which is sitting at Coral Reef Park. So that’s a big loss right there, but why is it so hard to be able to evaluate the rest of the programs the residents are paying taxes for? I’m a CPA and I can’t make my way through the obfuscated numbers. At one time the Village actually made money (though that should not necessarily be a requirement) with the tennis courts at Coral Reef Park, but not anymore. There needs to be a proper accounting and transparent financials for all programs and entities the Village runs to be able to evaluate their viability. Any candidate who supports parks and programs accountability and financial transparency of parks and programs gets my support.
Area of Concern #5: Business District Planning. There is a need for a Measured and Compressive Analysis of funding for the Business District of Palmetto Bay. I’m all for the redevelopment of the area located next to and across from Village Hall. I think that area is blight on the Village and redevelopment is sorely needed. At the same time, I am a fiscal conservative and don’t agree with wasting taxpayer’s dollars. The professionals involved at planning the redevelopment district have done a good job, but I think before one cent is spent a firm should be hired for analysis with an ability to measure the results we anticipate achieving. This is not the Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams where we risk spending millions of dollars with a prayer that “if you build it they will come.” Any candidate who supports a Measured and Compressive Analysis of funding for the Business District gets my support.
No one should be elected to the council based on their ability to glad hand or kiss babies. It has been observed over the past four years those qualities don’t make good Village leaders. Who am I going to support? Definitely not Shelly Stanczyk or Joan Lindsay – they have done more damage to this Village than seems possible. I will support candidates based on the issues outlined above for the long term well-being of the Village. I have no political allegiances and make no bargains. Nor do I offer support based on relationships. Anyone who has called me for support has gotten the same answer – support is issue-based and I reserve the right to blast anyone for bad policy. I suggest voters do the same.