The Stanczyk Tax Increase Plan In Her Own Words
Have you heard the latest brilliant idea from your tax and spend village mayor? After confessing that since she took office that the cost of police services in the village rose from $4.6 million to today’s budget of about $7.2 million (a stunning revelation in and of itself), Mayor Shelley Stanczyk proposed for the second time creating a separate millage rate just for police services. See budget meeting at 44:00 through 46:00.
Stanczyk initially stated that her preferred rate would be “0.1.” She went on to explain that Palmetto Bay’s ad valorem taxes do not yield enough revenue to cover the current police budget, yet another startling revelation from a Mayor who is pinning her re-election chances partly on her stewardship of the village budget.
Before we analyze the idea, let’s read the Mayor’s own words:
While at this point, when I was first elected, we paid $4.6 million on police, police continues to increase just as salaries increase, contracts change to allow for increased services, increased benefits, increased insurance…those are carry backs. Those are things that carry back to us because we pay a cost plus contract.So each year if the cost of an individual officer increases, even though we are under contract, we are going to bear some increase in cost.
And I think, in discussions with the manager, we’ve talked about the fact that in the future we may want to set a millage that’s separate – separate out and carve out our millage – to allow for adequate police services.
So that millage that’s connected directly and only to police, for instance, if it raised point-zero-one, it would only go to police. So that you have – while no one wants to raise taxes, no one wants to do that, but the priority in this village has been safety and security. And that’s a tool that you can use to provide for the continuing safety that we feel that a correct number of officers – our officers do a great job we want to continue to have that excellent service.
Aside from the rambling, would creating a separate millage rate for police – as the mayor outlined the proposal – work?
Let’s start with the Mayor’s proposed rate. Understand that that Palmetto Bay’s current millage rate (property tax) is 2.447 and it is projected to yield about $5.7 million next year. And, the Mayor is right that the property tax isn’t sufficient to pay the projected police budget of $7.2 million.
So how would a separate millage rate of – let’s be generous and help the Mayor out – of say 1.0 (1 mill) pay for the police department? Well, of course it wouldn’t. Mrs. Stanczyk’s tax increase would would be new money on top of the existing police budget. The fact is that the police budget is starting to crowd out other priorities in this village, which was predictable when the council started adding officers even though the police chief didn’t ask for them and the manger said we didn’t need them.
SDM Says: It’s obvious that Mayor Stanczyk knows of no other way to manage a budget unless her options are either to raid reserves or to raise taxes. She won’t consider economizing or taking a serious look at whether we are getting our money’s worth from the Miami-Dade County contract. More police does not equate to less crime or more security and this mayor just doesn’t get it.
Fire Station Fail
If Mrs. Stanczyk’s insistence on a tax increase doesn’t get you to look at one of her challengers, then surely the cluster-fire she’s created on locating a north-end fire station ought to do it.
SDM News Flash: One little factoid really caught SDM’s attention during Mayor Stanczyk’s smarmy lecture on the history of the fire station. Did you know that Palmetto Bay hired a lobbyist for $50,000 to secure a few acres of the USDA property at the corner of SW 136th Street and SW 67th Avenue? Stanczyk noted that the effort failed. Are we adding this number to the cost of the fire station fiasco? Inquiring minds would like to learn more about this little nugget.
SDM has opined in the past that we need a northern fire station. We also have no problem with the so-called “Farmer Road” site.
Aside to Candidate Dave Zisman: You almost had us fooled. You’ve been doing your door-to-door thing and sounding reasonable. You even came out in favor of the Farmer Road site, which is near your home, the last time it appeared on a council agenda. Then, you got some political religion, right? You decided that this issue was just too ripe not to pick from the political tree of chaos. Now, you’ve decided to flip your position and oppose the site near your house because of your objections to the site plan. We see through you, Dave, and your flip-flop bodes ill for a council seat. Beware all you Palmetto Bay voters – this guy can’t change his stripes permanently.
We also have no problem with a site across the street from the Farmer Road site, which apparently is also under contract by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Here’s our problem: This village doesn’t need another war between groups of property owners. The fire department ought to pick a location and take it to the council one time. This plan where two sites are put in play for negotiation reasons is a recipe for antagonism and unnecessary bad feelings.
SDM Says: The Mayor, as soon as she heard about this new location going under contract, should have deferred the Farmer Road decision. She should have called a meeting with her staff and the County Mayor and pushed them to make one choice. It’s tough to locate these kind of facilities. We don’t need an incompetent mayor muddling the process even more.