Preliminary budget workshops for 2019 proved once again that one of the fastest growing counties in the country can’t grow its way out of its economic woes.
As a resident of one of the lowest taxed counties in the state, it concerns me to constantly hear about having to do without services just because the county doesn’t have the necessary funding. These services include the essential ones that the county is required to provide for our public safety, health and welfare. We should all be very concerned that our fire rescue, public works and pavement management departments are all stretched too thin. Capital infrastructure needs and deferred maintenance both have reached critical mass. Deferment means it will cost us much more to replace rather than repair. Adjusted impact fees will be effective July 2, 2018. At the same time, there is now talk of charging usage fees for library services, parks and recreation, beach parking and boat ramps.
Our county administrator and staff could not run a tighter ship. They have managed St. Johns County through a major recession, two damaging hurricanes and state-initiated tax reform and they have done so on relatively flat budgets.
We have the ability to create a new 34-million-dollar revenue source. It would involve the millions of tourists that visit our county annually and use all of our services and roadways. However, we also have three commissioners who don’t want to raise any taxes (fees maybe). Why won’t they let the citizens decide if they want a 1-cent sales tax increase? It is our money and our quality of life.
Tell Commissioners Johns, Smith and Waldron…
We NEED beach nourishment; we MUST have funding.
We NEED a guard at all schools; we MUST have funding.
We NEED sidewalks and parks; we MUST have funding.
This is an election year; educate yourself on the candidates. Get involved with your local community groups. Make sure you vote!