OPINION: When ‘Facts’ Are Not The Facts
By David Berkman // August 15, 2012
Residents & Friends,
I felt the need to clarify some unfortunate false statements in an email that was sent out yesterday by Lisa Frazier. For those who didn’t get it I am sure you will find her “facts” interesting and hopefully will benefit from the truth below. I will just touch on a few of the larger false statements; the full explanation of all the others can be found on my website www.DaveBerkman.com along with her original email.
• The statement “Raising taxes is THE ONLY option considered by the Town Council and Administration to sustain the cost of government.” is completely untrue. The Council over the past few years has explored numerous options and implemented many to keep costs down. These include multiple grants, fund raising events, paver sales, races, offset town events by gaining donations, reduced staff, no raises for several years, etc. The Town’s operating budget (general fund) has NOT increased in 5 years and Ad Valorem (tax) revenue has also remained the same for 5 yrs. More details on my web page.
• “We have less than one month in Reserves” is another misrepresentation. We have close to two months in reserves and not one penny of debt. Our Town’s independent accountant and advisor has told us we are in a very good position to be debt free in this economy and she is not worried about our status on reserves where we are.
• “We are paying some employees salaries much larger than Towns of comparable size and budget.” This is true in some instances. We have employees who have over 20 yrs with the town; they do make more than people who have been with us for less time.
• “The Town uses our tax dollars to fund charitable events.” Not true. We do not fund a single charitable event with tax dollars, not a single thing. We have as a council used our personal money to donate to things like St. Baldricks Foundation for Children’s Cancer research, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and several others out of our pockets in the name of Indialantic Council. We are all very proud of the work we do for charities and the ability to use our positions to help in that way.
• “We cannot afford Christmas lights along Fifth Avenue and are forced to PAN HANDLE.” Also not true. The council decided this year not to spend the $5000 on lights as we thought that would be inappropriate especially as we tell employees this is the second year of no raises, cut backs on safety equipment for police and fire, etc. We felt that spending that money was irresponsible. Instead a group of citizens and council members have taken up the cause to garner donations (including our personal money) to keep the tradition at no cost to the town. I am very happy to say it appears we will have lights this year. I also find it very insulting that these fine citizens are being labeled as “pan handlers.”
• “Council and Administration refuse to address the ongoing desire of the community to revive our commercial corridor.” Partially true. Lisa is referring to creating a CRA (Community Redevelopment Association) or special taxing district to build up and out 5th Ave. Various councils over many years (as she indicates) have looked at this and said definitely not the desire of residents or for the good of the town. Look at Satellite Beach and see the trouble they are in if you are not familiar with CRAs. This also happens to be the business the company Lisa works for is in (who also funded her last attempt to run for council). Coincidence?
• “The Witch Way 5K is a popular event which we consistently fund for $3000 per year.” Completely untrue. Not a single penny has been spent on this event with town/taxpayer money. This event is hosted every year by an awesome team of volunteers and has made a tremendous amount of money for the town. Visit our new boardwalk, the majority of that funding came from WW5K revenue and the remaining from paver sales.
I will address the rest of these “mistruths” on my website. As always, if you want to be removed from my mailing list just ask. I sent out 3-4 emails/year and don’t share your email address with anyone. If you got the email from Lisa you also can tell her to remove you if you like. Please pass this on to anyone that might be interested in the truth.
Before you speak…THINK!
T – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspiring?
N – is it Necessary?
K – is it Kind?