Rep. Randy Fine Wants Brevard Commission To Allocate $14.5M Tourist Tax To Repair, Modernize Sewage System
By Space Coast Daily // October 24, 2017
says $14.5M earmarked for 'pork barrel' projects
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Florida State Representative Randy Fine (R-South Brevard County), the Chairman of the Brevard County Legislative Delegation, called on the Brevard County Commission to reconsider and reverse its recent decision to spend $14.5 million dollars on “pork barrel” projects in the aftermath of the county dumping 20 million gallons of raw sewage into the Indian River Lagoon.
“At the same time they were releasing raw sewage into the Indian River Lagoon, the County Commission decided to spend $14.5 million tax dollars on pork barrel projects,” said Fine.
“Instead of repairing and modernizing its sewage system, they decided to spend taxpayer money to make it easier for kayakers to paddle through the sewage. It defies logic; it defies explanation. This dereliction of duty raises questions about whether our County Commission is fit to oversee the County, or whether more aggressive steps need to be taken to ensure our citizens are served.”
During a Brevard County Commission meeting on October 11, commissioners voted 4-1 to spend $14.5 million tax dollars on the following projects:
• $7 million for an “indoor multiuse sports arena and hotel project” in Titusville.
• $5 million for upgrades to the Viera Regional Park’s soccer and lacrosse fields.
• $1.7 million to expand a campground at Palm Bay Regional Park
• $500,000 for a “Keepers Cottage Museum” at the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, and
• $200,000 to upgrade a pier area in Indian Harbour Beach near where the 20 million gallons of sewage were deposited.
“When I got into politics, I knew that the politicians thought differently than those of us that live in the real world,” said Fine.
“But you have to question the sanity of people who thought spending money on a pier next to a raw sewage dump was a better idea than actually fixing the raw sewage dump!”
Fine said that using that $14.5 million on projects that will help save the Indian River Lagoon is clearly authorized by law.
Fine pointed out that, according to Florida Statute, the following is an approved use of Tourist Development Taxes:
To finance… beach park facilities or beach improvement, maintenance, renourishment, restoration, and erosion control, including shoreline protection, enhancement, cleanup, or restoration of inland lakes and rivers to which there is public access as those uses relate to the physical preservation of the beach, shoreline, or inland lake or river.
“The politicians had a choice – spend $14.5 million saving our lagoon, or hand out easy money for ill-conceived special interest giveaways,” said Fine.
“What I find even more remarkable is that the politicians don’t seem to understand that having a lagoon that looks and smells like a sewer might keep tourists away.
I am committed to dedicating state resources to save the Lagoon and to implement policy changes that address the underlying concerns. But how can we ask the citizenry to make changes to their septic tanks, or limit fertilizer use, or hook up to sewer systems, when the local politicians are not a trusted partner at the local level?
“It is not too late for the Brevard County Commission to change course. They have a choice – join me in fixing the lagoon, or make it worse. I’m not going to accept the latter, and I call on all Brevard residents to join in me in making clear to the politicians that they won’t either.”
ABOUT REP. RANDY FINE
Randy Fine is the State Representative from District 53, which is comprised of the southern portion of Brevard County and includes the entirety of Palm Bay, Malabar, and Grant-Valkaria, and portions of Melbourne, West Melbourne, and unincorporated Brevard.
Fine is a third-generation Floridian, married to his wife Wendy, and together they have two boys, Jacob and David. A lifelong entrepreneur, he started his first business while in college and his second after graduating with distinction from Harvard Business School. Fine is the Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 391 and is an active Junior Achievement volunteer instructor.
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