Blickley Confident About Solutions For Economic Distress
By Lauren McFaul // April 16, 2012
BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – Overbuilt and overvalued during the housing boom, Brevard County homeowners now live in interesting times — rated last year by Realty Track as among the worst counties nationwide for foreclosures, with home prices down an estimated 53 percent from peak and nearly half of our residential properties worth less than their mortgages.
Although Florida’s Legislature mandated some relief with tax rollbacks, rising prices for gas and groceries continue to nibble away at income margins.
Home values and tax assessments may become the next battleground for a county faced with shrinking revenues and its residents, especially those under-employed or on fixed incomes.
“The market will rectify itself,” says Dana Blickley, a Republican candidate for Brevard County Property Assessor. “What we are all trying to do is find out is how long it’s going to take.”
With an inventory of distressed and foreclosed homes still in the legal pipeline, finding a fair market value for Brevard properties has become increasingly difficult.
“Short sales are not an issue. Florida’s Department of Revenue already allows for that,” Blickley said. “The Department has said if a property has been properly marketed — available a requisite number of days on the market — you can use it’ as a comparable sale. If a bank has taken the property back, and put it on the market, you can qualify that sale.
“Foreclosure auctions, no. They should not be used for fair value,” Blickley said. “‘The typical foreclosure sale undermines the market.”
Blickley said she has an answer for rising tax rates too.
“At the end of the day there’s only one answer,” she said. “There is a 10 mill cap on the amount taxes may be raised, that has been mandated by the Legislature. When municipalities and counties reach that cap, they will have to rectify their spending.”
A Brevard resident since the mid-1980s, Blickley has 20 years of experience with the Brevard County Property Appraiser’s office, having scored a summer job there as 18-year-old Brevard Community College student.
She liked the work and stayed on, switching her major to public administration. An expert with the Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal System, she was promoted steadily within the office, ultimately attaining the title of Director of Tax Roll.
In 2006 she parted company with Brevard County, because of what she said were disagreements over ethics and applied standards.
Since then, she has served on the Board of Directors and been Resource Coordinator for the National Veterans Homeless Support group and had a hand in creating Brevard ASAP, Inc., which raises funds for spay and neuter programs and helps support area animal shelters.
Blickley has logged time as “‘Coach Dana” in youth sports and has served on the Brevard Schools Foundation’s ‘Take Stock in Children’ Leadership Council.
In 2010, she earned a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida.
This year she’s decided to enter the political arena.
“I’m a Mom first,” Blickley said, “Prior to this I had children in high school. They are high academic achievers. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. I got to spend 18 months with her and it was mostly pallative care.”
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Blickley’s daughter Jessica, 20, and son, Jared, 19, are in college now and she lives in Titusville with her husband, Brian.
The bid for office has been exhaustive.
“Running is a colossal effort,” Blickley said. “‘I couldn’t have done it before now.”
Her campaign has a homemade feel.
Dressed in a bright yellow T-shirt, Blickley’s low-key videos on YouTube document her rain-or-shine bike-a-thon to canvass 19,000 Brevard homes in 11 months. It took her 90 days to acquire 4,000 signatures after announcing for office last July.
To date she’s spent about $15,000 of a $49,000 war chest with $30,000 of it described in filings with the Supervisor of Elections as a loan.
Her strategy seems to be to remain above the fray, which might not be a bad idea.
“The Property Appraiser’s office is not legislative,” she said “All county assessors follow guidelines issued from Florida’s Department of Revenue. It’s a technical office. What a property assessor can and should do is to make sure the rules are correct.
“My goal is to create the model of a constitutional property appraiser’s office, an office that the other 66 Florida counties look to,” Blickley said “They’ll say, ‘we’ll do things the Brevard County way, because it is correct and constitutionally valid.'”
For more information log on to DanaBlickley.com