Brevard County Commissioner Curt Smith Updates Citizens On Recent Meeting Agenda Items
By Space Coast Daily // July 30, 2016
BOY SCOUT TROOP 224 RESOLUTION issued
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Curt Smith, Brevard County District 4 Commissioner, provides updates and commentary on recent meeting agenda items. Smith was elected to the Brevard County Commission in November of 2014 and currently serves as vice chairman. He ran as a fiscal conservative coming from the private sector with 40 years of small business, entrepreneurial experience.
BOY SCOUT TROOP 224 RESOLUTION: Unanimously Approved
I had the honor of sponsoring a resolution recognizing and commending Boy Scout Troop 224 for their outstanding efforts in obtaining six Eagle Scouts in one year. In 2015, Boy Scout Troop 224, lead by Kevin Howald, accomplished a very remarkable feat here in Brevard County.
Within just one year, six young men in Troop 224 have obtained the honor of becoming Eagle Scout. Kevin A. Fee, Zachary Elmer, Jonathan Hall, Brennan Wooden, Mitchell Albright, and Mitchell Shafer have all proven their dedication to our community and Brevard County as a whole.
I would also like to note that without that ongoing support of Suntree United Methodist Church, it’s possible that these exceptional young men might not have had the chance to succeed, as they were constantly encouraged and motivated to reach their goals and to never give up. The lessons learned by obtaining the Eagle Scout Rank are important to not only the life of the scout, but also to the enhancement of the Nation’s leadership.
Congratulations to these six young men for working hard and remaining dedicated to achieving their goals.
ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS BREVARD COUNTY SHORELINE PROTECTION PROJECT: Approved 4-1, Commissioner Trudi Infantini Opposed
At the Board Meeting held on July 12, the Commission was asked to vote on a beach nourishment project between the Army Corp. of Engineers and Brevard County. The initial phase of the project was approved in 2000, and was completed between 2000 and 2003. In 2014, the Board approved a Design Agreement with the Corp. of Engineers for the mid-reach segment. Design for the first phase of the mid-reach construction has now been completed, and federal funds have been appropriated to begin construction once approval has been received from the Board. These funds will continue to support this project for the next 50 years.
Essentially, this project is leveraging Federal and State money to restore the shorelines in the mid-reach section, which includes Indian Harbour & Satellite Beaches. My office received some suggestions that the Board deny the proposal and put those funds towards Indian River Lagoon cleanup and restoration.
However, we cannot do that, as these funds are designated specifically for shoreline restoration projects. The funds are in the form of a government grant, which means had we not approved the project to begin construction, then the money would have been sent to another county or state for a similar project. The Board heard many arguments as to whether or not these shoreline restoration projects work, but we ultimately voted 4-1 to approve the construction of the mid-phase shoreline restoration project to begin.
BREVARD COUNTY PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS VS. BREVARD COUNTY RE: RETAINING OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Approved For Executive Session 4-1, Commissioner Trudi Infantini Opposed
It was requested by the County Attorney’s Office that the Board approve the motion to retain outside counsel concerning a lawsuit by the Brevard County Professional Firefighters, Local 2969, International Association of Firefighters. The International Association of Firefighters (IAAF) has filed suit to invalidate both the special act that authorized the referendum giving rise to the charter cap amendment, as well as the charter amendment opposing the cap. Brevard County is the only county in the state that has a Charter Cap, which essentially says that we can’t increase our County revenue by more than 3 percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is only 0.12% this year.
The Board voted 4-1 to go into Executive Session after a Board Meeting, to further discuss this law suit and what the County’s best options might be. Commissioner Infantini argued that the meeting should be public, but the rest of the Board agreed that when it comes to law suits and legal issues, having a privately held Executive Session is usually in the best interest of the County. I was unable to attend the Executive Session, but it was decided, with Commissioner Infantini in attendance, that the County should retain outside counsel to defend the continued use of the Charter Cap.
FIRE RESCUE REQUEST FOR APPROVAL – PURCHASE OF REPLACEMENT AMBULANCE: Unanimously Approved Via Consent Agenda
Fire Rescue and Central Services requested that the Board approve the purchase of one replacement ambulance via funding from the Budget Change Request that was approved during the May 26, 2016 Board of County Commissioners Meeting. The Fire Rescue Department is continuing to follow its Capital Replacement Plan for ambulance replacement, with the goal of maximizing vehicle life cycle via unit rotation strategies and continued preventative maintenance.
The plan moves units from highly daily use to moderate use locations, then to back-up status, and finally into retirement as a method of extending the overall life cycle. Their strategy also ensures that only the most reliable units are used for front-line emergency response. The Fire Rescue Department’s ambulances average well in excess of 200,000 miles and 10-plus years of service before they are finally retired from the fleet.
The purchase price for this same ambulance in 2005 was $81,454, while the purchase price for the ambulance today is $158,730. This request brings to light a concern among the County with regards to the Charter Cap, and how it is currently limiting us to a revenue increase of only 0.12%.
ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED FY 2016-2017 AD VALOREM MILLAGES APPROVED PROPOSED MILLAGE RATES 4-1: Commissioner Trudi Infantini Opposed
During this past Tuesday’s Board Meeting, we began our preliminary discussions regarding the County Budget and Ad Valorem Millage Rates. Every year, property owners receive what’s called a Truth In Millage Notification, which shows what property taxes will be if the millage rates remain the same as what has been proposed.
There are 24 different millage rates for Brevard County, depending on what area the property is located in. With regards to millage rates, the first vote from the Board is to decide whether or not the County will accept the proposed rates as is, or to increase the rates, in which case we would have to send another notification in the mail to anyone who owns property in the County. If the proposed rates are accepted, then the Board can ultimately only agree upon a rate that is only equal to or lower than the proposed rate.
The Board voted 4-1, with Commissioner Trudi Infantini opposed, to approve the proposed millage rates, which means that we can now move forward with the final two budget hearings and determine the final rates for 2016-2017. This is actually good news for Brevard County property owners, as it means that there will officially be no increase in the millage rates for the next fiscal year.
The final two Budget Meetings are on September 13th and September 27th at 5:30pm, where we will work to come to an agreement on not only millage rates, but the County Budget as a whole.
CITIZEN REQUEST TO REVISIT RESOLUTION BANNING BLACK BEAR HUNTING IN BREVARD: No Vote Enacted For Request
It was requested by Ms. Joan Davis of Palm Bay that the Board revisit a proposed resolution that would ban black bear hunting in Brevard County. Ms. Davis argued that detailed demographic data should be collected in each area before hunting continues in order to determine specifics of the populations with regards to the number of adult females and juvenile males in each sub-population, the number of cubs being born each year, the annual survival rates of females in each sub-population, the overall mortality rates, and other statistics.
While the Board could certainly see how the data could be useful in making informed predictions about black bears and their behavioral patterns, etc., we were concerned that if we ban the hunting of one animal, then it would be continuously requested that we ban the hunting of other ones in Brevard County. The Board did not have to vote on the item since it was a citizen’s request, but we ended up recommending that the topic be followed-up at a later meeting when a more restricted resolution can be provided for discussion.
UPCOMING BREVARD COUNTY COUNTY COMMISSION REGULAR MEETINGS:
• Tuesday August 9, 2016: 9 a.m.- Commission Chambers, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
• Tuesday August 23, 2016: 9 a.m.- Commission Chambers, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
• Tuesday September 6, 2016: 9 a.m.- Commission Chambers, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
ABOUT CURT SMITH, Brevard County District 4 Commissioner
Smith was elected to the Brevard County Commission in November of 2014 with 63 percent of the vote. He ran as a fiscal conservative coming from the private sector with 40 years of small business, entrepreneurial experience. This was his first venture into the world of politics.
Smith and his wife Linda owned and operated a Maaco Autopainting franchise in Melbourne for almost 27 years before retiring at the end of 2013. He grew up in a little town in southern New Jersey on the Delaware River called Pennsville. This is where he developed his deep love of nature and for being on and in the water of the river he loved. He also credits this area, just south of Philadelphia, with his deep love of God and country. The Delaware Valley is often called the cradle of Liberty.
Smith has always been civic minded. Some of his many associations in Brevard County include Board of Directors of Friends of Sally’s House and Prevent as well as supporting Brevard Little League Teams, Habitat for Humanity, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Candlelighters, Animal Services, and supporting efforts to restore the Indian River Lagoon.
Curt and his wife Linda have been residents of Melbourne since 1986. They have one daughter and three grandchildren.
To contact Curt Smith e-mail D4.Commissioner@brevardcounty.us or call 321-633-2044.