PAUL ALFREY: Tallahassee Politicians Got It Wrong, But Melbourne Will Get a Chance to Make It Right
By Paul Alfrey, Melbourne City Council, District 5 // January 18, 2019
YOUR OPINION: Paul Alfrey, MELBOURNE CITY COUNCIL
SPACE COAST DAILY TV EXCLUSIVE: PART I – Space Coast Daily TV brings you the Brevard County Legislative Delegation meeting, which was held in the Palm Bay City Council Chambers January 15.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV EXCLUSIVE: PART II – Space Coast Daily TV brings you the Brevard County Legislative Delegation meeting, which was held in the Palm Bay City Council Chambers January 15.
ALFREY: It was a mistake – compounded by unethical behavior by Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan.
YOUR OPINION – On Tuesday night, the Brevard Delegation voted down, 1-5, a proposed local Bill by Brevard Delegation Chairman, Representative Randy Fine, that would have improved the ability for Brevard County to work with the City of Melbourne, and to have respected the home rule powers of both.
It was a mistake – compounded by unethical behavior by Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan.
Chairman Fine’s bill would have brought all Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA’s) in Brevard County under the same rule of oversight by both City and County Officials.
Currently, CRA’s receive approximately forty percent of their funding from Brevard County taxpayers which are used in the City Redevelopment Areas to combat blight.
Simply, money that would be available in the County general fund for Lagoon projects, supporting parks or improving roads and drainage is diverted away from the County-at-large for the benefit of small geographical areas.
They do have the potential to assist particularly troubled parts of Brevard when used wisely and for short durations. But the Melbourne CRA started in 1982 and has been extended several times, scheduled to sunset in 2043 – so no County oversight for 60 years while utilizing forty percent of County tax dollars for that duration?
For this reason, a majority of your Brevard County Commissioners, including the Chair and Vice-Chair, voiced support for this legislation.
After the bill was presented, Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan addressed the delegation and claimed that the City of Melbourne opposed the legislation. As someone in attendance, I was stunned to hear her allege this, as the legislation was never discussed by our Council.
In fact, Councilman Tim Thomas separately spoke as an individual, like me, strongly supporting the legislation. Chairman Fine even gave Mayor Meehan ample opportunity to clarify her position, and she remained steadfast that this was the official position of the City of Melbourne.
Mayor Meehan holds no more voting power than any other member of the City Council; she merely moderates the meetings.
But it got worse. As I attempted to relay facts to the Delegation relevant to the discussion, I was interrupted and berated by a member of the Delegation.
As a Commercial Property Owner in unincorporated Brevard County, a portion of my tax dollars are diverted to the Melbourne CRA without the oversight of Brevard County Commissioners.
This money is then used to fund a “lively” downtown Melbourne where Property Appraiser Tax records show that the Meehan family owns numerous commercial rental properties in the Melbourne CRA with a taxable value of over 2.5 Million Dollars.
What is most troubling is that Delegation Members, including Representative Thad Altman, for who Melbourne is the only CRA affected by Representative Fine’s legislation, relied on Mayor Meehan’s accusations that the City of Melbourne opposed this legislation while ignoring the voices of the majority of Brevard County Commissioners who supported it.
At a future Melbourne City Council meeting, I plan on addressing this issue in Melbourne to ensure there is CRA oversight by both City and County government, as Home Rule is designed to foster local partnerships and should not be used as tyranny by any single individual.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Alfrey represents Melbourne’s District 5 (view a map of Council Districts). He was elected to the Melbourne City Council in 2016. His current term ends in 2020. Paul is also a member of the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization.
Alfrey is an entrepreneur and Melbourne multiple small business owner. He is a Florida Certified Contractor, Home Inspector and Insurance Agent and President of Alfrey Roofing, incorporated, American Standard Insurance Group and former owner of Humpty Dumpster.
Alfrey served as a law enforcement officer, including three years at the Sanford Police Department and 12 years at the Melbourne Police Department, retiring in 2012.
He served as a Canine Officer, Street Crimes Officer, Community Policing Officer and Field Training Officer. He received dozens of awards and commendations including Officer of the Month several times. In 2010, Paul and his Melbourne Canine named Faro were credited with achieving over 100 criminal suspect apprehensions.
Prior to serving our community, Alfrey served in the United States Coast Guard as a Rescue Swimmer and Maritime Law Enforcement Officer aboard Brevard’s own U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Confidence and Station Miami Beach.
During his tenure on Cutter Confidence as a rescue swimmer, he participated in Operation Able Vigil and Able Manner which resulted in thousands of migrants being rescued at sea, as well as one of the worst ferry accidents in world history, the sinking of the Haitian Neptune ferry.
Alfrey served as a raider boat coxswain with Port Security Unit 302 during Operation Uphold Democracy, a multinational force approved by the United Nations Security Council to liberate Haiti. During his service, he received numerous medals and commendations including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Department of Transportation Gold Award for Outstanding Achievement and two Humanitarian Medals.
Alfrey is a member of numerous associations including the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce, winning their Better Business Award in 2004. He is also a member of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents, the Florida Roofing Sheet Metal Association (FRSA) and past-President of one of Brevard’s oldest associations, the Space Coast Licensed Roofer’s Association (SCLRA). He also served on the FRSA Unlicensed Contractor’s Task Force Board.
Currently, he is very active in our community serving as a committee member for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Pet Posse. Notable achievements include making the Brevard animal shelters “no-kill” shelters. Alfrey is also an assistant basketball coach for the Congressionally recognized Brevard County Sheriff’s Officer Enforcers, and he volunteers with the Brevard County Police Athletic League.
Alfrey received the Space Coast Public Safety Hall of Fame Award for Making a Difference in our community, a notable achievement for working with dozens of local charities including as a Construction Captain for the Space Coast Field of Dreams community build and Volunteer Contractor for Nana’s House Children’s Home that aids neglected, needy, abused or abandoned children in our community.
Alfrey is married to Frannie Alfrey and has five children. He attended Sabal and Sherwood elementary schools, Johnson Junior High School and graduated from Eau Gallie High School. Paul also attended Brevard Community College, Miami Dade Community College and Seminole State.
Council Member Paul Alfrey
900 E. Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, Florida 32901
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