WATCH: Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi Moves to Abolish Future Property Tax Hike
By Space Coast Daily // January 17, 2019
ISNARDI: Charity needs to be done by private organizations
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi discusses the Children Service Council’s proposed property tax hike that would last at least 12 years and have no elected oversight. Commissioner Isnardi said that the tax would cost citizens of Brevard upwards of $100 million over 12 years, and if passed, would be “modern-day taxation without representation.”
ISNARDI: ‘This is modern-day taxation without representation’
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi sat down with Space Coast Daily after the commission’s January 8 meeting where she moved to abolish a future property tax hike.
During the meeting, the commission agreed to hear the matter of the future status of the Children’s Services Council.
During a meeting last November, the CSC discussed bypassing the county commission and taking an up to .5 mill tax hike straight to voters via a petition drive. There is a question if a petition drive is a legal means of taking a tax increase straight to the ballot.
Isnadrdi said that if passed, this proposed tax hike would last at least 12 years and have no elected oversight.
“The funds from the tax would then be redistributed to charities selected by the non-elected members of the CSC,” said Isnardi.
“This tax would cost citizens of Brevard upwards of $100 million over 12 years if passed. This item will be discussed at a future meeting.”
Space Coast Daily discussed the issue Wednesday morning with Commissioner Isnardi in the following exclusive Q&A session:
SPACE COAST DAILY: Do you support the current charity efforts in the community doing this type work or providing these type services?
COMMISSIONER ISNARDI: Charity needs to be done by private organizations. While I understand the vast needs in the community, the government should never take the place of private charity efforts.
SPACE COAST DAILY: Why is protecting taxpayers from another tax important to you?
COMMISSIONER ISNARDI: There are many families and seniors on fixed incomes that simply cannot afford this tax burden. What is even scarier about this tax is that it would commit homeowners to 12 years of higher Ad valorem taxes.
A reauthorization provision can also be waived in the referendum language so that it never has to go back to the voters for renewal. So what you would have is an independent and unelected taxing authority with the power to levy a maximum taxable millage rate with no voter recourse.
This is modern-day taxation without representation.
SPACE COAST DAILY: Would this proposed tax have any elected oversight if passed?
COMMISSIONER ISNARDI: No. The control of these millions in tax funds is by an independent council comprised of 10 members. Five individuals from varied governmental bodies and five individuals appointed by the governor.
The only elected people on the board, by state statute requirement, are a judge, a county commissioner and a school board member.
The Children’s Services Council collects the tax, distributes it to various organizations and reports their budget to the state.
If the public or any elected body does not agree with how the CSC distributes those millions of dollars in taxes collected, there is nothing they can do about it except appeal to the independent council. The CSC has the authority to lease, buy property and hire as many employees as they choose.
SPACE COAST DAILY: Would this have any impact on current services provided and fundraising efforts already in place?
COMMISSIONER ISNARDI: This would be a forced property tax for the cause of charity, period. It may also have a negative impact on private fundraising if citizens believe that government is funding nonprofits.
SPACE COAST DAILY: Can the CSC bypass the elected commission and take this proposed tax on the community straight to the citizens?
COMMISSIONER ISNARDI: Not according to our county charter. Our charter does not allow for a ballot initiative for the “collection of taxes.” See Article 5 of the County Charter Section 5.1.3.
Commissioner Kristine Isnardi was elected to the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners in November 2016. She represents District 5, which includes areas of Melbourne, West Melbourne, Palm Bay, Indialantic and Melbourne Village.
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