Why can't the City call a spade a spade? Why can't they simply tell us the truth? The assessment for fire services is not for services at all. They tell us that it will be going for fire pension costs. But even if that is so, which it's not, pension costs are not services. What's more, they are not a public benefit. It would be better described as "making a killing."
We recently found out that there is absolutely no line item for pension costs. Why not? The City plans on dumping this money into the general fund...in the pot, for general services that they can spend for what they want, when they want. If this were not the case, it would be a dedicated line item every year in the budget.
So, what could this money really be going towards?
renovations at the Utility building on 2nd avenue North for $700,000
11th avenue North sub-station for $1,300,000
138kv tie-line for $700,000
curb and gutter repair for $1,669,000
sidewalk, bike striping and road improvements for $950,000
the new public services administration building for $1,281,480
Lake Worth Park of Commerce project for $1,700,000
42% of the five Year Capital Improvement Plan is budgeted in this coming year. Why is that? The billboard settlement money in the amount of $1,800,000 has been taken out of the CIP and now dumped into the general fund. Why is that? Who is watching over our cash? This was dedicated money per commission vote for the new city hall complex. Don't forget, the Finance Advisory Board approved of even more capital spending over 5 years than what is now in the CIP, $61.4 million over 5 years.
The citizens of Lake Worth have been conned by its very own Commission, the people who are supposed to be watching over our purse strings and watching over the residents. The only reason we are being special assessed for this amount is because the city manager wants to assess us for the air that we breathe--and it's fun just grabbing the cash and seeing us jump up and down like we're all on a pogo stick.
We don't need cheerleaders for Lake Worth, Commissioner. We need people to see through the mist and watch out for us.
Special Assessments for Fire Services may be used by local governments because fire services provide a special benefit by protecting property. Special Assessments for Fire Services are valid in Florida so long as they confer a special benefit to the property being assessed and the cost assessed is fairly and reasonably apportioned among the properties that receive the special benefit.
FIRE PENSIONS DO NOT PROTECT OUR PROPERTY but even if it was some other reason, it is going around a law that was created for local governments to come up with a solution to pay for an emergency cost that was un-budgeted and that benefited the property. Inefficiencies and over spending are not emergencies.
We keep hearing the same old tune coming out of City Hall...we are in a Financial Urgency and taxes need to be fair. We have had a system of taxation in this country for God knows how long and no one has complained about "fair." Not until now. Not until Lake Worth got into the act. I no longer can buy that financial urgency explanation. Yes, we need money...who doesn't? The City Manager knows this assessment stinks. The Finance Department knows this is wrong. The Commission, who knows? Baaaa. That's the sound you hear when you are about to go to slaughter in just 40 days and 40 nights.