Below is Mr. Dinerstein's Letter to the Editor in Sunday's newspaper. As it all hits home and is especially relative to Lake Worth, we are publishing the "unedited"version sent to us by Sid.
The second paragraph is particularly powerful and it is exactly what happened in Lake Worth. Elected officials forget who they represent. Mr. Dinerstein suggests cutting costs rather than raising taxes.
"This letter is in response to the editorial of September 16, To serve and protect budgets.
Last week we watched the annual county budget dance where we first threaten the (politically) weakest in the county, then watch as they tell their tales of woe, and finally wind up with our humanitarian Commissioners putting their hands ever deeper into our now shallow pockets to extract more guilt money.
I want to change the conversation. Today we have a mediocre county, awash in falling home prices and rising foreclosures. Our existing businesses can’t expand and prospective business owners won’t come here. The average property tax bill is $9,000 on the $400,000 house that can only be sold for $200,000.
My solution is the following: I propose we pay all Sheriff’s Department and Fire & Rescue personnel an average annual wage and benefit package of $100,000. This is at once extremely generous while also being well below the current pay packages of $120,000 (Sheriff’s Department) and $140,000 (Fire & Rescue). And while I realize that these employees are sometimes at great risk. I also realize that they don’t do it for the money. They do it because of their call to serve. In the event of a tragedy, no amount could ever compensate; not the $120,000 for the Deputy, not the $140,000 for the Fireman, not the $38,000 for the soldier in Iraq.
My $100,000 would immediately free up $140 MILLION in annual property tax relief. Now that’s a game changer. We could use $130 million for immediate and significant property tax relief and make every property instantly more valuable. We could protect the disabled bus riders and the swimming pool users. We could restore the Sheriff’s programs and hire more deputies, all without touching our reserves.
Palm Beach County has extraordinary potential, from our beautiful beaches to our bountiful harvests to our recreational lake. We have great weather and great wealth. This letter is a call for Leadership equal to the potential of our people and our geography."
Republican Party of PB County