Readers weigh in on local issues.
Go to rollback
After reading the article in the newspaper, and as senior citizens, Commissioner Dwight Selby's proposed rate hike of 2.3% seems to make sense. As new residents that have ben here for only two months, we are getting slammed tax-wise as we get taxed at a higher rate, not being able to claim a homestead exemption for another year.
We went over to a beach park and noticed a ramp has not been repaired from a storm from over a year ago. Notice a surplus of money, but ADA individuals and senior citizens are not a priority. My wife is disabled and it would make it so much easier for her to use the beach.
Ron and Debbie Catlett
Ormond Beach airport: More red ink
The Sept. 16 edition of the Ormond Beach Observer attached an editor’s note to a published letter from Bob Blankenship regarding the planned extension of the Ormond Airport runways to accommodate more corporate jet traffic. Specifically, Mr. Blankenship’s letter noted in part that the airport is “currently a half million dollars in debt to the city’s general fund.”
The editor’s note summarized the city’s stated position that “general fund dollars lent to the airport fund are repaid as funds become available … loaned dollars cover operating shortfalls and provide grant match dollars.” I cannot fault the Observer’s editorial staff for reciting what our city of Ormond Beach officials relayed to them. However...
The city’s current budget spreadsheet shows an airport debt to the general fund in the amount of $621,309. The 2021-2022 fiscal year projects an additional shortfall of $63,691, increasing our debt to $685,000. I have reviewed the spreadsheet data; these figures contradict the city’s misleading claim to its citizens that the general fund dollars are being repaid.
FAA guidelines and policies, to my understanding, require airports be self-sustaining with revenues meeting costs and no burdens on city taxpayers. Despite these federal requirements, Ormond Beach residents are having to continue to subsidize our general aviation/municipal airport. Revenue shortfalls will take an additional $100,000 annual hit in lost rental income now that the city has closed River Bend Golf Course.
And more red ink... The city has been in arrears, and has been in litigation with Volusia County regarding taxes on its revenue producing golf course/airport property. If Judge Weston grants the $271,000 summary judgement against the city, awarding that amount to the Volusia County tax collector for the city’s unpaid property taxes...Well, go figure it out. Our Ormond Beach citizens deserve transparent facts, our citizens deserve transparent figures, our citizens deserve no less than the truth from their elected officials and city government.
Finding common ground
The last civil discourse/common ground meeting was attended almost entirely by those who do not support the proposed runway extension at the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport. One young individual did stand up and present pros for the extension, a college student who had the courage to come out and engage in the dialogue, and it made all the difference. The important part was that a conversation was begun, and when I left, it was still going on between mostly middle age to older folks and this one young person.
There are usually deeper issues that can emerge during a discussion of pros and cons. As the moderator I was left with these questions:
- Is the airport runway extension of primary importance for the city's economic growth?
- Is there a quality of life issue vs. an economic issue, and if so, how do we solve it?
- Can we have it both ways, and why not think and talk together?
- Is it important to know what citizens want and to answer their questions, and how do they make themselves heard?
Quite naturally it is easier to not show up and face the issue head on, especially if you are in the minority, but one young person did not back away and something happened: All of the people applauded this display of citizen participation, although the other view was different from theirs. Now that is what we as a community can be about, listening deeply to one another and creating something from what we have in common.
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