Also: A letter to the city commissioners
A few voters decide for all citizens
Your article "Voters reject sales tax, four-year terms" (May 23, page 3) fails to mention an important aspect of this special election that I believe deserves attention.
The total votes counted in the election was reported as being 103,674. The sales tax increase was supported by 46,235 voters and rejected by 57,150. The number of registered voters for this election was 376,531, which means that the tax increase was rejected by only 15.18% of registered voters. I am personally very pleased with the outcome of this election, although I am very unhappy that it was forced upon us. But, isn't it a real concern that a mere 15.18% of voters determined the outcome?
It is my opinion that the officials who arranged this special (and expensive) election had depended upon low voter turnout to provide them a greater chance of success. Happily, they underestimated the objections and could not pull it off. Registered voters who could not find the time to mark and return their ballots were playing a high-risk game. Somewhere along the line I was taught to believe that voting in our democracy, if it is to survive, is a civic duty. I hope that lesson is still being taught in our schools. And I hope that voters don't sit on their rears when the day rolls around to vote and clean house of all these elected officials who tried their best to stick it to us.
Defines 'quality, sustainable growth'
To the City Commission:
Re: OB Life Strategic plan
“Quality sustainable growth,” while maintaining Ormond’s “small town charm” were the operant words by Mayor Partington, quoted in the Ormond Beach Observer, regarding goals for the strategic planning workshop for OB Life.
What does “quality sustainable growth” mean? There were probably as many definitions for that as individuals present, but the term itself does imply a certain type of growth.
I agree with Mayor Partington that the statement that best describes what came out of OB life is “quality sustainable growth.” It was the theme that ran through the entire event. But the devil in the details is, how to define quality sustainable growth. I became very curious about this so I went to the Quality of Life Board and asked them if they are responsible for this, and they suggested I talk with Claire Whitley, assistant city manager who attends that meeting. After talking with Ms. Whitley who was very helpful, and various Ormond Beach city staff, it appears that the direction for such a defining group on sustainability issues must come from you, our elected officials.
Much to my surprise, while researching this, I came across this quote: “Now more than ever, it is important to balance environmental and economic considerations in our daily operations. A sustainable future for Volusia County and our entire region will be based on solutions that include environmental, economic and social considerations.” This came from the Volusia County Council, regarding the Sustainability Action Plan done by AECOM Technical Services in 2012 and adopted by Volusia County in 2014.
I was astonished and happy that the work had already been done by Volusia County on this subject. It is a very thorough and wide-ranging study with sustainability goals, what they are based upon, and how to implement and measure them. The goals are very similar to the city of Ormond Beach goals: to provide a healthy economy, environment, and community, efficient transportation and community design, water conservation and efficiency, use of renewable energy, reduction of waste and promotion of recycling. It is all the things we want for our community and most of what citizens were asking for in OB Life. We are very lucky to have such an in-depth study at our fingertips, which provides research for such a plan and gives us a working definition or at least a beginning place for defining “quality sustainable growth” for Ormond Beach, if we so choose.
As an example of what I am suggesting we consider, as a sustainability issue, is a project for neighborhood Improvement to be considered tonight, to pave a parking lot at Riviera Park. I understand that might be the best thing for that project, and ADA standards need to be considered, but for $55,000 it should be examined with the test of some type of adopted, sustainability standards, to pave or not to pave. I believe this is a core tenet that can be drawn from OB Life
I will send each of you the Volusia County Sustainability Action Plan and I am asking that you read it and consider using it to define what we mean by “quality sustainable growth” as an additional goal when you consider the OB Life strategic plan tonight.
Respectfully submitted to the City Commission on May 21, 2019