Observations and notes from the Apopka City Commission special meeting to approve the millage rate and the tentative 2015-2016 annual budget.
The City’s budget has increased over $20,000,000 this fiscal year over last fiscal year. This year’s budget came in at over $89,600,000. Thanks to a $1,500,000 windfall of sorts, and a clerical error made when preparing the taxpayer notification form (3.5876 was put on the form instead of the planned 3.78 rate), we seem to have money to burn and will indeed burn it. Adding personnel and $885,479 for “community outreach”. And yes, Annie Cunningham will get her long-awaited splash pad. I’m still puzzled as to why we are paying $23,000/month to a lobbyist/ consultant who refuses to deal with anyone in the City expect the Mayor and an unelected CAO. What is this guy doing to earn that hefty paycheck? What was that about transparency, Mr. Mayor? Guess King Richard answers to no one, even at $23,000/month.
The highlight of the evening?? Citizen Suzanne Kidd stood before the City Commission and actually asked the Commissioners to RAISE the millage rate from the proposed 3.2876 to 3.5876, you know, in case of emergencies and such. WOW! I thought I’d heard it all but a citizen actually asking for a tax increase?? I thought I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. If Ms Kidd wants to pay more in taxes, I am sure there are people would be happy to hand her their tax bills.
Biggest disappointment: Only a handful of citizens were at this meeting. I know all this budget stuff is wonkish and no fun. But THIS IS how our money will be spent for the next year. Granted this meeting was for tentative approval only, the final approval meeting is in 2 weeks, Wed September 23, at 7:00 pm. I urge citizens to log on to http://www.apopka.net to check out the budget information and think about these things in the next 2 weeks. And get to the meeting on the 23rd. Ask questions now before it’s too late.
Lots going on in this town.. let’s pay attention and speak up!!