Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 - Looking Back

2011 will probably be remembered as a pivotal year in North Bay Village. The big news of course was the resignation of the mayor. After months of relentless pounding over a tax matter that she herself had brought to the county tax appraiser, the mayor quit.

The end result of it of course is that we have a new mayor who was not elected, either to the commission or to her current position. In a particularly sneaky move, the new North Bay Island commissioner is the president of the group founded by Connie Kreps which led the recall effort, an unlicensed "MD" as an unelected commissioner. Kind of perfect North Bay Village symetry.

The commission could easily have held an election for the positions but these are not people who believe in elections and so they didn't.

Let's look at what else they didn't do in 2011, some good, some bad.

Good Thing - The attempt to outsource the sanitation services to Waste Management Systems failed. That was a good thing. It would have ended side yard pickup for the single family homeowners, lowered property values and was based on a lie that it would save $500,000 per year.

Bad Thing - As we continue to have one of the highest rates of foreclosures in the county, the city has not formed a foreclosure registry to accurately account for and maintain foreclosed properties. They continue to rot visibly in our city and drive property values further down.

Good Thing - In spite of their best efforts, the commission was unable to raise taxes again this year.

Bad Thing - No serious improvements were made to our spending and the budget was only balanced by the creative use of DEA Federal money. Expect a big bump in tax rates for FY 2013.

And what we are going into 2012 knowing:

  • Dr. Paul Vogel and his wife stole over a $1000 in phone services yet continue to sit on the commission.
  • The strip club looms ominously over the city, with inept city planning doing everything possible to ensure its passage.
  • The city's largest tax debtor and Eddie Lim's biggest campaign donor, the strip club developer himself Scott Greenwald, continues to sit on the Budget Oversight Board deciding how the money those of us who pay our taxes should be spent.
  • The legal bills for routine personnel management issues in the police department are running near a half million dollars and there is no end in sight.

We're really close to not being able to function at all. I'm not optimistic but the best we can hope for is that in November of 2012, when four seats on the commission are open, that we can elect people whose investment in the city is the city itself. That's something.

Happy New Year.

Kevin Vericker
December 27, 2011

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