I saw this headline on KeysNet.com: Dedicated property tax for emergency services is dead for now.
Hmmm…dead for now? As in, it’s going to come back to life at some later point in time? Like a zombie? Well, somebody please put it out of its misery because it needs to be dead forever. When Comm. Carruthers proposed the Emergency Services Surtax (ESS), she tried to pass it off as something that benefits locals. It might benefit a few, but in most cases locals actually pay more. Especially locals with low-moderate incomes. And especially locals who are renters (ie. the majority of locals in Key West). Carruthers herself would benefit and so would her campaign donors. Your typical Keys working family? Nope. Quite the opposite.
The “white paper” that staff threw together is full of holes and misleading statements. They knew good and well the public would never go for it if the true financial impact were made plain.
Here’s what County Administrator, Roman Gastesi (the iPhone Bandit), had to say.
“We have a community where it takes about three to five years before a bold new idea can simmer to the point where a real conversation can be held,” Gastesi said.
People don’t have a problem with the ESS because it’s a “bold, new idea”. People have a problem with it because the county’s numbers don’t add up. The county lied its way through the wastewater projects. Now they’re lying again. If the county wants to try out a “bold, new idea” they could put together an accurate, truthful, fact-based report to honestly assess the real impact of Carruthers’s new tax. I won’t hold my breath.
The iPhone Bandit said this Emergency Services Surtax idea is in the “freezer” and it will be back. That being the case, I’ll keep on keeping on. There’s a lot more to analyze. Stock Island and Tavernier are two special cases that need a closer look. There’s also the nagging question: why does county-provided fire service cost so much more?