Fiscal Problem #1: Port Orange City Council supported the ill-conceived Half-Cent Sales Tax which Voters Rightly Rejected as an invitation for more sprawl
In 2019, the Port Orange City Council under Mayor Burnette spent numerous city resources, including city website advertising, supporting the developer-backed and economy-stifling half-cent sales tax put forth by Volusia County Council. Not only that, but the vote was held during an off-year in the Spring, and for the first time in county history, was done by the entirely non-transparent manner of Vote-By-Mail. It ended up costing the County half a million dollars, and an untold amount for Port Orange. Candidate Derek LaMontagne strongly opposed the tax.
Port Orange refused to take millions in required fees from millionaire developers, and instead wanted you to pay more in sales tax. Luckily it failed.
Multi-million dollar projects like Riverwalk are expensive and overbudget, but the biggest fiscal mistake of Port Orange comes from not collecting fees from large, out-of-city developer corporations, making local residents bear the burden. Project like the Pavilion received waivers to their impact fees and have the gall to overcharge a 1% “convenience fee” to customers for the “honor” of shopping there. Projects like the Altamira (BJ’s) shopping center waived a quarter million dollars in tree mitigation fees alone. Residential developers are worse, and by some estimates owe the city millions of dollars in uncollected fees. Not collecting these have cost the city dearly, but if new leadership is elected, this corporate welfare will stop.
$500,000. That is the value in wetland mitigation credits the city needlessly gave away in 2012 to help get the permit for a southern extension of Williamson Blvd. Port Orange received absolutely no money in return, despite this road being entirely within a “special district” boundary exempt from city responsibility. And yet, despite the special district getting the tax benefits and city getting nothing, the city willingly provided additional water/sewer to the area, all at our expense. The County, City, and State ended up paying over $15,000,000 for a road experts testified was not needed and not designed well, a cost that the developer had promised to pay but never did.
Florida tax-payers are owed $15,000,000+ for an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds for Williamson Blvd.
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