I have reviewed all 21 proposed City Charter changes on the March 15th Referendum ballot and believe several do not benefit our residents. Specificaly I do not like Referendums #1, 5, 7 and 19.
Referendum #1 eliminating the 3 year limit on City debt is the most dangerous and definitely needs a “NO” vote. FMB Founding Father’s put the 3 year City debt limit in our Charter to protect residents and property owners from runaway City official spending. Our Charter has kept our City out of debt for almost 20 years. Unfunded stormwater construction and other expenditures currently have the City $3 Million in debt, $2 Million will be paid off in 2 years by the Stormwater Fee/Tax just adopted.
At the February 16 Council Meeting, Council got a Debt Management Policy passed allowing the City to go as much as $28.8 Million further in debt WITHOUT voter referendum. It was brought up that the City was already committed to between $60 Million and $80 Million in debt for water line and stormwater construction. Several Officials were very alarmed at the City potentially spending the tax payers into as much as $100 Million in debt with this Debt Policy resulting in over $500/year per property owner in additional taxes! $100 Million City debt would equal over $15,000 per resident!
Elimination of the Charter Debt Limit plus the new Debt Policy gives the City complete freedom to run our City debt to unlimited levels. Voting NO on Referendum #1 preserves some fiscal controls restricting runaway spending by this and future City Councils.
Fort Myer Beach