Volusia County got the goldmine – We got the shaft. . .

Let’s face it, the property tax increase was a given – it was inevitable.

Like any massive bureaucracy, the “system” exists to feed itself – and it was clear that County Manager George “The Wreck” Recktenwald and his senior staff of creative bean counters would not be denied – even if it cost them, and the elected officials who carry the water for them, their last ragged shred of credibility. . .

After those we elected to represent our interests were done whining the blues about what a “tough decision” they faced – mewling over how hard they work for us, shoveling our hard-earned tax dollars into the insatiable maw of this monstrous machine – at the end of the day, everyone in county government got what they wanted.

And, once again, the long-suffering Volusia County taxpayer got the shaft. 

Did anyone really expect something different?  

How about the lady who respectfully approached her elected officials and made a fervent plea for mercy – explaining that the tax increase would make it difficult for her to make ends meet?

Screw you – our gas prices went up too. . .

Or the residents who found some $400,000 in unnecessary library improvements?

Screw you – we don’t have the luxury of looking at the minutiae of a $1.1 Billion budget – we’re Big Picture strategic thinkers, you meddling assholes. . .

Horrible.

On Tuesday evening, the Volusia County Council sat smugly on the dais of power, the majority arrogantly ignoring the voices of their frustrated constituents, and raised our taxes at a time many are still reeling from the financial devastation of the pandemic – and county government is awash in hundreds-of-millions in federal relief funds with enough reserves to weather anything short of a thermonuclear holocaust.

While the Gang of Four cried the Poormouth Blues – reminding us all how fiscally responsible they are – the subtle clues told anyone paying attention that everyone who is anyone is getting their share – including the corporate welfare pipeline at Team Volusia.

For instance, prior to the budget vote, our elected marionettes mechanically handed over some $250,000 in public funds to those do-nothings at Team Volusia – that “public/private” consortium of all the right last names which claims to be the “economic development” arm of Volusia County government – yet apparently hasn’t a clue about Volusia County’s true economic landscape.

After I bitched (repeatedly) about the shitty optics of using non-existent businesses and over-inflated employment numbers as catfish bait, it appears Team Volusia finally removed the long-defunct Blue Coast Bakery from their dubious list of Volusia County’s largest employers, now using the more generic (but equally confusing) ruse:

“Volusia County is fortunate to have employers of all sizes. From small startups to companies with thousands of workers. These large employers also account for the creation of jobs by other employers, which builds a dynamic workforce. Among our larger employers are:  BLANK – NADA – ZILCH – NOTHING”

Incredibly, Team Volusia still refuses to list tourism and hospitality – our bread-and-butter – as a target industry on its “new” website. . .

Why?

I guess President and CEO Keith Norden and Team Volusia’s “distinguished board of directors” were too busy taking pictures with one another to do the research, eh?

(Hey, what do you want for $250,000?)

Name one company currently operating in Volusia County – with the exclusion of government or a taxing district – that employs “thousands” of full-time local workers? 

I’ll wait. . .

Screw the truth, Barker.  It sounds good, dammit, and if the sham lures some unsuspecting dupe to Volusia County – or keeps the public teat flowing – who cares?

How do these shameless shills sleep at night?

Unfortunately, our elected officials refuse to do the homework – or even question expenditures and inefficiencies using “Dr.” Fred Lowry’s patented “Not my yob, man” dodge – avoiding anything remotely resembling oversight or accountability that would expose where our tax dollars are most effective – and where they are not – especially in an environment where an endless supply of money is a foregone conclusion. 

Don’t take my word for it, watch how the “strong majority” (that Councilman Danny Robins prays for each night) circle the wagons and viciously attack Chairman Jeff Brower and Councilwoman Heather Post when they dare question six-figure department heads, suggest alternate revenue sources, or ask for a line-item review of government spending.    

Seriously, if you live and pay taxes in Volusia County, you owe it to yourself to watch yesterday’s achieved video of Tuesday’s regular meeting and subsequent budget vote.

In my view, the way Chairman Brower and Councilwoman Post were treated by these contemptuous bullies epitomizes the depths to which the “strong majority” of lockstep conformists will go to protect the stagnant status quo – and it deserves a larger audience.

The fix is in, folks – and it is hard to unsee once you witness it firsthand – and decipher the motivation. 

Now, their annual lycanthropic transformation can begin.

When the gavel fell Tuesday evening, it marked the moment those spineless tax-and-spend schlubs on the Volusia County Council, the quisling Gang of Four, comprised of Councilman Ben Johnson, the lame duck Councilwoman Billie Wheeler, Councilman Danny Robins, and The Right Reverend “Dr.” Fred Lowry, who fought so hard for the exorbitant tax increase the bloated bureaucracy needs to sustain itself – an annual budget of $1.1 Billion – began their transmogrification, preternaturally reverting from champions of Big Government to the faux “staunch fiscal conservatives” – skulking back into the fold of what passes for the Volusia County Republican party – hoping against hope that us rubes who pay the bills and suffer in silence will forget their slick transition before election time.    

Bullshit. 

The great truth in local politics is that those who practice it seek desperately to be all things to all people – to have their cake and eat it too (sharing only with those well-heeled insiders who fund their political campaigns) – using scary stories of financial Armageddon to instill fear in their long-suffering constituents, while pandering to the entrenched bureaucrats and special interests who orchestrate the show behind the scenes, a moral and ethical conflict never more evident than during the annual Kabuki known as “budget hearings.” 

A time when our elected representatives are lulled into strategic ignorance as senior “staff” (who fawn over them and laugh at their jokes) use elaborate PowerPoint presentations – colorful pie charts and confusing graphs, long on pap and fluff, but devoid of the line-item specifics which would expose the thick rind of insulating fat – to sell the ubiquitous annual tax increase that has left Volusia County residents among the most burdened in the state. 

Then, once they have given the ravenous bureaucracy everything it asked for, those who had no qualms getting their greedy hands even deeper into our pockets immediately duck behind a thin façade of respectability, referring to themselves as “conservatives” while kissing the sizeable backsides of those who sit at the top of the Volusia County Republican hierarchy – shameless dupes who invariably allow these tax-mongers back into the tent without question or consequence. . . 

Watch. Listen. Learn.

Most important – get involved.

Your family’s quality of life hangs in the balance.

Please join Barker’s View tomorrow from 4pm to 6pm on GovStuff Live! with Big John where we will be talking local issues and taking your calls on the fastest two-hours in radio!

Tune-in locally at 1380am The CAT – or online at http://www.govstuff.org (Listen Live button).

And please join Barker’s View for Angels & Assholes in this space on Friday where I’ll have more views on the absurdities of our life and politics here on Florida’s fabled Fun Coast!

17 thoughts on “Volusia County got the goldmine – We got the shaft. . .

  1. It’s really hard to figure out whose interests are truly at play here. It is certainly not the individual homesteader homeowner with Save Our Homes (SOH) protection. The actual Volusia tax rate is decreasing 1.2% due to partial rollback, and the SOH valuation increase this year was limited to 1.4%. With, for example, Social Security benefits going up this year by 1.3%, it is absurd to complain that this net 0.2% increase in taxes from a growing county providing needed, high quality library and other services is going to prevent any homeowner from making ends meet. Just ain’t true.

    Like

    1. You are absolutely completely and totally missing the point. Not only that you just called every person who stood up and spoke a liar. The fact that you can pretend to know what individual circumstances are is the height of arrogance. It doesn’t take long to figure out who you’re shilling for

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s irresponsible and incendiary to say “liars.” “Misled” for sure; it is simply not the end of the world that in order to provide decent salaries to county and constitutional officer employees, and provide reasonable services to a growing county population, that there is a net 0.2% increase in county taxation on homestead homeowners in 2021!

        Like

  2. Well, nothing ever changes. Promise voters fiscal responsibility, get elected and spend like drunken sailors until the next election. You are 100% correct; if we don’t get involved, there will be nothing left for our children and grandchildren to enjoy in Volusia County.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Same ol’ same ol’! Pols promise the world to get our votes, and then spend like drunken sailors despite saying they are fiscally conservative. I spoke to the County Council on September 7th at the budget meeting. The only two who appeared the least bit interested were Mr. Brower and Ms. Post. The rest just sat there with eyes glazed over, waiting for the ignorant taxpayers to finish up so they could go home. Despite 3,000+ petitions asking for the roll back rate and many speaking against the huge increase, we all knew it was a done deal before we opened our mouths. The County Property Appraiser already raised the values of our homes so the County got it’s tax increase. But nooooo, that’s not enough. They just HAD to have that additional 5+%. Please remember this when it comes time to cast your vote. Choose someone new and replace the tax and spenders!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is simply a mischaracterization of the impact on homesteader homeowners. The cap on valuation increases for them is 1.4% by state law (Save Our Homes). The approved county tax rate actually went down by 1.2%, so the net county tax impact on homeowners is +0.2% from 2020, no matter how you slice it.

      Like

      1. When you buy a home the appraiser gets to revalue the home. It’s in the law. If you homestead, next year you will be protected by Save Our Homes like all other homesteaders. Your increased taxes have nothing to do with the topic being discussed; it is a result of the purchase transaction. No need to get excited!

        Like

  4. I’m so over these knuckleheads (not including Mr. Brower & Ms. Post) – I don’t think they should be increasing taxes at a time when so many have been without a job, gas prices and groceries are on the rise, etc., etc. I agree with you and I think some of the mean-spirited responses you got on this one are from the upper-class, rich snobs I’ve had to deal with throughout my life – it must be nice not to worry about where your money comes from! While we will be able to pay our increased taxes (we are fortunate), we are extremely unhappy about the increase. Volusia County (& our City of OB) need to reign in their spending – it seems at times willy-nilly for many of their choices; further, they really need to collect larger impact fees from all those who (fill their pots at election time!) build in the area who require infrastructure & screw the rest of us – it’s simply common sense! Why should we homeowners pay for it? We don’t profit from it – we lose our water (OB) and they increase our traffic (i.e., Granada Blvd). Argh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Granada is a state road, not county, and most of its traffic overload is due to city decisions, not county (Daytona and Ormond). But yes, it is getting out of hand!

      Like

      1. I know all of the decisions that Ormond Beach CC is making is helping Daytona and screwing Ormond – at least from where I sit . . . all that building going on (Avalon?) between LPGA and Granada – as if either of those roads needs more traffic – and now the knuckleheads on our dais (COB) have approved the Hand Ave extension? UGH! We don’t need that! The citizens of OB don’t need it or want it – the people that will use it are the people that will purchase/reside in Avalon – NOT OB, but Daytona – but, anytime you go in front of those bozos (& get your whopping 3 minutes), you get their bored looks, staring off into the distance and if you go 1 second past the timer, they stop you mid-sentence. It’s very frustrating!

        Like

  5. You can bet your bottom dollar that next years BUDGET will be reviewed by my Citizens of Volusia County LINE ITEM BY LINE ITEM as was done with 500K Joke that the Library needed up dating. There WILL BE MORE CITIZENS INVOLED EARLIER next year to expose the waste and get a LEGITIMATE BUDGET

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dont hear anything from Partington or Derrick Henry.Remember when it is time to vote fo all these idiots..My home was bought 5 years ago for 330Kand now valued at 650 k Jon Wong so I just cant wait to see my new bill from the county with the worst school system

    Like

  7. Dear You Bought,
    The point I was making is there are plenty of new home owners who are getting raped by the appraiser and the current law. Most of these home buyers have no children and are not a drain on county services but get stuck with huge tax increases because “it’s the law”. Just the huge increased tax revenue from rising home values should satisfy any increase in the general budget. Maybe you could get a job at the Volusia Rape Crisis Center.

    Like

    1. Jon Wong I am 73 years old and owned homes with my wife since I was 24 and never had kids and still pay school taxes as Biden sticks it up landlords asses with deadbeats they cant evict.I have bought a new home and tried the country club garbage in Palm Beach but we have open borders with people he wont deport and never checked these people for covid and the news today said they brought measles too. and we lose.VOTE VOTE VOTE. Your vote is payback.Head of homeland security must not have seen the same video I saw.No officer swatted or whipped anyone.Their job was to stop the 30.000 from coming over a river.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s