Island Issues

“Trust Us,” Proclaims The Fernandina Beach City Commission As It Flushes Your Property Tax Dollars Down the Toilet

“Trust Us,” Proclaims The Fernandina Beach City Commission As It Flushes Your Property Tax Dollars Down the Toilet

Property owners in Fernandina Beach can avoid an upcoming financial drubbing if they ignore the greedy city hall wastrels fevered plea to vote for a proposed $23 million bond issue.

In the early years of the U.S. only landowners could vote. Not a bad idea when you consider what the Fernandina Commission has in mind for city property owners. “Big Spender” City Manager Dale Martin and his two key sidekicks, Mayor “Marxist Mike” Lednovich and Commissioner Chip “Blowhard Bully” Ross, are scheming to fleece the city’s golden geese, their sole source of revenue.

The ‘ole professor, a wise and learned man who knows more than most about such things examined the financial mess downtown and simplified the city’s fiscal gobbledygook. His analysis predicts the financial drubbing property owners can expect this coming year from the greedy cabal of mindless city hall wastrels.

If you’re a voter pay attention. You can prevent this.

The City plans to issue General Obligation Bonds (GOB) in 2023/24 assuming that unsuspecting and naïve voters like you approve it on the 2022 mid-term ballot. The amount they want is $23 million for storm surge downtown, beach walkover repair, and a redo of Centre Street.

Here’s how the ‘ole professor says it adds up:

The annual debt service for a $23 million GOB would be $1.417 million.

Based on current property values, the $23 million will require a debt service millage of .491.

So, city taxpayers will be signing up for a PERMANENT millage increase of almost 0.5 mils if they vote yes on the bond issue.

For a median assessed property of $358,500, this adds $176 to an already high tax bill.

Living in Fernandina Beach is already pricey. It will get pricier if voters approve this bond issue. The days of an “adjusted” roll-back will be history if the city’s voters say “yes”. Is that what you want?

Based on what’s been said at the latest workshops, city commissioners are leaning toward putting this issue on the ballot. You can stop them before they do it by calling or writing them and telling them “no” or you can vote “no” if it makes it to the ballot. Remember it’s your money and they work for you. The only source of revenue they have is you!

And don’t forget that property owners being fiscally whacked by “Big Spender” Martin and his zombie Commission are already on the hook for the following: River Park $9.0 million; Atlantic Rec Center $1.5 million;  MLK Rec Center Expansion $1.0 million; Airport Fire Station $4.0 million; Columbarium (an above ground burial site at  Bosque Bello Cemetery) $2.0 million; City Hall $3.0 million. This equals $20.5 million that taxpayers will have to finance. Using the current values, this  will add another annual debt payment of $1.263 million over 20 years.

That’s another 0.438 mils to the property tax rate. So, city taxpayers are ultimately facing a total 0.929 mil increase to pay for the replacement and upkeep of city owned assets.

The annual addition to the tax bill for that median home value of $358,500 is a whopping $333!

Again, property owners’ tax and impact fees charged to residents and businesses are the city’s only source of revenue. You are the city’s piggy banks.

It has been suggested the city sell some of the assets that it’s  been gobbling up to lessen the financial burden on residents. The recent charter amendment makes this nearly impossible, so property owners are boxed in. There is no cavalry riding to the rescue. The only hope is the residents’ voice and/or  a “no” on the ballot.

As the ‘ole professor explains, the city is over built with public facilities. He says that would be OK if the city continued to grow significantly, thus spreading the cost out over a larger population, which is what the city fathers believed would happen 30-40 years ago when many of the facilities were built. But the anti-development approach taken by the city in the last 10-15 years has killed that prospect. The infamous “pay to play” with utility fees, the excessive building and permitting fees (more than 500% above those in the county), and conservation land purchases to block development stopped growth and are costing the tax payer a bundle.

Fernandina Beach tax payer.

Don’t look to the county for help. The city has completely alienated it. When the city went to them hat in hand asking for cash, the County Commission politely suggested that they go pound sand. The county is also busy growing the unincorporated areas and have made it absolutely clear that Fernandina is on its own paying for the upkeep of city-built facilities.

Who else will pay? There’s nobody left to extort but the property owners of Fernandina Beach. The fed’s COVID $5.5 million can only be used on infrastructure and pandemic related expenditures so will not help.

That means the tsunami of impending outlays to maintain the marina, golf course, shoreline stabilization, waterfront park and all the other parks, the Atlantic Rec Center, Peck Center, MLK Center, ballfields, beach walkovers, Columbarium, City Hall, on-and-on, are the sole responsibility of the city’s property owners. Pay up folks or tell the spendthrifts downtown what they can do with their proposed tax increases and bond issue.

This city hall group never looks for places to cut, only for things to add, and then tells us how they are all necessary and why they are unable to cut any of them. A five-minute conversation on tax cuts with “Blowhard” Ross will leave you frustrated, red-faced and angry.

It’s going to get much more expensive for property owners to live in Fernandina Beach. The good ‘ole days when only property owners could vote, and the growth days of 15-20 years ago are long gone.

Any resident, whether they own property or not, can vote. Resident renters voting for the bond issue, will be screwing themselves. Their property-owning landlords will raise their rents to cover increased costs.

How screwy are things downtown? This past Tuesday, Oct. 5, they nixed an Atlantic Seafood lease that didn’t go out for bids by a 4-1 vote.

“Here’s an idea! How about a $23 million bond?”

Why did “Big Spender” Martin and his Consigliere City Attorney, Tammi Bach, attempt that ploy? Did they think you are so stupid that you wouldn’t view it as a shady deal? Even traditionally silent Commissioner Len Kreger said this was one of the worst insider arrangements he has witnessed. Sympathy for the lease holder had Commissioner Bradley Bean casting the dissenting vote.

Several weeks ago the commission dropped the eminent domain action against the Simmons waterfront property because they realized they couldn’t seize property, yet they were ready to do so with this deal. Where’s the consistency? Where’s the fairness? What’s going on down there?

These are the guys that want $23 million to spend however they want? No thank you!

Past extravagances are coming home to roost unless voters speak up or pay close attention in the voting booth.

Go downtown and tell these clowns to start cutting costs. Don’t let them bamboozle you with their irrational “we can’t cut necessities” blather. Then vote any sitting commissioner out of office next year, especially Mayor “Marxist Mike”, the worst offender. Tell him you’re sick of him and you’re also sick of paying his more than $15,000 a year insurance premium, a benefit that no other part-time city employee receives, just commissioners.

Personally, I’m voting for any candidate that advocates cutting taxes and unnecessary expenses and promises to look for ways to save our money, not ways to spend it.

***

“Dale, is it true that tax payers can vote?”

Speaking of Mayor “Marxist Mike”: He brought a boat load of his left-wing claptrap with him from California including publicly suggesting a cap on what people can earn, and advocating tearing down statues, particularly the one of David Yulee in downtown Fernandina.

A local recently informed me that “Marxist Mike” suggested a ban on AR 16s. Since there is no such thing in anyone’s arsenal as an AR 16, it’s assumed ‘ole Marxist Mike meant AR 15s, which puts him squarely in the gun control or confiscation category.

When asked about next year’s Shrimp Festival in May, he said it all depended on Covid, a convenient excuse these days for anything. While all the other Commissioners are registered Republicans, this far-left doofus is registered on the Nassau County voting roles as NPA, no party affiliation, most likely because there was no Marxist box to check.

As a reminder of who’s running the city, consider City Manager Dale Martin’s bumpy career. As town manager in Winsted, CT in 2014 he was to be fired and was saved only because two seats on the council of selectmen changed. His tenure at Davidson, MI ended with his firing in 2010. He resigned as Winsted town manager in November 2015, to become Fernandina’s city manager in December that same year.

And then there‘s Commissioner Chip, “The Blowhard Bully” Ross, who left a trail of lawsuits from here to Maryland in his wake, as well as sensational newspaper headlines detailing his litigation escapades and bizarre behavior. Since arriving here he’s sued the city, a couple with a special needs son, and the Port.

Commissioner Len Kreger doesn’t say much unless it involves sea turtles.

Newcomers Bradley Bean and David Sturges are taking a long time to make their voices heard. It’s almost as if they don’t want to get involved….in anything.

***

Poll Results: Some 127 readers responded to the last poll on this site asking whether the Fernandina Beach statue of David Yulee in front of the old train station should be removed as favored by City Commissioner Mayor “Marxist Mike” Lednovich or stay put. The majority of voters said keep it, with 88 percent or 112 saying it should stay where it is. Only 3% or 4 folks want it gone, while 9% or 11 people don’t give  rip.  A new poll starting today asks whether the voters would agree to a $23 million bond issue that would raise their property taxes and enable the City Commission to pursue a variety of initiatives with the cash. It’s a simple yes or no question for city residents.

***

Wait! What? X Two: Marine Lt. Colonel Stuart Scheller was tossed in the brig at Camp Lejeune, NC for saying exactly what Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the head of the Joint  Chiefs of Staff General Mark Miley and Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie all said under oath in front of Congress: The US retreat from Afghanistan was a strategic mistake, and the President lied when he said they didn’t recommend at least 2,500 troops, maybe more, should remain, etc.  So far Lt. Colonel Scheller’s defense fund has raised more than $2 million and citizen support has been overwhelming. It would be tragic if he was to be convicted, but if so, then he should be joined in his cell by his trio of superiors, who said the same thing to Congress.

Finding this month’s Playboy Magazine under you teenage son’s mattress would probably result in a stream of mixed emotions. It features a flaming gay male on the cover and represents what may be the ultimate insanity of the woke left.

***

Cackling Kamala: What does Vice President Kamala Harris do all day?

Every time I hear her being interviewed all I hear are cackles for answers. As far as I can tell she has no talent other than deflecting questions with her annoying skreich.

When I was VP of Corporate Communications and Advertising for a Fortune 50 company I had a fellow in the speech writing department who stammered when he was under pressure. It didn’t impact his work. He was a talented writer.

In a way Kamala Harris reminds me of this fellow except she lacks his talent.

I recall an instance when I was in a briefing session with the firm’s blunt talking chairman discussing an upcoming speech he was going to make and who should write it.

He said: “Send in the guy that sounds like Porky Pig.”

Maybe that’s what Joe Biden says when he wants someone to divert attention away from topics he wants to disappear: “Send in the cackler!”

***

This Won’t Hurt & It’s Free: Joe Biden, Jen Psaki, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and other socialist whackos promoting the massive $3.5 trillion plus Build Back Better blow-out bill – the largest spending measure in American history – keep telling us it is paid for and won’t cost a dime. It won’t cost anything they say.

At a press conference early this week Biden said: “Every time I hear this is going to cost A, B, C, or D – the truth is based on the commitment I made, it’s going to cost nothing.”

Ms. Psaki repeats this blather continuously during White House press briefings while the aging old bird Pelosi viciously jabs at the air was her veiny, boney fingers spouting the same codswallop.

Their absurdly ludicrous comments are another indication that they are incapable of embarrassment and that they apparently think we are as simple-minded as they are.

If what they’re peddling was true it would open an exciting array of possibilities.

It means we could dine in restaurants of our choice and walk out the door without paying. When the  proprietor rushes to stop us and presents a bill simply say: “It’s already paid for. Since you pay your suppliers, your employees, your utility bills, your mortgage, your taxes, and other overhead my meal is paid for.”

After dinner wander over to the Mercedes dealership and pick up a brand-new model using the same line of reasoning.

Another possibility is robbing people at gunpoint or scamming them. Thieves can make the case to their victims that the robbery will cost $0 since it would be paid for by the money being stolen.

The thief simply says: “Hands up! You need to fork over your fair share”, then explains to the victims that they shouldn’t be upset because the robbery is totally paid for and would cost zero dollars. It’s socialism at work.

If victims are confused on how the robbery would be paid for, the thief simply responds by saying: “It will be funded by you, since I am taking all your money which makes this robbery deficit-neutral, and therefore totally free! There is nothing to be upset about!”

The thief can also whack the victim on the head for no fee, take all his earthly possessions, then redistribute them to himself and his friends free of charge.

He would be using the same convoluted logic and ignorance of math as the folks driving the Democrat party’s legislative clown car in Washington.

***

Drinking, Dining & Dancing: The Beech Street Grill is open again at its old location, the Bell House, at the corner of South 8th Street and 801 Beech. Instead of leasing the building to another restauranteur owner Ernie Saltmarsh has his Saltmarsh Hospitality Group operating it this time around serving what they call “upscale southern cuisine”.  There is an emphasis on seafood with entrees ranging from scallops and shrimp to flounder and salmon. The most expensive item on the menu I could find was a 12 ounce grilled NY strip at $36 while the dill crusted salmon came in at a reasonable $18. There are plenty of sandwiches including burgers ($14) and crab cakes ($17), and even tacos ($14). A variety of starters include breaded chicken wings, local shrimp, oysters, and a smoked whiting dip, among others. Happy hour runs from 4-6 pm with two bucks off draft beers, well liquor and house wines. I was intrigued by the four $6 Kids menu items that included such fascinating names as the “I’m Not Hungry” cheeseburger, “I Don’t Know” grilled cheese sandwich, “I Don’t Like That” fried chicken tenders and a “I Don’t Care” mac & cheese.  The interior zig-zag bar remains and the dining areas are quiet and cozy. It’s an inviting, comfortable venue with several familiar faces serving and managing this efficiently run operation. Call ’em at 904/432-8836

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16 Comments

JB Friday - 11. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Keep up the good work!

Harvey Slentz - 09. Oct, 2021 - Reply

I believe the city residents deserve a couple of candidates who will say something like “What adverse outcome will city residents suffer if this request is denied? If elected, I will respond to each request for money for things that are NOT obvious essential services – Police, Fire, etc – with the question ‘This is not an essential service. What adverse outcome will city residents suffer if this request is denied?… and don’t say ‘it will increase revenue unless you have a business plan based on demonstrated facts, and you are willing to bet your job on it.’”

The same question would be asked for requested increases in funding essential services: “ What adverse outcome will city residents suffer if this request is denied?”

I used this for many years in leading large ($250 million +) regional areas of a national service provider. Our costs usually dropped, and never exceeded the inflation rate except to meet new government mandates in the least expensive way possible.

George de Tarnowsky - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

It seems to me that flood amelioration of downtown Fernandina Beach is a legitimate infrastructure expense worth of federal support.

John Goshco - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Or – the two dozen properties (including the railroad) in the flood zone could pay for their own protection, not the rest of the citizens who live on (somewhat) higher ground. What’s next, flood amelioration along +/- 10 miles of the Atlantic Ocean? Build that wall! Build that wall!

The Feds? That’s not free money either. Other People’s Money always returns to everyone in one form of Federal taxation or another.

Maureen Dunn - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Dave,
Thank you for exposing the cronyism in this city. You explained the Bond Issue and how it will raise taxes. If we listened to Coleman Langshaw we would all have to be wearing double masks right now ( as stated in his letter to the NewsLeader.) He seems to believe he knows best and is willing to dictate!
Also I am thankful the exquisite brass statue of David Levy Yulee remains in front of our historic train depot. As one of the few Florida Senators and the First Jewish United States Senator he has earned this homage.

Nancy Billington - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

No one here seems to understand that raising the debt ceiling is to pay for monies already spent. Give thanks to Trump and his decision to lower taxes on the wealthy for that debt.

John Goshco - 10. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Just like in my house and yours, money already spent is money SPENT. It has nothing to do with potential future spending.

Current federal revenues (income) are more than sufficient to pay for current debt SERVICE (interest on the debt). At any rate, it would be impossible to pay off the entire national debt at once because there’s just not enough money in the entire country to do that. Current debt is nearly 26% higher than the entire country’s GDP. If ALL the rich and All the corporations and EVERYONE else were taxed at 100% of their income, the Feds would still fall 26% short. Simply put, even though most people can make monthly payments, it would be difficult to pay off the entire balance of their home mortgage at once.

The media, unfortunately, doesn’t properly explain this to the public. They conflate national debt (amount previously owed) with debt service (interest) and debt ceiling (credit limit), sometimes in the same sentence. They may also mention “appropriations” which is money authorized but not yet spent.

Raising the debt ceiling is analogous to asking for a higher limit on your credit card prior to going on a SPENDING SPREE. It has nothing to do with past promises and obligations or past payments made.

For an interesting, and somewhat scary look at Federal finances, please visit the non-partisan web site “UsDebtClock DOT org”. If you hover your cursor over one of the many categories, a brief explanation will appear in the box at the top of the page.

Janice K - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Vince! Traitor Joe says raising the debt ceiling covers old spending….not the new 3.5T porkulous bill that pays for itself! C’mon Man!! How could Tom Cotton get all this sooooo wrong!?!?

Bruce Smyk - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Dave – Coleman Langshaw is right, to a limited degree. Your column is getting repetitive, just ask David Yulee’s statue. However, he suggests your running for Mayor, but as I recall, you have to be on the commission to run. Therefore, you should run for the commission. If you could get like-minded people to run over the next couple of elections, we could have fiscally-sensible and fiscally-sensitive representatives. What about it? If not you, how about the Common Cause people? We need help.

Coleman Langshaw - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

DAVE SCOTT FOR MAYOR! Just stating the obvious here: you cant’s stand Mayor Mike, you hate Commish Ross (you’ve been writing it every week for about the last 100 years, so even a rock knows that by now), you have apparent disdain for Commish Kreger, and now you are seeming to turn your ire and your coat (as in turncoat) towards newcomer Commisses Bean and Sturgess. Is there anyone you don’t dislike or outright hate? As I see it, the count has fallen to 0-5 in your tirade-laden, continually monotonous and redundant blog. I say its time you pony up, along with your like-minded cronies and run for office. Let’s see what the TRUE voters of Fernandina think of you, your ilk and your radical right-wing, mean-spirited, all-talk, no-action, ad nauseum agenda. I know, your gonna give us all the same malarkey about being able to do more as an unelected voice than being an actual representative…which is laughable at best. No one is perfect, Dave, including yourself. I’ve once heard it said that one should do unto others, as you would have done to you…I guess you probably think that is just some corny expression babbled by someone. Good luck with the campaign.

Patrick J. Keogh - 09. Oct, 2021 - Reply

You’re right about Scott; he’s repetitious. But, then, the problems and misfeasance in city government are unrelenting. We have lived, worked and owned property in both the county and city for over 20 years. We have never received a poor public service from the county or a high quality service from the city. If the city government is ever to transform I suspect it will only be under the persistent, disinfecting light caste by journalists the likes of Dave Scott.

Citizens for Change - 10. Oct, 2021 - Reply

What’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander…..think about it.

Samuel - 19. Oct, 2021 - Reply

More BS from the racist moron Langshaw who could not even graduate COLLEGE. You racist white, living off MOM AND DAD POS just move.

We are mobilizing and putting an end to you, Ross, Hill and the other RACIST WHITE PRIVLEDGE MORONS.

Pat Miller - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Love the new Beach Street grill menu and Gonna dine there soon

Vince cavallo - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Senator Cotton made a great comment about the debt ceiling hike. He said why do we have to raise the ceiling when the president says the 3.5+ build back plan will pay for itself.

Peter Waldron - 08. Oct, 2021 - Reply

Thankyou