How Waterville ought to spend taxpayer cash

Garbage disposal, water and sanitation, police, fire and emergency services are critical functions of the city administration, and a dynamic leisure department is a bonus, but I don’t expect any of these services to be profitable.

It is commendable that Waterville’s public works division is generating revenue after requiring residents to use prepaid garbage bags. Also kudos to the fire chief, who has been generating income since setting up a collaborative rescue service with Delta. The revenue from the fire department’s emergency services was generated in a decommissioning fund and was originally capped at $ 150,000; The cap has just been raised to $ 300,000 by the city council.

While these funds are not intended to be used as an indicator of the purchase of a new fire truck, ambulance, or other equipment, why should these funds not be included in Waterville’s general fund in the same way as those from garbage bag purchases? The Waterville Police Department did not and should not have a special decommissioning fund of money from parking tickets to justify the new purchases of equipment such as body cameras currently being discussed. These budget decisions should be based on municipal priorities and revenues. Likewise, a municipal swimming pool, walking paths, public parks with playground equipment are not budgetary decisions that depend on whether the leisure department charges usage fees.

As a property owner and taxpayer in Waterville, I want a city government to allocate the money they collect from me, the city departments, the state and federal governments, or the TIFs and bonds, with the community’s contribution and through the annual budget process.

This process should identify and then prioritize what equipment, services, human resources, etc. are needed and when they are needed, whether or not an urban department is generating revenue.

Diane Weinstein

Waterville

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‘Air Of Narcissism’ – Former Sheriff Morgan Used $75Ok In Taxpayer Cash For Statues Of Himself, Ok-9 Officer : NorthEscambia.com

Former Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan, according to the document, spent tens of thousands of dollars on a life-size bronze statue of himself before leaving office last year.

Morgan used $ 75,000 in tax dollars on statues for a New York state company. One was Morgan in his sheriff’s uniform, complete with Air Force medals, while he stood and saluted. The second was the former Escambia County Lt. Jason Potts and his K-9. They were appointed in April 2020 before Morgan stepped down. Two checks were made to settle the bill, one in April 2020 and the other in August 2020.

Morgan reportedly planned to erect his 6-foot-4-inch statue near a memorial to fallen officers outside the sheriff’s office.

Escambia County’s current Sheriff Chip Simmons said Wednesday that Morgan’s statue will not see the light of day.

“I have no intention of putting the former sheriff’s statue here in front of this building or anywhere in this building,” Simmons said.

You don’t normally build a statue of yourself and make taxpayers pay for it, ”added Simmons. “I think it’s a bit of a waste of money. That’s why I tried to cancel it when I first found it. I think it’s a bit bold. I think it has a touch of narcissism. “

The nameplate was removed from the statue of Potts with his K-9. With its generic appearance as a proxy and K-9, it can still be used anywhere at ECSO>

But the Morgan statue will stay in the warehouse.

“Maybe we can melt it down and use it. But at this point this statue is not going to be placed here in the Escambia Co. Sheriff’s office, ”Simmons said.

Images via WEAR 3 for NorthEscambia.com. Click to enlarge.

Written by William Reynolds Filed Under TOP STORIES

Payments need new stadium to be utterly funded by taxpayer cash

For most of the new stadiums funded with public money, taxpayers do not pay the full bill. In Buffalo, that’s what the Bills want the citizens to do.

According to Tom Precious of Buffalo News, Pegula Sports and Entertainment has tabled a $ 1.5 billion proposal for a new Bills stadium and renovation costs for the arena where the Buffalo saber Play hockey. According to the report, the proposal is calls for the cost of the new Bills Stadium to be fully covered by public funds.

According to the report, this is a “non-runner”.

And here’s the kicker from the article that will meet a loud and hostile reaction from all Bills fans in Buffalo who refuse to acknowledge the reality that football is a business: “The team has no open threats, according to sources Definitely leave Buffalo if it doesn’t get the full funding request, but it has made it clear to government negotiators that there are other cities elsewhere that would want and pay well for an NFL franchise.

Here is the fundamental reality when it comes to stadium politics. The owners ask for free money to keep the team where it is. When that money isn’t available, they look to other cities that would be willing to pay the bill – either as leverage or as a real and genuine alternative.

That’s why the Raiders left Oakland. They couldn’t get much (or any) public money to stay where they were. You have a huge amount of it to move to Las Vegas. So they did.

And when a team is going to pay for their own stadium (Bill’s co-owner Kim Pegula previously said they cannot afford that).

That’s why the Rams left St. Louis. Stan Kroenke, who could have gotten sizable public money in St. Louis, decided to write the check for his own apartment because he believes it will pay off and more.

The story goes on

It’s too early in Buffalo to suspect the Bills might move. However, the Pegulas may have to convince state and local officials that they are ready to move the team in order to get the kind of public money they want.

It is also quite possible that the 100 percent proposal is just a prelude and that the Bills are willing to partially finance the stadium with Pegula funds or PSLs. Regardless, the end result will surely be somewhere between 100 percent and zero; the fact that everything is supposed to be covered by taxpayers’ money suggests that the total death toll is closer to 100 than zero.

We’ll see where it goes from here. The Pegulas supposedly want a quick fix. The current lease expires in 2023. So the clock is ticking and the battle lines come into focus. At a time when Bills fans have reason to look forward to their team, they may soon have to worry about the potential exit.

Bills want the new stadium to be financed entirely from taxpayers’ money originally appeared on Professional soccer talk

Taxpayer cash could also be in play

Florida State University is examining the use of taxpayers’ money to fund, at least in part, planned renovations at Doak Campbell Stadium through the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.

The inflow of funds raised over the past 20 years through a sales tax election initiative could be used in some of the stadium’s key improvements as the university continues to analyze the need for a convention center, which has already been allocated $ 30 million.

Emails the Tallahassee Democrat received upon request from public records indicate that Seminole Boosters CEO and President Michael Alford introduces Doak as a boon to economic development at a time when the university is growing at a time Has to fight deficit in her athletics department and is collecting donations for the stadium renovations and a football-only facility.

Background story:The FSU athletics deficit continues to grow, according to David Coburn, additional measures may be needed

And:Doak’s future? The FSU shares possible renovation plans for the football stadium

The emails show conversations between Alford and Department of PLACE Director of Planning, Land Management and Community Improvement Ben Pingree in late March, which included presentations on planned renovations to the stadium submitted to the FSU Board of Trustees.

The emails signal that the university is considering using dollars for economic development by showing how lucrative their football program is for tourism in Leon County.

It’s unclear whether money could be pushed away from the convention center to fund multiple projects at the FSU stadium, or when such a proposal could be presented to the IA board of directors, all 12 city and county officials, but blueprint officials say that nothing formal was suggested.

While FSU and Booster officials have been narrow-minded, there is some precedent in using taxpayer dollars on athletics facilities as the IA decided in September to pull money from the convention center’s allotment and steer it towards it Much-needed renovation work at Bragg Memorial Stadium.

In an interview with the Democrat, Alford didn’t respond directly to whether Boosters would apply for blueprint funding, but instead noted one key requirement for obtaining it: a community-wide benefit.

“To be clear, I was not involved in the talks at the Convention Center. My primary focus with the Seminole Boosters is building a strong fundraising organization and running the sports facilities that are vital to Tallahassee and Leon County’s economic base. “he said to the Democrat.

“FSU Athletics is having a huge economic impact on our community. Our football program alone has an economic impact of approximately $ 100 million on Leon County,” he continued. “We hired Populous (an architectural firm) to help us describe the opportunities and community benefits that improvements to our sports facilities could bring. We look forward to rolling out this updated information soon.”

Before:FSU applies for approval to raise funds to renovate Doak Campbell Stadium

Ben Pingree

Pingree said at the moment that the FSU is still analyzing the need for a convention center, which has been the subject of controversy among those who say it is a vanity project with little community use.

“If the FSU makes a new request, we will submit it to the IA board,” Pingree said in an interview with the Democrat. “At this point in time, no request has been made.”

“Preliminary talks”

Pingree referred to email discussions with Alford as “preliminary,” which includes discussions about the convention center’s analysis, conducted by an outside consultant.

He said the impact assessment would receive a status update of the proposal at its May meeting and the FSU was in the process of finalizing its own analysis of the project.

In an email to Blueprint staff in late March, Pingree requested that the information provided by Alford about the stadium renovations be included in the “Next Steps” section of an upcoming Convention Center agenda item.

Michael Alford, President and CEO of Seminole Boosters

FSU and Blueprint officials have expressed hesitation about the prospect of channeling $ 30 million from one project to another.

“The funding approved by the IA board is subject to the actions of the IA board. Currently, $ 30 million has been allocated, ”said Pingree. “That amount can certainly move based on the future direction of the IA board. You are waiting for an analysis of this project. “

Likewise, FSU officials are reluctant to say whether they intend to withdraw from the idea of ​​the convention center.

When asked if FSU is considering asking Blueprint to shift the focus of funding, the executive director of the University’s Real Estate Foundation Kevin Graham failed to provide details in an email. Instead, he recorded the history of the project and said, “Obviously there were many twists and turns along the way.”

“$ 99.9 Million Economic Impact on Leon County”

Through emails with Pingree, Alford delivered a presentation pre-made to the sports department in April that outlined and led the potential renovation work for Doak Authorization to raise funds to fund them.

Most of the proposals are about diversifying the seating options, incorporating chair backs, and offering premium club boxes and suites near the sidelines to create a premium fan experience. It is expected that the planned renovations could reduce the capacity of the Doak Campbell Stadium from nearly 80,000 to around 70,000.

Alford’s emails do not mention the proposed convention center but describe the need for stadium renovations and the potential economic impact.

A March 29 email from Alford discusses the economics of an FSU home soccer game, showing stadium investments at the Atlantic Coast Conference over the past 20 years. FSU ranked 6th with $ 85 million invested over the past two decades.

The core of Alford’s information: 91% of nearly 6,000 respondents want renovations, and more people in their seats mean more community income.

“Football game weekends bring a significant amount of tourism to Leon County. During the football season, out-of-town contestants generated $ 51.1 million in direct spending on seven home games, ”Alford wrote. He explained the number of hotel rooms booked for football and other sports and the total revenue generated when visitors spend the night eating and shopping.

“Visitors also booked 74,427 nights and spent $ 10,125,000 on accommodation. Overall, FSU’s home games in 2018 resulted in an economic impact of $ 99.9 million on Leon County. On average, participants in football matches outside of the city spent $ 465 per day and $ 1,209 per trip. “

Convention center piggy bank?

The convention center in the FSU-proposed Arena district, which connects the campus to the Civic Center, is funded by economic development funds as it could have a potential impact on the attractiveness of events and related trade in Tallahassee, the only state capital in the south without a convention center.

Connected:Call room service: Florida State University can build its own hotel in Tallahassee

However, funding for this has become an open fund for other athletics programs that need renovation.

Last fall, $ 10 million of that money was donated to Florida A&M University to help renovate the school’s Bragg Stadium, where the soccer team plays.

The move to allocate money to FAMU for athletics facilities because of its economic impact could have set a precedent for using dollars for economic development.

More:Money from the FSU congress center to finance the renovation of the FAMU stadium

Months after deciding to pay for Bragg renovations, Blueprint re-signaled that the company was ready to pump money into track and field facilities at Tallahassee Community College as it had a presentation and a $ 1 million request from TCC for the first time – President Jim Murdaugh entertained.

In February, Murdaugh made the case that the funds would bring improvements to various athletics facilities that are on campus but are used more widely by the community. The board of directors voted to return an item on the agenda to the funding request.

The FSU first applied for funding of the convention center through Florida legislation for PECO (Public Education Capital Outlay) in 2018, but the allocation was not made. So the university reached out to the IA, stating that they could take on a $ 20 million project for a smaller center but would want something more substantial.

However, the “high” demand for conferences that could fill the space described in a 2019 feasibility study has declined significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2020, Blueprint officials increased the allocation to $ 40 million, sparking backlash among some members of the public and some commissioners who want investment in other parts of the city instead.

During recent discussions, City Commissioner Curtis Richardson said the convention center was among projects approved by 60 percent of voters that extended the 2014 infrastructure and economic development sales tax. He said there was “an obligation for these voters to consider further development.” Project that has been approved. “

However, his colleague City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has often criticized the convention center and the public funds allocated for it.

“Is the convention center more important than investing in affordable housing, expanding access to capital for black and women-owned businesses, or meeting our basic neighborhood infrastructure needs like sidewalks and broadband access?” he asked in an April Facebook post.

“We are responsible for ensuring that local tax dollars go to the public. While a convention center could be a great asset to the university, local sales tax is not a suitable source to finance it. “

Contact Karl Etters at ketters@tallahassee.com or @KarlEtters on Twitter.

Don’t Miss A Story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.

Op-Ed: Biden shouldn’t throw extra taxpayer cash at broadband | Nationwide

President Joe Biden’s American employment plan, which includes a laundry list of infrastructure proposals valued at $ 2 trillion, seeks to allocate more tax dollars ($ 100 billion) to broadband despite a flawed government track record on high-speed Internet.

A White House statement on the plan said the goal is to bring “affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband” to “every American, including more than a third of rural Americans who currently lack broadband access.” The plan calls for $ 100 billion in tax dollars to be used towards this goal.

Taxpayer dollars are already being spent on broadband and it’s not going very well. A US Government Accountability Office report found that federal spending on digital divide programs totaled $ 47.3 billion between 2009 and 2017. This assignment pales in comparison to the $ 172 billion Private sector spending from 2011 to 2020.

The Associated Press noted that despite this government spending, the gap persists. Over the next decade, an additional $ 20 billion has been allocated for rural broadband, an additional $ 9 billion for 5G in rural areas, and billions more for the COVID-19 pandemic. None of these conspicuous sums include the $ 100 billion proposed by the Biden government. And thanks to efforts by the private sector, a staggering 1.3 million (340,000 rural) additional households have broadband availability as of 2019.

Daniel Lyons, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said the government’s plan to make sure every American has high-speed internet is a priority, but “the devil is in the details.”

The plan states that the administration intends to “future-proof” the broadband infrastructure that will be built with the allocated funds, but as Lyons notes, “predicting the future of the telecommunications network is a breeze.” Although small cellular operators have done the work of Yeoman in recent years to connect some of the hardest-to-reach rural areas, Biden’s plan would focus on fiber optic networks.

“The picking of winners and losers among the network models undermines the intermodal competition that drives all technology and increases the chances of finding the most efficient way to serve individual pockets of unserved customers,” Lyons wrote.

He also notes that the plan mentions underserved and underserved areas in the same breath, although these are two very different terms. Prioritizing unserved areas would steer infrastructure where it is needed most, while allocating funds for underserved areas can sometimes lead to overbuilding. This is especially true as there is no precise definition of what it means that an area is underserved.

Michael Powell, President and CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, released a statement on the plan that the government is “taking the risk of seriously wrong turn” to promote state networks and close the digital divide. The impetus for this rhetoric comes from the government’s insistence on treating broadband like a utility company.

“This shift is being fueled by the mistaken amalgamation of our successful modern digital networks with our decaying roads, bridges, waterways and power grids,” said Powell. “While we’ve seen repeated examples of traditional infrastructure outages over the past few years, America’s broadband has been a dependable workhorse as millions of Americans have worked, learned, and connected from home during the pandemic.”

Similar to the infrastructure failures mentioned by Powell, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been reporting on the failures of state-owned networks for years. Examples are not missing and many are highlighted on TPAs Broadband boondoggles Website and GON With the wind Report published last year.

The private sector is more than capable of closing the digital divide if it is freed from the shackles of onerous regulation. Rather than throwing more tax dollars on broadband at a time when national debt is piling up at a record rate, the Biden government would be better able to cut red tape and get the private sector to work.

The private sector has and will close the digital divide more efficiently – all without taxpayers’ money.

Johnny Kampis is a Senior Fellow and investigative reporter for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Poor bus service a waste of taxpayer cash

After hearing Mayor (Mark) Lauretti’s seven-minute speech at the Board of Alderman meeting last week, I need to shed light on two points that were raised. The whole speech is about Shelton citizens criticizing the current administration, specifically citing the problems with Shelton Student Transportation Services and the substandard service it provides. It also praises the bus trips completed and implies that taxpayers should happily pay for bus trips that are less than 100 percent.

To quote from the speech, speaking of negative comments on the bus connection, “Where was that comment last year when the city took over the buses? Practically nonexistent. “Well, Mr. Mayor, if you had attended the public part of the BOA meetings at the beginning of the 2019 school year, you would have heard it firsthand. The parents came out and talked about the problems with the bus connection. Some spoke and gave pictures of children sitting in the aisles on overcrowded high school buses, others talked about missed stops and buses that didn’t show up at all. For the real issues and concerns, see the meeting notes or the city’s Youtube videos from past meetings.

Mayor Lauretti also stated that the lack of service “has nothing to do with the resources we need to service it, but it has everything to do with the fact that there is a pandemic.” I would like to point out that the resources are increasing of the bus company amount to two resources, the buses and the drivers. While the city of Shelton owns the buses, the city’s drivers are busy.

The city of Shelton decided to fire the bus drivers while schools were closed from March to June 2020 and then again from November 2020 to January 2021. If the city valued its resource, the drivers, it would not have fired them. These drivers left the company and chose other bus companies or other employment opportunities. They would most likely have stayed if they had been kept in salary.

The state of Connecticut urged all cities to keep their drivers on payroll. Shelton didn’t. Choosing to save money by laying off the drivers, she now wants to attribute the shortage of drivers to the pandemic and the sick. City of Shelton – you made a bad decision, you let go of your precious resource and instead of admitting you made a mistake, you are using the pandemic as a smoke screen to cover your inability to run a bus company.

Shelton citizens with no students in the school system please see what’s going on. The city is wasting your tax money. They take the BOE money for bus transportation and don’t offer the full service they are contractually bound to. And to make it worse, the city believes it is acceptable to only offer part of the service and wants you to think so, too.

Elisa Uhrynowski

Shelton’s parents and residents

Arkansas legal professional normal sued, allegedly misused taxpayer cash

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – One lawsuit alleges that Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge misused her office to promote her political endeavors and illegally use tax dollars.

The lawsuit filed Friday in the Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock alleged Rutledge exceeded her authority by filing failed lawsuits reversing the results of the Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin presidential elections, as well as promoting media outlets about the services your office speaks, supports.

“Rutledge … served as the Arkansas state attorney general in highly partisan political activity to promote her political standing and promote her own political ambitions at the expense of Arkansas taxpayers,” the lawsuit said.

Rutledge denies the allegations and calls them politically motivated, said spokeswoman Stephanie Sharp.

“The attorney general has the discretion to act on behalf of the people of Arkansas. This is a frivolous lawsuit and we will ask that it be dismissed, ”Sharp told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Rutledge from transgressing her authority and repaying approximately $ 1.7 million for media advertising.

Rutledge, a Republican who was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018, has announced plans to run for governor in 2022.

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