David Strong’s campaign Web site says, “Winter Park remains financially strong, even as Central Florida has entered uncertain economic times.”
This is complete baloney. Our general fund reserves had to be bolstered by the $1,000,000 sale of land owned by our water company and the cancellation of over $500,000 in previously approved capital projects (among other “adjustments”). Our reserves would be $5,500,000 higher and would have been available to soften the shock of the economic downturn if David Strong had not mismanaged the post office redevelopment controversy. Currently, revenues and spending (and thus service levels) are falling faster than projected in the original 2009 city budget (see below).
David Strong’s campaign Web site says, “In 2008, David guided our city through $2 million in budget cuts, without reducing our quality of life or the city services upon which you depend.”
This is complete baloney. David Strong did not guide anything. He had no choice in the matter. The $2 million in budget cuts were in part State mandated, and also influenced by the state-wide voter approval of Amendment One in January 2008 that raised most homestead exemptions by $25,000, thereby lowering expected property tax revenue. Further, on January 26, 2009 David Strong voted to reduce 2009 budgeted spending by an additional $1.2 million [PJW Edit February 25, 2009: the reduction was $800,000 not $1,200,000]. Why? Because he was forced to by falling city revenues. Note also that the additional $1.2 million spending reduction does not include possible further reductions in property tax revenue resulting from the economic downturn.
THE REALITY IS THAT CITY REVENUE IS FALLING WHILE SPENDING AND RELATED SERVICES ARE FALLING TOO.
David Strong’s campaign Web site says, “In 2008, we have eliminated $2 million from our city expenditures without reducing any services,” said David, “and, at the same time, we have reduced property taxes for the majority of our residents.”
This is also complete baloney. “We” did not reduce property taxes for the majority of our residents. Any decrease you may have realized is a direct result of State mandated cuts and voter approval of Amendment One in January 2008 that raised most homestead exemptions by $25,000. The relevant fact is that David Strong voted to increase our millage rate at a time when our property values have fallen as much as 30%. Click here to understand why David Strong voted to increase your millage rate.