More Misrepresentation

David Strong recently sent out an email that continues to misrepresent his record. He continues to take credit for projects and accomplishments he had little or nothing to do with and continues to tell an incomplete story about taxes and city reserves.

David Strong Claim: Reduced city spending by $2 million in response to reduced revenues caused by the economic downturn.

Reality: Original 2009 budgeted city revenue was reduced by $2,000,000 as a result of State mandated reductions and the passage of Amendment One in January 2008. The City Manager letter that introduces the 2009 budget makes this clear (see page 8 of the PDF file). On January 26, 2009 David Strong voted for an additional $1,200,000 in 2009 budget cuts related to the economic downturn [PJW Edit February 25, 2009: the vote was to reduce spending by $800,000 not $1,200,000].

David Strong Claim: Completed the street scape of Orange Avenue, enhancing its beauty and promoting the economic health for adjacent business owners.

Reality: This project was initiated long before David Strong was elected in 2006.

David Strong Claim: Began placing electric lines underground to reduce power outages and increase reliability.

Reality: This project was initiated long before David Strong was elected in 2006.

David Strong Claim: Expanded the number of events in Central Park, creating a lively, vibrant atmosphere for our merchants, residents and visitors.

Reality: David Strong has nothing to do with approving events in Central Park (this is done by the Parks and Recreation Board). The “vibrant atmosphere” seems to have resulted in more and more empty store fronts along Park Avenue.

David Strong Claim: We accomplished these achievements without diminishing city services or increasing taxes for the majority of our residents.

Reality: The $4,000,000 the city paid to make the developers of the post office redevelopment “whole” (David Strong’s word) led directly to actions needed to re-establish the general fund reserves.

  • David Strong did initiate a study of all the city’s land holdings and initiated the sale of a parcel on University Boulevard held by our water company. The proceeds of $1,000,000 were then transferred to the general fund to shore up reserves.
  • David strong did vote to cancel $500,000 in previously approved capital projects and return this money to the general fund to shore up reserves.
  • David Strong did vote to increase the fee the city gets from our water company from 13.3% to 15% of non-sewer revenues to shore up reserves by close to another $400,000. See the 2009 City Budget.
  • David Strong did vote to increase the 2008-2009 millage rate, increasing taxes on every property owner in Winter Park to generate about $400,000 more general fund revenue to shore up reserves.
  • The end result is that general fund reserves shown at year end 2008 for accounting purposes were generated by diminishing other city assets. Smoke and mirrors anyone?

David Strong Claim: I have proven that I can guide our city through tough economic times. We have trimmed the budget. We have increased our reserves and lowered the taxes for most of our residents.

Reality: see above facts. Here are the things David Strong has actually “guided:”

  • Make the developers of the post office redevelopment project “whole.” Cost: $4,000,000.
  • Sell city land to shore up reserves. Cost: $1,000,000.
  • Take more money from our water company. Cost: $400,000.
  • Cancel capital projects. Cost: $500,000.
  • Increase property taxes. Cost: about $400,000.
  • Approve a Comprehensive Plan that down zones hundreds of millions of dollars of commercial real estate. Cost: $???,???,???.
  • Jeopardize the city’s participation in the Central Florida commuter rail initiative. Cost: $???,???,???.

Let’s stop going backwards and set Winter Park on a rational, positive, and professional course by electing Ken Bradley Mayor of Winter Park. Priceless.


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