David Strong’s campaign, in contrast, has been based on misinforming the voters. Every mail piece, every email contains the same incomplete, misleading information. (Sound like another mistake we made? Consistent, isn’t it?)
“Our reserves have increased almost $1 million dollars since David became Mayor.” Misleading. The general fund reserves have only increased because David Strong voted to sell off $1,000,000 of city land and cancel $500,000 in city projects in 2008. He also voted to increase the millage rate and to increase transfers from our water company to increase the budgeted 2009 reserves by $800,000. In other words, reserves were created only by diminishing other city assets and by raising taxes, not by generating an operating surplus.
“Winter Park has over $15 million in cash on hand to face unforeseen emergencies.” Misleading. Click here to review the schedule of city reserves as of September 30, 2008 which total $12,000,000. The “cash on hand” varies over time. These reserve balances represent the “cash on hand” available to various city funds. Note that all fund balances except the general fund reserve are set aside for specific purposes. Further, the vast majority of our reserves are in the water utility and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The city cannot spend utility reserves for general purposes without jeopardizing our credit rating. One rating agency has already downgraded our debt. While the water utility has a $10,000,000 reserve the electric utility has a $10,000,000 deficit as of September 30, 2008. The CRA money must be spent within the boundaries of the CRA (basically Fairbanks to 17/92 to Webster to Interlachen). In other words the city DOES NOT have sufficient cash on hand to face unforeseen emergencies.
“In 2008, we eliminated $2 million from our city expenditures without reducing any services.” Misleading. Get the impression we have not reduced any services? An additional $2,000,000 was removed from the 2009 budget including the elimination of 30 employees. The 2009 Budget (see pages 8 and 11 of the budget document) clearly states that services have been reduced. Further, David Strong voted to reduce the 2009 budget an additional $800,000 on January 26, 2009 which further reduces service levels. (I have no argument with reducing service level in bad times. I do have a problem telling voters you aren’t doing this when you are.) Get more information.
“…property taxes paid by the majority of our residents have been reduced.” Technically correct and misleading. David Strong voted to increase the millage rate, increasing taxes on every Winter Park property owner. Understand why he did this.
“David guided our city through the formation of a 10-year financial plan.” FALSE. David Strong had nothing to do with the preparation of a 10 year financial projection that was initiated by Commissioner Anderson and completed by Commissioner Anderson with the aid of city staff. This “plan” is not a plan but a financial spreadsheet with no connection to any plan. Get more information.
Nothing, absolutely nothing David Strong has campaigned on offers us any rational, positive, or professional leadership.
Let’s make a wise choice for Winter Park on Tuesday.