Cocoa Beach: Raise Taxes, Spend More.

The City of Cocoa Beach Commission will hold a regular meeting tonight at 7:00 PM. You can see the agenda here.

There are items of interest on the agenda such as negotiating with the United States Tennis Association to run the tennis facilities.

What truly caught our eye was this:

Request to ratify a one-year contract between Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), Public Employee’s Local 6781, and the City of Cocoa Beach from the period of October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018. Article 19 (Wages) is changed as follows: Effective October 1, 2017, bargaining unit employees shall receive an increase of 2% to their base wages, up to the maximum of their wage ranges. Any portion of the 2% increase above the maximum of their wage ranges will be paid as a lump sum not added to the base wages. Wage minimums and maximums shall be 1% above those reflected in Exhibit A of the wage article. The City reserves the right to set the initial wage for new hires above the minimums established in Exhibit A. This is a budgeted item.

This item is on the consent agenda, which means it won’t even be discussed as a separate item.

The problem, as we see it, is two fold:

1) The Mayor and the certain members of the City Commission keep screaming how the City needs more money. We truly do not understand this. Cocoa Beach has more in its budget than the budgets of Port Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbor Beach and Melbourne Beach combined. In fact, the combined budgets of those communities are still millions of dollars below that which Cocoa Beach budgets.

2) Despite having more money budgeted (and because governmental budgets must be balanced) more income that the other towns, Cocoa Beach passed a tax increase.

From the minutes of the September 21, 2017 meeting:

Adopt Resolution No. 2017 -15 – A Resolution of the City Commission of the City of Cocoa Beach of Brevard County, Florida, adopting the final levying of ad valorem taxes for the appropriations to be paid out of the general fund during the Fiscal Year 2018 of the City of Cocoa Beach, Florida; providing for an effective date. (The Commission adopted a tentative millage rate of 5.7298 mils. at the first public hearing on September 6, 2017. The final millage rate may not exceed this, but may be lower. The staff has prepared the budget based on a millage rate of 5.7298 mills, which is higher than the current year millage rate of 5.7298 and a tax increase. The legislatively prescribed tax rate that gives local government the same tax revenue as the year before (i.e. rolled back rate) is 5.0793 mills. The proposed millage rate of 5.7298 mills is 12.81% higher than the rollback rate of 5.0793 mills.)

This is, of course, a “double whammy” for the citizens. Not only are they paying more because their properties have increased in value, they are paying at a higher rate.

What was the vote on this:


It may just be us, but it drives us crazy when municipalities scream that they need more money and then go out, tax people at a higher rate, and then spend the money.

A friend of ours always points out that governments don’t produce anything. They don’t sell anything. They don’t compete in a marketplace. They dont’ have to worry about costs of goods or wages. They don’t have to worry about fees and licenses. Their soul income is money taken from the pockets of people. One would think that would be an incentive to be frugal, but that never seems to be the case.

Tax and spend is alive in Cocoa Beach.

By the way, this meeting, like many others, won’t be broadcast by the City because of equipment that was damaged during hurricane Irma. We aren’t sure what equipment was damaged, (whether it was broadcasting equipment, cameras, computers, etc,) but it seems odd to us that even if the whole system was shot, that no one in the IT department could set up a single camera and record the meetings.

Then again, what do we know?

It’s not as if meetings on the budget, and the Charter Review Committee are important and should be accessible to all – even those who cannot attend, right?

One Response to “Cocoa Beach: Raise Taxes, Spend More.”

  1. Sandy says:

    Unfortunately, the Cocoa Beach fire and police unions have become increasingly political. Both backed Ben Malik, Ed Martinez and Karalyn Woulas last year and were seen out campaigning for them on street corners around town. Whether or not it was while they were on the taxpayer-funded clock, I can’t say. Now it’s payback time for all the promises the mayor and those commissioners made to them and the hoteliers who financed their campaigns.
    Our family supports our first responders but we really wish it didn’t come with a side of politics.