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Palm Bay: Bond. Street Bond.

The Palm Bay City Council will hold an “off day” regular meeting tonight starting at 7:00 PM. The agenda can be found here.

There are several things we find interesting.

First is the proposed language for the ballot for the proposed issuance of a bond for City infrastructure (New Business Item 1):

OFFICIAL BALLOT
CITY OF PALM BAY, FLORIDA
BOND REFERENDUM ELECTION- NOVEMBER 6, 2018
BONDS FOR ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS IN PALM BAY

Shall the City be authorized to issue general obligation bonds for the exclusive purpose of improving local roadways and ancillary facilities and eliminating potholes in an amount not to exceed $150,000,000, payable from annual ad valorem taxes maturing not later than twenty years from the date of each issuance and bearing interest at a rate not exceeding the maximum legal rate, with all expenditures reviewed by a citizens advisory committee?

For bonds _____ Against bonds _____

We always get nervous when we terms that are not defined. There is no definition in the ballot language or the ordinance itself which tells people what an “ancillary facility” is, what projected plans there are for these facilities or even some estimated costs.

Second item of interest is the Position Control Plan (New Business Item 2). This is a fascinating look at the number of people and pay scales for Palm Bay employees.

Third item is also on the “New Business” agenda and is Item 5 which is the approval of tax incentives for an unknown company to move the Palm Bay. The company has been given the name “Project Rainbow” and is said to make medical instruments. While it is fine to say that people want new businesses here in the area, we shouldn’t be dealing blindly. We shouldn’t be saying “we are going to relieve you of 80% of your tax burden for 8 years” without knowing what company is coming and what is on the public record about them such as safety records, etc.

This is just another one of those things where “transparency” doesn’t relate to some things and it should.

Hope to see you at the meeting.



4 Responses to “Palm Bay: Bond. Street Bond.”

  1. CARMINE VITALE says:

    Regarding the “”maximum legal rate”… if you ask the average tax payer and voter in Palm Bay what that rate is, most won’t know. This is an issue for me and should be for them when something like this is being considered. This is the same thing that happened with the storm-mater debacle back in 2016 and the broad language they used. This bond referendum needs to show specific numbers and a definitive description to fancy terms, and only then can the voters make an educated decision. I hope this time around the voters ask the right questions and request clarification to the language before council moved forward.

    • AAfterwit says:

      Carmine Vitale,

      Once again, thanks for the comment.

      Your point is well taken, but is there really an answer that can fit within the mandated number of words for a ballot issue like this?

      None of us knows the amount of time it is going to take to burn through the $150 million (if approved.) We don’t think that the City can or will use the money on new roads or repaving / repairing / rebuilding roads in one shot as that leaves no money for potholes. We believe this will be a series of bonds ie one project followed by another by another….

      The problem is, as we see it, the max legal interest rate can and will change over time. We think that means a hard number within the ballot language itself is not possible.

      Certainly, however, we would like to see the rate defined in the ordinance. For example, if we are talking about prime plus a certain number, that would be good to know.

      We aren’t bright enough to offer precise and definite solutions on this, but we definitely agree with you that it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

      Maybe someone can bring this up at the meeting tonight, and ask that language within the resolution define terms.

      A. Afterwit.

  2. John Mendoza says:

    If “legal fees” can be considered part of the stormwater infrastructure project, then “ancillary facilities” must be that new city hall they’ve been wanting to build. No wonder the voters won’t approve a bond. Nobody in their right mind would give these crooks access to that kind of money. Fix the wording, get trustworthy people on the council, get a trustworthy city manager, then we can talk.

  3. Hometown says:

    It appears his amendment gives the commission a “blank check” to borrow up to $150 million and spend it however they want after getting approval from a “citizens advisory committee” (which will most likely be an appointed, not elected committee) with no resident approval. Palm Bay residents had better really trust their elected officials to do the right thing before they approve this amendment. With all the current drama in PB a better solution might be to let the residents continue to decide on each major project at the ballot rather than giving the city commissioners free reign over this amount of money.

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