August 19, 2015 at 9:58 am

$368.2 Million in School District Debt

$368.2 Million in School District Debt

Another Reason to Vote against the Penny Sales Tax

Another reason why we believe the voters of Lake County should vote against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax) on November 3, 2015 is there are no restrictions for putting Lake County taxpayers in debt.

One of the primary reasons why the Lake County School District is in financial shambles is due to the huge debt that was built up while now Lake County Commission Chairman Jimmy Conner ramrodded the Lake County School Board.  When Conner left the School Board, the School District had more than $600 million in debt, and in 2015 (some seven years later) the outstanding long-term debt is $368.2 million.  Based on the current debt—every man, woman, and child in Lake County is on the hook for $1,166.

Conner and the abuse of the old Penny Sales Tax revenue source are the primary reasons why the Lake County School District is in debt up to its eyeballs.

In short, the Lake County School District is Greece—a government created financial disaster, which would be bankrupt if it were a business.  We believe the School District must be forced to pay as they go for construction projects, because in 2015-16 the School District will pay $34.3 million in debt service payments with $10.9 million being in interest.  In long-term debt, the School District is projected to spend $100.7 million in just interest payments with most of it going to the shady Certificates of Participation (COPs), which were used to build schools.  The real question we should all be asking is, “Who got paid in the COPs?”

Seeing is believing.  This is a link to the Lake County Schools Summary of Debt Service at June 30, 2015

Instead of paying $100.7 million in interest payments, the Lake County School District should be paying cash for schools with no debt.  The Penny Sales Tax should only be used for new student stations and not to pay down debt.  The reason why the Lake County School Board members are hyperventilating on the Penny Sales Tax vote is because they do not want any restrictions on how the money is spent—and yes, they want to use it on old debt while bonding it out for new debt.  You know, the rob Peter to pay Paul method of bill paying.  The citizens of Lake County should give the School Board a dose of reality and force them to contend with this old debt out of the operational budget.  The fiscal madness has got to stop.

Vote against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax) in November to force fiscal responsibility on the Lake County School Board, and then make them change the ballot measure to restrict its use only for new student stations and a pay as you go method.  Under our group’s proposal, an elected Penny Sales Tax Board would audit how the money is spent and ensure the Board follows the rules—we need this.

On November 3, 2015, Vote Against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax), because the referendum is badly written and you don’t want to give the politicians a blank check.  Let’s make them do it right—the ordinance should only be used for new schools, roads, and utilities while protecting Lake County taxpayers and workers. 

If you would like someone to come and speak to your group about the Penny Sales Tax, 

Please get the facts out to your family, friends, and neighbors by sharing this email with everyone in your address book.

We would like to hear from you on today’s newsletter.  Go to www.lakecountygov.info and let us know what you think.  You can leave a comment on this newsletter, or you can click on the “What’s on Your Mind?” button to leave a comment about something you feel strongly about.

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August 12, 2015 at 10:28 am

Best Argument for Voting Against Penny Sales Tax


Lake County Commissioner District 2 Sean Parks

Thank You Commissioner Parks—Roads Are the Priority

In a Daily Commercial article headlined Officials: No penny tax, no road work, Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks said that without the Penny Sales Tax revenue, “It would be devastating for economic development and road projects in Lake County.”  He then went on further to state that many major new road projects in Lake County would be in jeopardy.

Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director T.J. Fish said that losing the tax would take away a funding stream to advance regional road projects.  Lake County Public Works Director Jim Stivender said, “You want to have safe roads for passage of vehicles and pedestrians.  You have to keep spending money to make that happen.”

You know, we think all three of them—Commissioner Parks, Fish, and Stivender—are absolutely correct.  That is why the voters of Lake County should Vote Against the proposed Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax) on November 3, 2015, because the ordinance, as it is written, guts the funding allocation for roads.   The Daily Commercial article and comments by these government officials validate the position of Citizens for Better Government, L.L.C.—the proposed ordinance was poorly written and hastily done to allow spending on non-essential projects.  Lake County Commission Chairman Jimmy Conner has put his wants over Lake County’s needs.

Would you rather have new, safer roads or pickle ball courts?  Thank you Commissioner Parks for validating the reasons why Lake County voters should Vote Against the Penny Sales Tax.  The current tax does not expire until December 31, 2017.  The Lake County Board of County Commissioners placed it on the 2015 ballot in an effort to suppress voter turnout, so they can use the money for non-essential pet-projects.

The Lake County Commission is spending $400,000 of taxpayers’ money on an election that could have been held for free in March 2016.  A Lake County School Board member tried to justify the spending of $400,000, saying it was less than 1 percent of the tax’s total worth.  Let us ask you, is $400,000 real money to you?  Do you need any more examples of how badly government has lost its way?

We support a broad-based Penny Sales Tax, not this one.  The money should be used for priorities like roads, new student stations, and city utilities.  It should not be used for most of the non-essential items listed on the county’s website.

The Penny Sales Tax should be governed by an elected Penny Sales Tax Board, which will dole out the money to ensure it is being spent on the county’s needs. Plus, they should establish an 80 percent target of the tax money collected be spent in Lake County hiring local companies and local workers.  It is time to make government accountable.  Finally, the tax money should only be used for new projects.  We must pay as we go—no more bonding the money out on a promise of tomorrow, and taking the money to pay old debt.

This is a commonsense approach, and in these uncertain economic times it is a very reasonable position.  The voters in Lake County need to Vote Against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax) on the November 3rd ballot.  Make the politicians do it right next year—NO BLANK CHECKS.

Once again, thanks Commissioner Parks for making the argument to Vote Against the Penny Sales Tax.

On November 3, 2015, Vote Against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax), because the referendum is badly written and you don’t want to give the politicians a blank check.  Let’s make them do it right—the ordinance should only be used for new schools, roads, and utilities while protecting Lake County taxpayers and workers. If you would like someone to come and speak to your group about the Penny Sales Tax, 
Please get the facts out to your family, friends, and neighbors by sharing this email with everyone in your address book.We would like to hear from you on today’s newsletter.  Go to www.lakecountygov.info and let us know what you think.  You can leave a comment on this newsletter, or you can click on the “What’s on Your Mind?” button to leave a comment about something you feel strongly about.The easiest and fastest way to get your copy of The Right Side of the Lake is to “Like Us” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rightsideofthelake.Please forward this email to everyone on your list.  If you have not signed up for our free email newsletter service, be sure to sign up at our website www.lakecountygov.info.

Donate to The Right Side

Funding for the The Right Side of the Lake comes from readers like you. Please help support our efforts to provide a non-partisan voice for the working people in local government issues. We will continue to fight all taxes, fees and regulations which unduly burden the lives of working men and women. Please click the “view in browser” link at the top of the page in order for the Donate button to work.
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