When we received our tax bill last November, there was a 25.5 percent Sumter County tax increase which was approved by the three incumbents running in the Aug. 18 Republican primary. Prior to voting for this increase, all five County Commissioners held public hearings so that “the people” could be heard on the subject. The commissioners listened to the objections of the voters and, without any comment, passed the increase unanimously.
Well, now, “we the people”, have a chance to roll back that tax increase. How? By voting in a new slate of Commissioners in the Republican primary on Aug. 18. Since three of the Commissioners are up for election, if we vote for the opposition candidates Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search, (the EMS team), the people would gain control of the county commission. These three candidates are running on a platform that includes rolling back the tax increase and making county government more transparent, and returning control of the county government to the people of Sumter County.
You ask how would it be possible to roll back the tax increase? Since the increase was caused by the Developer’s continued building below State Road 44, it seems logical that the costs should be borne by the Developer. How is it possibly fair that the beneficiaries of the improvements south of State Road 44, the new homeowners, should be borne by the existing homeowners north of State Road 44?
Impact fees are imposed by local governments to provide for the additional costs of that development. These costs include road additions or modifications, additional fire facilities, parks, libraries, etc. Impact fees should be borne by the Developer and the newcomers who are benefiting from these improvements. The county commissioners could have increased the impact fees paid for the homes south of State Road 44. Instead, they burdened the existing homeowners with these costs. Remember, the additional taxes we all paid last year was not just a one year increase. That increase is forever, regardless of any reductions we may receive in the future, unless it is rolled back.
My wife and I have already sent in our mail-in ballot voting for Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search. We hope all concerned Republicans* will join us and vote for the EMS team, via mail-in ballot, early voting from Aug. 8 to Aug. 15 or on Aug. 18. Let “the people” take back control of our county government!
To learn more about the candidates and the reversing of the tax increase, go to the website, Fair Government For Sumter County by clicking www.fg4s.org. (If typing, you must put in the www. to get to the site.)
*Unfortunately, because of the incumbents’ use of fake candidates (Wahl and Prince), over 45,000 non-Republicans are being disenfranchised and kept from participating in the effort to clean up the County Commission.
Jay Kaplan is a resident of the Village of Sabal Chase.