May 25, 2011


 It is all but impossible to believe the last 2 budget meetings that occurred Monday and Tuesday this week.

Monday night the BOC meet downstairs, but moved upstairs because Bernard wanted to.  Charles Hill was absent.  When they all got upstairs Jack sat on the side of the table with his back to the people.  Carl wanted to know why he did that because people wouldn’t be able to hear.  Jack promptly informed him he didn’t care because it was the board’s meeting.

The CFO told “the guys” that instead of going up 3 or so mils she had figured out a way to keep the same amount of money coming in by only going up a little less than 2 mils.  All the commissioners seemed much happier than that.  Other than that little was accomplished.  It sounded like health insurance has gone up a good bit.  When Patrick said that training for commissioners had to be cut back, Bernard jumped on that.  He said they all needed training and 4 commissioners agreed to that and that she was the only one that didn’t.  You don’t think that was cut, do you?  In fact Jack will be going to Sea Palms for another class in June at your expense!

After the budget discussion, Cox wanted to talk about Hodges Farm Rd and the drainage problems.  He told of several problems and Bernard said they would just go against the bond.  That’s when Patrick dropped a bomb.  She handed out copies of the contract she got from the county manager and said it wasn’t a contract and there were no bonds.  Jack immediately wanted to turn it over to the lawyer and not discuss it.  Patrick said no she was going to finish and she did, but it didn’t really make any difference as the rest just shrugged it off.  Patrick wanted a vote on not allowing any more work until there was a contract and a bond, but Bernard said they could not vote in a work session.  You can watch it on YouTube.



Tuesday night was upstairs in the courtroom again with no microphones turned on.  This time Patrick and Pennamon were absent.  Bernard, the attorney, county manager and CFO all set with their backs to the people and it was hard to hear.  This must have been planned because when Sharon Robinson tried to turn up the microphones and got feedback, Jack let her know that it was their meeting (he should have said HIS meeting) and the people didn’t need to hear.  Heck no!  The people are only supposed to do what Jack wants—pay enough taxes to pave Jackson Lake Rd.

Another plan had to be hatched ahead of time too.  The new FAIR TAX is now called something else like a special tax district.  It will be a $100 fee for residences and more for businesses.  Senior citizens will only pay $50.  The fee will be for Fire, EMS, and the Hospital.  Steve Jordan and Stuart Abney from the hospital were there and so was Jeff Bratcher from EMS, so they all had to know about this plan ahead of time as well. 

From what little could be heard it sounds like the millage rate will still go up, we will all have a flat tax, and there won’t be much cutting from the budget.  At Monday night’s meeting there was over a $700,000 shortfall, but with Jack’s fair tax, this will all vanish and there will be plenty of money to put into contingency and build up the fund balance, that is according to him.  Jack then wanted to vote on the matter without Patrick and Pennamon there and said as long as 3 of them were there they could.  But Monday night he told them they couldn’t vote. 

Jack was in total charge of the meeting and everything that was decided on the budget.  The chairman only was allowed to bang the gavel to start and end the meeting.

The taxpayers were not supposed to hear what was going on and may not be told.  Kathy Mudd from the paper did not show up at the Tuesday night meeting either, so what actually went on won’t be reported.

Please check back on www.youtube.com/gajasper to view any videos of Tuesday night’s meeting.


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