Oversight > Oversight

     OVERSIGHT                                             OVERSIGHT

I would like to publicly thank all of the Lake Park residents who have been so busy behind the scenes keeping an eye on our Town. They’ve acknowledged their responsibility as citizens, are paying attention to town decisions and are off the couch and DOING SOMETHING.

They have exhausted the final hours of many long nights with eyes half-open while they research, penned repeated concerns and queries to Town officials, attended meetings where they are sometimes treated with condescension, asked questions til they’re blue in the face, wracked their brains over details and facts, and they’ve spoken out, venturing far from places of comfort to do so.

The work they’re doing has no pay, except the satisfaction of knowing they are helping retain and/or gain back the opportunity for EVERYONE to freely live and prosper in our town. Their goal is to hold this town accountable for the choices made, the direction taken, the actions implemented, and during the process, to make things better for all of us (not just select groups). They don’t come with their hand out hoping to take something from the town, they come offering their service instead.

While providing OVERSIGHT (The action of overseeing something) (as a concerned citizen) regarding our Town’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Sue Lloyd is one of those who has been busy on behalf of those of us who live and work in Lake Park. Through research and after meeting with town officials & employees as well as other concerned residents, she has sought to become informed about and discuss the viability of the CRA. Sue has followed up with questions to the Town Manager and has stepped out and publicly commented on the CRA at a Town Commission meeting.

She intended to bring further concerns to the public Wednesday night at the meeting, but unfortunately, due to an OVERSIGHT (the unintentional failure to do something) her comment card was misplaced by the Mayor during the shuffle and she was not afforded that opportunity. The Mayor publicly apologized toward the end of the night, however, the moment to present her comments was lost. Those comments have been copied below in the interest of giving voice to her questions and concerns. Thanks, Sue, for shedding light on the Lake Park CRA. We look forward to hearing more in the days to come.

I would first like to thank Ms. Davis, and staff for  meeting with the Citizens Requiring Accountability from Politicians and providing some insight regarding the Community Redeveloping Agency. In short the CRA.

She explained how our Town ended up owing the County 3.7 million , without one thing being done to our town. Total lack of follow up by the commission at that time. We are still making huge payments and the fine will not be paid off until 2014.

We also learned how the money is being paid back. It is stated on the town website that the  CRA is self funding and it will not raise the citizens taxes. Of course, as was demonstrated by the commission at the last meeting as they were preparing a letter to Karen Marcus regarding the inter local agreement  – it  is all about how you word things.

It states that taxes won’t be raised – but General Fund Taxes are being used to pay back to the county and General Fund Taxes encompasses all of Lake Park-not just the CRA Boundary. So in fact, the CRA is not self funding and the citizens of Lake Park, outside of the CRA boundary,  are paying back the fines.

As we all know there is no such thing as free money and the stipulations required are often very costly to the citizens.

The CRA employee salaries are also partially funded by the General Fund, again outside of the CRA boundaries.

Maria Davis is listed as the Director of the CRA. Is that included in her salary as Town Manager or is that a separate compensation for her serving on that board?

It appears that a large part of what Jennifer Spicer, the CRA Economic Development Director, does is to try to bring in new business into the CRA boundaries. I saw the listing of what is available on the website. Couldn’t that be handled by a commercial real estate office who would work on commission.

In a town our size does it really need any full time CRA employees? Do we need a full time employee at the Art Gallery? How many hours a day does it really need to be opened? Couldn’t it be covered by two part time employees?

The CRA OWNS the now vacant land on the 700 block of Foresteria where the community garden is currently developed.  It also owns 800 Park Ave.

Do we have to pay rent to use the properties owned by the CRA? How did the CRA purchase the land and who has the title? And do they pay us taxes?

I asked if joining the CRA is a life time commitment? Not really – it is only a 30 year plan. 30 years to be involved with big government who now owns part of our town.

When do we start the plan to wean our way away from the CRA? Do we want the government to own Lake Park?

Citizens please check out the Lake Park Blog-the street where you live. word press.com for some very insightful reading regarding our town politics. It is challenging and truthful. Thank you.