Tuesday, April 21, 2009

$4,500 Poll Tax Approved by Moron County Commissioners

One wonders what goes through the feeble minds of elected officials, not to mention their sycophantic in-house counsel. Two weeks ago, I noted that the Florida Keys' elected County Commissioners were entertaining their planners' proposed fee of $4,500 for a "Beneficial Use Determination," a/k/a "BUD." Well, they weren't embarrassed in the least. They adopted said $4,500 "poll tax" on April 15, 2009.

In other jurisdictions, similar statutes and ordinances are called "taking avoidance" procedures. Many communities are justifiably concerned that their land development regulations "go too far," placing the local taxpayers in a position where they will have to pony up millions of dollars when regulations go "too far." The more enlightened communities utilize their taking avoidance ordinances to back off on overly confiscatory regulations, and save the taxpayers a ton of money. The Florida Keys $4,500 fee will just cause more litigation. It is now being used to pay planners' salaries, instead of what it was originally intended to do -- save money.

On December 1, 2007, I reported on a good example of municipal incompetence on the part of the City of Half Moon Bay, California, when it got slammed with a $36.8 million inverse condemnation judgment as "payback" for its years of staunch opposition to a residential subdivision within the city limits. Nearly a year later, I reported, also on this blog, that Half Moon Bay and the landowner had reached a settlement. The City would allow the development of the property or, if the California Coastal Commission prevented same, it would pay the landowner $18,000,000.

Monroe County is headed for serious financial trouble, whether the County Commissioners know it or not, and this latest dumb move just digs the hole deeper. Property tax rates in this community are the lowest in the State of Florida, but that will not last long with these clowns in office.

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