Sunday, September 13, 2009

Explosive Beach Tax Story

They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.

Pensacola Beach resident Bill Post, author of the explosive Deceit Beach, has a new article in the Independent News. This time, he's exposing the sweetheart deal reached between Santa Rosa County commissioners and the leaseholders of Summerwinds condominium on Navarre Beach:
The County is giving lease fee refunds or credits to leaseholders at Summerwinds Condos on Navarre Beach for the purpose of offsetting the newly imposed ad valorem tax.
Post's article is a must-read for everyone who owns, or contemplates buying, anything on Navarre Beach or Pensacola Beach. For everyone, the question you should ask is, "Can I trust local government?"

Essentially, Santa Rosa County commissioners are relying on a legal opinion by county attorney Tom Dannheisser that sounds exactly like the arguments beach residents and businesses made in trying to resist earlier efforts by the two counties to impose ad valorem taxes. Call it the Joe Wilson response: "You lie!"
Hey! You promised not to tax us back when you couldn't get anyone to live or work on this mosquito-infested sand pile. We took you at your word. And, now that we're here and, as agreed, we're paying lease fees in lieu of taxes, you want to tax us, too?
The only difference is the commissioners overseeing Navarre Beach have decided to exempt only one condominium (so far) -- one of the latest to be built, in fact -- from the county's newly imposed taxes. But, in Hamlet's words, the move could hoist them by their own petard.

County government simply cannot, constitutionally, pick and choose which citizens it will excuse from suffering from the government's broken promises and which it will not. If Summerwinds can claim the government cannot break its promise of lease-fees- in-lieu of taxes, why not the Portofino complex on Pensacola Beach? The Hilton? Flounders?

And, if those commercial darlings of Escambia County's political establishment are protected from county deceit, why not individual residents? There i$ only one an$wer to that, of cour$e.

Read Bill Post's entire article. It's a humdinger.

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