This was very eye opening. We had a few members from both the FWB Tea Party and Niceville-Valp Tea Party. I had the chance to address the board regarding the new Judicial Center funding.
However, we had a chance to speak directly to our Commissioners, and we established a few new relationships with our elected officials as we go forward. Details on that will follow. Here is the statement I read. There was no discussion of the proposal by the board because they had already voted 3-2 to pass the bond, but we can still fight this issue, and we will.
Good morning Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners. I am Henry Kelley, Vice Chairman of the FWB Tea Party and also speaking on behalf of the Niceville-Valparaiso Tea Party as well. Combined, I am representing approximately 1400 registered and active voters in the County who are very concerned with the recent vote to build a new judicial center on the FWB Fairgrounds.
We have a few principles we follow, and relative to this issue is we believe in responsible spending and holding our leaders accountable at all levels. As such we are highly concerned that in this economy that we are funding such a large scale project where the true cost estimates are nearer $60 million, as indicated by Mr. Amunds and Harris, as well as data presented by the Daily News.
The current facilities appear that they can be adjusted to meet ADA compliance, so we question the stated need for a new facility while our fellow citizens struggle to make ends meet.
This project will add to the burdens of our taxpayers with little visible gain to the public, and will take more land from our Fairgrounds. While the actions of the County Commissioners may not appear to cost that much, please consider that this is on top of greatly increased expenses for gasoline, groceries and other basic needs. Further, Gulf Power is increasing rates again, and they also have to come up with additional increases to pay for the $500 million dollar scrubber they recently installed.
Additionally, the BCC has recently funded a $48 million bond issue for a wastewater plant – necessary – but it still costs money. With our Federal officials discussing a war tax, the increasing potential for health care increases, as well as an overall increased cost of living, the combined Tea Party voters, who are an active part of this community as evidenced by our last rally with 500 attendees, requests the Okaloosa BCC delay the bond and funding of this project, and re-visit retrofitting the existing facilities.
We continue to borrow and use stimulus dollars we don’t have, and are living on a borrowed federal and state credit card. Please delay this program until the economy improves and bring it back up for discussion, or create a pay as you go program to minimize the long term costs to future generations of Okaloosa County..