CCFC-Budget Workshop this Thursday

on Monday, 26 July 2021.

Hello Friends:

This Thursday, July 29th at 9:00 a.m. I will be attending this year’s budget discussion. In summary, while the tax base grew a lot, Commissioners are still likely to raise taxes significantly. It is our judgment that there is not a good reason to raise taxes or to change the millage rate above the roll-back rate which would bring in the same amount of money as the current year. Commissioners play games, telling them that they have been great stewards of the Public Trust and have lowered the millage rate. It’s only later when you get an increased tax bill that you realize that you’ve been had.

I just got my copy of the proposed budget and here’s a few topline details for you to know:

  1. The Proposed Budget is slated to rise from $62 million to $77 million. But that number is likely to rise as a new Compensation plan was introduced at the last Commission meeting calling for a $1.2 million increase over four years to replace the annual bonusing system now in place. There will be other items talked about and likely added that will increase the final budget.
  2. For the first time in many years, we see several new positions added. Last year the County received a lot of extra money from Covid-19 funds and spending went through the roof. Without that money this year, new tax money is needed to keep up the spending level.
  3. We have never seen Capital Spending at this pace. Roughly 20 pieces of equipment and vehicles are being requested; well above past budgets.
  4. The Sheriff is asking for a 5% increase that reflects an 8% increase in personnel costs. We have not spoken to the Sheriff, but certain items just jump out at you like $32,000 a year for emails. We have a lot of respect for the Sheriff, but we always must keep in mind that he advocates for his people as he should. Commissioners need to scrutinize all Constitutionals and not take their word as final fact. It is a Constitutional Responsibility of Commissioners to approve Constitutional Officers’ budgets. I regret to inform you, that they largely avoid the responsibility to do a deep dive into their budgets.
  5. The Property Appraiser’s budget request is puzzling. There is no increase in budget but a $120,000 increase in Regular Class RET employees. Why? Why are computer hosting costs so high at $8,000 a year? The Franklin County Property Appraiser cost is the highest per capital in our area by far. Why?
  6. Large increase in Travel, Postage, Freight, Repairs and Maintenance in many budgets.
  7. I know that the staff that puts these budgets together are fantastic. However, I question whether anyone does what we do and look at budget requests afterwards and does a sanity check. There are obvious areas of concern and its not beyond one or more individuals to pad their budgets. We believe some submitted budgets could use a thorough scrubbing to eliminate waste, unequal pay requests and in one or two cases, too large a headcount.
  8. To our knowledge, no one looks at actual spending in the current year to compare against new budget requests and asks for justification. New budgets just build on old budgets.
  9. Parks and Recreation is requesting a 6.75% increase. 14% increase in Regular Class Employees. Almost a tripling of costs for Youth Support Activities. We worry that in supporting youth activities and spending on trips, dinners and travel without requiring the kids and their parents to do any fundraising sends the wrong message that everything should be free. 40% increase in Operating Supplies, 25% increase in Operating Expense. Not exactly belt tightening!
  10. Building Department Operating supplies increased by 80%.
  11. Auditor request a 3.5% increase this year. We believe that a Request for Proposal should go out anytime someone increases their annual fee. In regards to this Auditor, there have been too many issues over the years that in our opinion that were missed. One or two became criminal issues later. We’d like to see a new Auditor look at the County with fresh eyes.
  12. This will be a touchy subject. Employee Health Insurance. Study whether our policy and copays by employees is above or below other counties. We suspect that there might not be enough cost sharing by employees. The county is proposing $1.6 million for health insurance this year. It needs to be looked at.

In the final analysis, it is citizens like you that either rubberstamp county spending and policies by assuming someone else will look after your interests or you decide to participate in some form of fashion. The CCFC is only effective if backed by you. Call or write your representative and let them know you are taxed enough (for your convenience, below my signature is their contact information). Franklin County is always in the top five list of county taxing per capita. I expect this year to be the same.

Please let me have your comments and hope to see you Thursday.

God Bless America and all of you!

Thank you.

Allan J. Feifer

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc.
P.O Box 990
Eastpoint, Florida 32328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(850) 653-5571

“The Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc. serves as a citizens’ advocate to ensure that our Franklin County governments are more open, affordable, efficient, and responsive to our citizens. The organization seeks to hold public officials accountable for their actions in the administration of their duties and in their fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers.”

Commissioner Contacts:

Commissioner Bert Boldt - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 519-4966

Commissioner Smokey Parrish - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8790

Commissioner Ricky Jones - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8861

Chairman Noah Lockley - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-4452

Commissioner Jessica Ward - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-9783

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