Many of you have probably read the NCFL Independent’s recent blog, titled “Of Importance: Discussions About County Money.” We appreciate the NCFL Independent for covering important county issues, such as the long-term financial sustainability of the county, as we believe it is imperative to have an open dialogue on critical issues such as this. However, there were several misleading items in this piece that we believe are important to call readers’ attention to and, unfortunately, our avenue to correct the record via their comment section was obstructed.
In order to correct the record on the purpose of ‘Citizens for a Better Nassau County,’ we want to share our comment from the coalition’s spokesperson that was submitted and ultimately denied. We encourage you to read it below.
“‘Citizens for a Better Nassau County’ is not a PAC. It is a Florida-based corporation organized and functioning under the guidelines of chapter 501(c)(4) of the tax code. As a 501(c)(4) corporation, ‘Citizens for a Better Nassau County’ operates as a community education vehicle only, providing information to the entire community on the long-term financial sustainability of Nassau County and establishing conversations designed to spark a community dialogue on the future of the county. To achieve a broad impact, ‘Citizens for a Better Nassau County’ will host community events, provide community briefings on a variety of topics, and periodically disseminate factual information about the county’s tax base, operating budget and capital budget. We will not be endorsing candidates, advertising on their behalf, or engaging in electioneering as defined by Florida law.
“As Fitch Ratings, Purvis & Gray, and Burton & Associates have made abundantly clear, the fiscal problems Nassau County faces relate to a dwindling capital reserve account and deferred maintenance of roads, rolling stock and other infrastructure. While this capital account isn’t completely depleted until after 2016, rest assured we are quickly depleting it for operating expenses. Just like residential taxpayers have to maintain their cars and homes to avoid larger bills later, so does the county.
“So, to selectively focus on the “still stable” excerpt from Fitch Ratings is applicable only if you’re focused on this moment in time and not looking down the path for the next few fiscal years. An operating deficit was only averted by using almost all of the county’s unrestricted reserves and the one cent sales tax fund. If this continues, Nassau County will be facing a fiscal crisis, as there will not be any funds for infrastructure or maintenance. But, we can change this course by first having an open and honest dialogue about the situation of the county and stopping the misleading conversation that is only leaving residents in the dark about the county’s true financial condition. Then, together, we can look toward a financially sustainable solution, such as growing the economic pie through private capital investment and high-wage jobs.”