by Donna Storter
Glades BCC MSTU Workshop July 8, 2004 - Legal counsel from Nabors,
Giblin & Nickerson made a presentation to the Commission concerning the
ordinances prepared by NG&N and recently adopted by Glades County that puts
in place the option of using a taxing method of Municipal Services Taxing
Unit (MSTU) for funding the Emergency Medical Services budget and the
Sheriff's law enforcement budget. She named the timeline (rapidly
approaching deadlines) for implementing the MSTU methodology, and reminded
the Board that the City of Moore Haven must be notified of the intent and
if they concur, they have to consent by adopting a similar ordinance.
All taxing exemptions currently on ad valorem assessments would apply to
MSTU assessment, and approximately $138,000 would have to transfer from
general fund to cover the exemptions for County and institutional
properties if the EMS budget goes to MSTU. MSTU can be used for all the
law enforcement or EMS budgets, or as a hybrid with only part MSTU and the
rest ad valorem. The County's annual budget is $7 million. 42% of
the general funding now goes to the Sheriff's budget. 50%-60% of the
Sheriff's policing services are provided within the incorporated limits
of the City of Moore Haven. With the implementation of Article V on
July 1st, State income for Clerk's office for judicial services will reduce
income by $235,000.
Several citizens voiced concern and objection to the MSTU because it
increases net taxes as ad valorem cannot be reduced when MSTU is used.
Tommy Todd, CEO of Glades Electric Coop, first expressed dismay and
frustration on the negligence of the Board in dealing with this situation
earlier to avoid the same last minute actions as taken last year, and
failure to follow the reasonable recommendations of the Special Special
Committee (Chaired by John Tallent) when it completed its study (months
ago) of the EMS funding thru MSBU. Alvin Ward named ways to save the
County money, as the Committee cited one way to save was to go from three
ambulance units to two units in the County, one of those being provided by
the Seminole Tribe and stationed at Brighton. He defended the Board's
year-long activity on this issue, stating that all slots had been opened
and it was now decision time. NG&N continued with similar discussion on
funding the Sheriff's budget for MSTU, stating that if the City of MH
chooses not to use MSTU for law enforcement funding, then a study would
have to be done of the Sheriff's expenditures to determine the amount
budgeted for police protection/service to the incorporated area of MH.
Same timeline/deadlines apply. The intent of the City must be determined
before the millage is set for the MSTU. The same deadlines apply.
Because this was a public workshop, no official action was taken. The
Board invited all citizens and taxpayers to attend the budget workshops
meetings beginning July 14th.