An argument for affordable housing — and for budget restraint in Flagler County.
I am someone who needs affordable housing
I am responding to some of the more cruel letters regarding affordable housing. I am a 75-year-old disabled lady living on Social Security. I am being thrown out of my rental home because the owners want me to pay them $335 more a month, and I simply cannot do that.
I worked for 50 years and never went on the dole. Now, because of circumstances beyond my control, I will soon be homeless — because there is not enough affordable housing in Palm Coast. And what there is has a six- to eight-month waiting list. That won't help me since I have to be out by the end of the year.
The cost of rentals has risen 35% in the last few years. My Social Security went up by 2.8%. Obviously, I cannot afford the outrageous cost of rentals now. Nor the outrageous cost of water, which is being increased by 21% — for no other reason than they can. Incredible.
So those of you who are safely ensconced in your nice warm little homes, don't look down on those of us who worked all of our lives and then, through no fault of our own, find ourselves being victimized by a housing industry that will soon collapse under its own bloat — as it did in the not-so-distant past.
Who are we trying to impress with government spending?
Our gasoline is always 20 to 29 cents higher per gallon than surrounding areas. Where is all this tax money going? (See Editor’s Note.)
The city of Palm Coast wants a $22 million service center for street and parks folks in Public Works. Having been a U.S. Army transportation officer, I can say $4 million will get you a great motor pool. Don’t air condition the vehicle bays and keep office space to a workable bare minimum. No fluff is required to service and maintain vehicles. Do not build another palace.
Who are we trying to impress?
Most Palm Coast/Flagler County taxpayers are retired and on a fixed income. My property taxes with combination of increasing property values and the confusing game with the millage rate (this is a great scam) have gone up 10% in dollars each year for the last three years. My fixed income has gone up nothing close to that.
To the Flagler County Commission: How long has it been since you have said no to a budget increase? Or had a true hard-numbers budget review? With all the money being spent on software and technology, we should see some personnel cutbacks soon. Is not the spending of money on IT projects to reduce work force? It is in private industry.
I just feel as a taxpayer that I am not getting my money’s worth. Instead of management of physical assets, they just keep going to the taxpayer well to get more.
Editor’s Note: The cost of a gallon of gas is complicated. Taxes are not a major factor in the discrepancy of cost from one county to another, according to 2017 data from the state’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research, which says a gallon of gasoline included 50.2 cents of taxes in Flagler County, comprising federal, state and county taxes. By comparison, a gallon included 55.2 cents in taxes in Volusia and Putnam counties; 49.2 cents in St. Johns County.