Letter: Response to Commissioner Stevenson
Julington Creek Plantation CDD
Board of Supervisors, Seat 1
Recently St. Johns County Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson wrote an editorial concerning the affairs of the Julington Creek Plantation CDD. Some observers of this issue may welcome a County Commissioner getting involved, but I suspect others are concerned that Commissioner Stevenson is defending actions and behavior that may not be in the best interest of JCP residents or the tax payers of St. Johns County.
Commissioner Stevenson spoke to how the CDD is operated, I can only assume she has not reviewed the verbatim minutes she encourages the public to review. Yes, the JCP residents agreed to build the new wonderful JCP Recreation Center to eliminate the overcrowding of the older Aquatic Center. We want the new Recreation Center in JCP, and all our amenities operated at a high standard. The complaint of many JCP residents are the large tax-subsidies of many programs and services, such as restaurant food/alcohol sales, parties, child care, teams, camps, lessons and any other services provided to select groups. Many JCP residents believe tax money should only be used to pay the infrastructure bonds, general overhead and operation / maintenance of the facilities and that any additional services and programs offered by the CDD should be “user-paid” and generate sufficient revenues to at least cover the extra expenses required to provide such services.
Additionally, in my opinion, the CDD should constantly focus on reducing operating expenses where possible, while striving to provide the same or higher level of services. I do not believe anyone can argue that at any time in the existence of any organization that it can’t operate more efficiently – which should result in cost savings. The JCP CDD is no different. Based on Commissioner Stevenson’s view of how our CDD operates, it sounds as if she believes the setting of assessments of individual CDD’s should be determined by what nearby communities assess. If so, that is flawed thinking. CDD assessments should be based on (1) what it costs to service debt, and (2) what it costs to provide the services to the users – while providing those services for the least reasonable cost possible.
Maybe Commissioner Stevenson’s logic might explain the inability of the St. Johns County Commission to live within its means. No one should accept the St. Johns County’s taxing theory of setting tax levels based on unnecessary overspending rather than austerity.
Why is all this important to JCP residents? Because any reduction in any governmental entity’s operating expenses (if that entity doesn’t keep it) is a tax decrease to the tax payers. Commissioner Stevenson by your support of the past actions of the JCP CDD you have given us a glimpse of how you view the hard-earned money of all St. Johns County tax-payers. The residents of St. Johns County deserve public servants who encourage more efficiency in order to reduce the tax burden, rather than irresponsible politicians who protect the status quo of wasteful unnecessary spending and poor stewardship of our tax money.