Ben Anderson Responds to Robert’s & Parisot’s FALSE STATEMENTS
BFA Response: This is one of the most politically motivated list of false accusations I have ever witnessed from the Official capacity of their Offices to specifically aid the political campaign of one of these Officials. These accusations were prepared by Mr. Parisot, as a County Commissioner, sent to the media and other organizations, and then asked during the BCC Budget Workshop on the Tax Collector’s Office on August 7, 2012. This document was not provided to BFA prior to the Workshop. NOTE – Mr. Roberts now has this document posted on his campaign website www.electbillroberts.com . BFA clearly presented the TC Budget, which clearly reflects these statements are wrong. View the BCC Budget Workshop for the Tax Collector – http://okaloosacountyfl.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1089&MinutesID=1091&Format=Minutes&MediaFileFormat=wmv
By their combined actions as County Commissioners, and Mr. Roberts as a Candidate, they are joined at the hip in thoughts and actions with full intention to control the Tax Collectors Office from a County Commissioner position. This would be a horrific mistake on behalf of the Citizens.
Parisot:Timely Information on the Okaloosa County Tax Collector’s Office August 5, 2012
BFA Response: This is POLITICALLY TIMELY on the part of BCC Commissioners Dave Parisot and Bill Roberts.
Parisot: In May 2012, I was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to Chair our Equity Study Commission to consider revising the County Business Tax structure. I am also heavily involved with the County budget processwith 5 Budget Workshops in July and August. I just received the Tax Collector’s (TC) proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 on August 2nd. (The Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, and Supervisor of Elections submitted their budgets to the BCC on June 1st.BFA Response: I also met with Mr. Curry; these are preliminary discussions of our forthcoming budgets) Parisot: In my capacity as Chair of the Equity Study Commission and in the brief time I’ve had to review the TC’s budget, I have discovered some very disturbing facts.BFA Response: The “facts” can be disturbing to Mr.Roberts and Mr. Parisot only in that the FACTS IN THE BUDGETreflect reduced costs of overall operation and sound fiscal management of the Tax Collector’s Office. With last year’s budget and this year’s proposed budget, we have made reductions of 7.5% in the Tax Collector’s Office. Parisot: Firstly, the BUDGET:
- Parisot: Based on Mr. Anderson’s campaign literature and speeches of “Reduced management level salaries by 36%”, I was expecting significant decreases in his Personnel Costs. Not true. What I found was that Mr. Anderson distributed the $96,183 of management salary reductions to his other employees such that 56 of them received PAY INCREASES, ranging from $1,000 (49 employees) to $25,794. The NET SAVINGS to Taxpayers is ZERO! This was done while the County gave no pay increases.
- BFA Response: This is an absolute false statement by Mr. Parisot and Mr. Roberts. First, the Budget clearly states there is an overall salary reduction in the TC Office of $156,604. or a 5% reduction. I clarified the Management Level salaries:at the time of my appointment to the Office on 8/8/11 they were $811,616, on 10/1/11 were $561,580., on 2/8/12 were $528,580., and 9/30/12 will be $533,960.
- BFA Response: I really don’t know where Mr. Parisot and Mr. Roberts came up with the figure of $96,183., but it does not fit with my proposed budget. I can only surmise that it fits better with their campaign tactics. Further, the pay increase “to $25,794.” is for a vacant, non funded position, or no employee salary; again this is very clearly stated in the budget. They should have read it more carefully.
2. Parisot: Based on his campaign literature that he has “Reduced Operational Costs”, I was expecting decreases here. His proposed Budget, however, shows an INCREASE of 3.4% for OPERATIONAL EXPENSES. BFA Response: I clarified for Mr. Roberts and Mr. Parisot that three items in our expenses make up 63% of our operational budget – 1. Postage, 2.Contractual lease agreement, 3.Contractual Software agreement. We don’t control the rates of the Post Office; and these Contracts include CPI increases. I did point out that without the cost savings and expense reductions throughout this past year, the 3.4% increase would have been higher.
3. Parisot: The TC’s proposed Budget is NOT posted on the TC website (as of Aug. 5); it IS on the County website. Only the 6-page Budget Summaries for fiscal Years 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 are on his website. In order to compare his proposed Budget to previous budgets, I had to specifically request copies of the full budget documents (approx. 40 pages each) which I received Friday. Without these full line-item budgets I would not have found item 1 above. This is FULL TRANSPARENCY?? BFA Response: Silly and wrong. You can find a historical listing of our budgets, in addition to a listing for this year’s proposed budget. This is just another political manipulation of information by Mr. Parisot and Mr. Roberts.
4. Parisot: On his proposed Budget, Mr. Anderson reports Actual Expenditures for “Life & Health Insurance” of $689,779, yet County records in the Risk Management office show only $639,456 was billed for Tax Collector employee insurances. Where did the remaining $50,323 go?? (This is the line item where Mr. Hughes and his staff HID the insurance premium dollars that he paid into illegal personal retirement accounts for many senior staff. Remember, Mr. Anderson has retained the same senior staff that Mr. Hughes had before he resigned.) BFA Response: This is just a shameful statement by Mr. Roberts and Mr. Parisot against good county employees. But to the numbers, we suspect Mr. Parisot has used a singular month, rather than a complete data set. However, as I indicated during the Workshop we will work with the County’s Risk Management Office and provide clarification.
Parisot: Secondly, in my job with the Equity Study Commission, let’s look at the TC’s Business Tax program:
1. Parisot: There are 50 taxi companies registered at VPS with currently paid business tax receipts, yet ONLY 10 are listed on the TC office’s Business Tax rolls. Where are the other 40 companies, and WHERE IS THE BUSINESS TAX MONEY they paid to the Tax Collector?? (And Mr. Anderson wants his office to handle millions of bed-tax dollars??) There are also many missing business tax receipts for taxi drivers. BFA Response: Again, shameful statements with political motivations by Mr. Roberts and Mr. Parisot. The TC Office provided Mr. Parisot the complete TC Office Roll of the Local Business Tax participants in the format he requested, and simply…he does not know how to read the data and information. Parisot is wrong! All taxi companies are accounted for; some are under their personal names and some are under their business names. But, all are accounted for!
2. Parisot:Although in business for years, Mr. Anderson did not register his businesses nor pay the Business Tax until January 2012 (and even then did not charge himself the 25% LATE FEE per F.S. 205, although he has charged many others), and then registered only one of his two businesses. BFA Response: My mistake in the assumption that State licensed real estate brokers and salespersons were exempt from obtaining a business license. As soon as my Staff pointed out that I should have one, I bought two – one as a real estate broker and one as a real estate appraiser. They are $30. each. As far as late fees, the County’s Ordinance is very outdated and is not defined; see the article in the NWFL Daily News on 8/9/12 – http://www.nwfdailynews.com/articles/business-51554-tax-cut.html . Mr. Parisot recommends eliminating this outdated ordinance all together. BFA Response: Finally, a statement by Parisot that makes sense!
3. Parisot: There are many more examples of Business Tax anomalies, but I want to keep this to one page.BFA Response: Provide the “many more examples”, but please check your facts. Dave Parisot, County Commissioner, Dist. 2