It's time for Volusia County's conservative voters to wake up

Editor's Note: The following guest blog was written exclusively for Headline Surfer by Tom Coriale of Daytona Beach Shores and a member of the executive committee of the Republican Party of Volusia County. His views directed at County Chair Jason Davis and fellow Republican County Council member Pat Patterson, are his own and are not necessarily those of Headline Surfer, though the 24/7 internet newspaper is against the bloated executive salaries in Volusia County and municipal governments, highlighted in a separate upcoming story. The write-up was edited only for grammar and clarity. 
 
Tom Coriale, Volusia County GOP executive committee / Headline SurferBy Tom Coriale
Daytona Beach Shores
Guest blog

DAYTONA BEACH -- So, I've calmed down a bit following the Thursday evening Budget hearing.  There were two votes against the tax increase, but there were five that voted for the maximum increase of 10 percent.

The second vote on the County Council budget is 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the council chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly Administratives Offices in DeLand. If the 10 percent tax increase receives the majority votes on the 26th of September, it becomes your new tax. So, it's time to wake up.

Conservatives have to focus on a voter blitz to appeal to County Chair Jason Davis and (DeLand-area County Council member) Pat Patterson to vote "no" to the tax-rate increase and "yes" to the rolled-back rate.

Many residents have sent numerous messages and spoke at the first budget hearing and that has not had the impact of convincing Davis and Patterson that they are the key right now to stand up and lead us in changing Volusia County. It comes down to them. Deb Denys and Doug Daniels are on board (Denys, a Republican from New Smyrna Bech area, and Daniels, a Democrat from Ormond Beach area, voted against the tax increase Thursday).

If Jason Davis and Pat Patterson can vote with Deb Denys and Doug Daniels, rather than Pat Northey (Democrat, Deltona area), Joshua Wagner (Democrat, Daytona Beach area) and Joyce Cusack (Democrat, at-large seat from deLand), the way we have worked hard to enable them to vote, this can be a remarkable event. My request to each of you is for you to e-mail and call Davis and Patterson. For Davis, it's jdavis@volusia.org 386-943-7026. For Patterson, it's ppatterson@volusia.org, 386-740-5224.

Let Davis and Patterson know in no uncertain words that there is a real and worthy need for them to stand up for us and stop this unnecessary 10 percent tax increase. It represents everything we do not want or expect from either them as our conservative, Republican representatives. This is what I've done and my request is that each of you do the same thing.

Let Davis and Patterson know in no uncertain words that there is a real and worthy need for them to stand up for us and stop this unnecessary 10 percent tax increase. It represents everything we do not want or expect from either them as our conservative, Republican representatives. This is what I've done and my request is that each of you do the same thing.

If we only get a handful of appeals we`ll have no chance. It has to be huge and it has to be direct regarding your personal feelings and expectations. We all worked hard to get them there to help us and it`s time for them to stand up and be counted for us -- not for (County Manager) Jim Dinneen, not for Wagner, Northey and Cusack.

In fact, Wagner, Northey and Cusack are the reason we are where we are and why we may be headed to No. 1 in highest taxes in Florida. Dinneen works at their direction. They don`t work for Dinneen. This really isn't a difficult proposition for Davis and Patterson. And there's plenty of things you can say to them as follows:

1. The roll back rate -- no increase

Still provides a huge amount of revenue to work with to run Volusia government.

2. The other Volusia County taxing authorities have not increased rates

If the others have listened to the voters why aren`t our county representatives listening?

3. The increased rate is nearly 10%

Who has gotten a 10 percent increase in their wages to support giving 10 percent more to Dinneen?

4. Numerous cost saving ideas have been floated by the citizenry

Where are Dinneen`s cost saving ideas? There surely are $10 million  in waste and savings embedded in an $800 million budget. I would estimate that $40 million in savings could be cut without any difficulty. It just takes leadership to right the ship and look for 5 percent reductions across the board. A 10 percent increase is traditional government budget creep. It's lazy. We can not afford it.

5. The Volusia County Republican platform ignored

The Republican Party platform, their platform, their election campaign appeal was to reduce our second highest taxed (editor's note: Volusia County is ranked 3rd highest third highest taxed among Florida's 67 counties, according to Florida Tax Watch). They acknowledged we were too high in taxes. They acknowledged that the high tax burden was stifling Volusia County growth and future outlook. It`s time to walk the walk.

Really, what are Davis and Patterson thinking? Ask them. Argue your points.  Jason and Pat need to stand up and vote for the rolled-back rate. Both need to announce that the County Council will develop a strategic plan focusing on growing our Volusia economy, allowing the citizenry to invest their money -- not the government.

Both need to announce they will expect Dinneen to "manage" the county within the revenue and implement savings and identify logical reductions. Both will freeze any hiring in 2014, and encourage higher employee productivity.

Focus on wants and needs (cancel the four "wanted" $84,000 lifeguard stands from California and purchase the four "needed" $10,000 lifeguard stands and have them made in Volusia by Volusia taxpayers).

Both Jason Davis and Pat Patterson need to stand up and be leaders for conservative principles. You, fellow Republicans, have the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of Jason Davis and Pat Patterson. Please write and call them. Be direct. They need to hear it.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.