How would you react if you were a shareholder in an organization that intentionally duped you over and over again? Imagine this: The majority of the board proposed a project that would greatly benefit the community. Construction of the project will be paid for with funds provided by a source outside of your organization. But the project will require extensive maintenance for perpetuity, and the maintenance will be funded for the next six years by another organization that is an affiliate of yours. After six years have elapsed, all shareholders in your organization will be billed for the perpetual maintenance for the project.
Some shareholders have concerns over the feasibility of this plan and point out many pitfalls. Because of these obvious pitfalls, board member Valerie Newman votes consistently against the project. She is outvoted, and the project moves forward. Another board member has convinced the rest of the board that there be a cap on the annual maintenance cost of the project. The board votes “yes” on the cap. The bills begin to roll in, and the project runs over budget for construction and maintenance. Shareholders are handed the bill to make up the difference.
This project is the Murray Park Aquatic Center in South Miami. The commission recently voted “yes” on two more resolutions that will affect taxpayers. Several part-time positions in the Parks and Recreation Departments have been eliminated to make way for another highly paid manager (with benefits) whose duties will include management of the Aquatic Center. This is a maintenance expense that comes from an account that is funded by taxpayers of South Miami, not “outside money.” The commission has also removed, by resolution, the cap for maintenance of $50,000 per year, as they have already gone over budget.
Previous resolutions regarding expenses were tantamount to intentional deceptions. Taxpayers are stuck with a financial albatross that will add to our ever-increasing property taxes. The means do not justify the end when residents are repeatedly lied to.
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Antoinette Fischer, South Miami
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