By Scott Ellis, County Commission, District 5
The incoming County Commission will face a number of challenges in local government. Chief amongst these challenges will be maintaining necessary services while holding the line on taxes, an action now mandated by the three percent increase cap on county millage. To accomplish this task, the new commission will have to continue to define priorities and budget accordingly.
Transportation and drainage will be an ongoing concern. Widening projects such as Dairy Road and the second phase of Malabar Road, must be overseen. Plans have been put in place for major drainage projects, and basin studies underway will identify future projects needed to ensure proper drainage of our county.
The county will provide a challenge as we must seek ways to house additional inmates awaiting trials or being dropped back to the county from the state system. Additional beds will be provided through the minimum security completion, but the big project will be housing the increasing numbers of inmates who cannot be placed in minimum security conditions.
The Scrub Jay plan, as well as the Manatee Protection Pan are currently stalled due to the inability of State and Federal agencies to define what rules they seek to impose upon the county. The county has, to date, decided not to take final action and awaits the dictates of these agencies.
Parks and Recreation still has an equity in its funding throughout he county, and steps must be taken to gradually achieve more balance. The continuing improvements at Palm Bay Regional Park as well as the necessary eye to maintaining existing facilities, will occupy the new Commission. The golf courses continue to lose approximately $500,000 per year and cooperation with a new market is critical.
The new County Commission will have little choice but to live within its current revenues. The requirements to fund continued state mandates, such as the increased $800,000 in additional Medicaid expense dumped on Brevard County taxpayers this year, will require the new County Commission to be the most frugal and budget conscious elected in many years. The task is difficult, but I am confident that it can be accomplished!
Scott Ellis is serving his last term on the County Commission and is running for another office.