Pinellas County Funny Tax Math

$29 million in 2011 revenue – $11 million in cost savings =  $12.3 million tax hike?
$29 million Revenue in 2011 – $29 million in 2011 expenses = $12.3 million Tax hike? 

Make your feelings known. Email the County Commissioners merely by doing a “reply all” to this address.
Come to the Budget Hearing on this matter  SEPTEMBER 6, 2011, 6:30 pm for “Citizens to be heard”.

 Pinellas County Administrator proposes a $12.3 million property tax hike for bloated EMS system

$29 million in 2011 revenue – $11 million in cost savings =  $12.3 million tax hike?
$29 million Revenue in 2011 – $29 million in 2011 expenses = $12.3 million Tax hike? 

  • Last week, County administrators advocated that the Pinellas EMS Advisory Council adopt a plan to cut $11 million in costs for local “Medical First Responder Services”. 
  • Yet the County Administrator Bob Lasala STILL wants an EMS Property Tax increase of $12.1 million.  What gives? 
  • The extra $12.3 million is apparently planned to build the “Reserve Fund” for the system.   That fund should be plenty to last for years. Yet, the property tax would not go down and would stay up in all forecasts by the government.  
  • The cost projections used to estimate the need for future income are likely inaccurate based on previous inaccurate forecasts of increased response Number of 15,000 over two years that turned into 3,500 increased responses. (see figure A below).  
  • Costs continue  to FAR outpace actual inflation and service growth. Calls went up 20%, inflation 30% (50% combined growth) but proposed tax hike would result in 120% increase! (see Figures A & B below).  
  • In 2000 the Property Taxes going to MFR was $19. Million.  Now they need $42 million? A closer number would be $29 million.

  • Ideas for Avoiding a Tax hike.
    • $The administrative costs of Sunstar ar 5.68 million.   – start cutting the fat at the top now.
    • Sunstar collects an extra $ 3-7 million per year as profit to the county.  Use that to reduce property taxes.
    • St. Petersburg, the city with the highest MFR costs, has offered to do their own transport. They estimate they can do it without losing money or raising local city taxes. Let them.
    • Move money from other areas to the paramedic services for MFR.  Cut overly generous benefits for government workers, corporate subsidies, failed social welfare, expensive and unnecessary public transit expansions and the like.
    • Contract with another agency besides Sunstar to get a better deal for Pinellas.
    • Eliminate all of the duplicative Sunstar services and turn over all transport to the cities.

A. SUNSTAR OVERESTIMATES FUTURE GROWTH IN RESPONSES BY 15,000 in 5/2009.  Why trust their cost projecitons now?