ACTION ALERT on Indiantown incorporation: Reality check before voting November 7

Maggy Hurchalla

 

Former five-term Martin County Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla provides insight on the upcoming November 7 vote re Indiantown incorporation:

When I was first elected to the Martin County Commission a long long time ago, Commissioner Timer Powers from Indiantown taught me everything I know about good government.

More than 40 years ago Timer and Commissioner Wacha had a running battle over the incorporation of Jensen Beach as a city.

Developers saw it as a way to develop Jensen without having to follow the 4 story height limit and density caps and environmental protections that County government had adopted.

Residents were promised it would give them local control and better services and it wouldn’t cost a dime.

Timer Powers published an open letter explaining that city taxes are on top of County taxes and there is no free lunch. He wanted people to know what they were getting into before they voted.

Residents voted against incorporation.

Commissioner Wacha sent Timer an angry  note saying “Henceforth we will communicate only by memo.”

Years later Timer still had that note pinned to the wall in his office at Indiantown Gas Company.

On November 7, voters in Indiantown get to decide if they want Indiantown to be a city.

You have been promised it won’t cost a dime, you will get better services, and you will be able to make their own decisions.

                                  

Lot’s of money is being spent on afvertising by property owners who have agricultural land outside Indiantown.

 

The incorporation effort is being paid for by a group called “One Martin.” They are not from Indiantown. They include the King Ranch and the Hobe Grove developers as well as land holders between Indiantown and the Turnpike. The incorporation of Indiantown will give them an opportunity later on to annex land to the east and develop new cities all the way to Bridge Rd. and I-95. 

 

They want to be free of height and density and environmental limitations imposed by the County’s comprehensive plan.

The first issue  Indiantown will have to consider is whether they really want to be like the rest of South Florida in terms of wide open development. Proponents claim that will bring jobs and prosperity. A look at South Florida taxes and at Pahokee and South Bay suggests that isn’t true. You can’t have more services if you don’t collect more revenue. Pahokee’s city taxes are  6.5419 mills, South Bay’s are 6.3089. That’s three mills more than you are paying now with county and special district taxes.

The second issue is taxes. City taxes are on top of County taxes.

You can’t have more services if you don’t collect more revenue.  Pahokee’s city taxes are  6.5419 mills, South Bay’s are 6.3089. That’s three mills more than you are paying now with county and special district taxes. 

 

The legislative committee found flaws in the rosy financial analysis the paid consultant provided. A city needs a City Hall and a police department  and a building department and a zoning department. It needs to pay salaries for administrators and clerks and city commissioners. Even without including those items, the legislature determined that the tax rate would be over 4 mills.

Check the cities in Florida that have incorporated in the last twenty years. They have higher taxes.

 

You get to decide. Only Indiantown residents can vote. There is nothing else on the ballot. The turnout is likely to be small. The advertising and lobbying by supporters will be large.

 

Your vote will make a big difference.

 

Do a reality check on the claims from both sides and be part of the decision.

 

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