Setting the record
I need to set the record straight with regards to statements in Mr. Miller's letter of January 12th. The facts are:
We contracted to buy the parcel before talking to anyone at city hall. We bought it for a nominal amount “because it was there” and felt, that at some point in the future, it has the potential to enhance the park with a pier at that location. Other than our initial meeting in 2016, we have had no further meetings with city staff or commissioners. My partner sent a letter to the city manager in 2021 with some thoughts on how the parcel could be utilized to provide more parking on the uplands. Mr. Miller's inference that there have been backroom shenanigans to take over the park for our commercial use is false. No one at the city agreed to help us develop the property in 2016. To the contrary, staff was quite forthright about the challenges to be overcome in constructing a pier. We continue to explore options.
Ormond Landing LLC
Editor's note: The parcel mentioned in this letter spans 0.87 acres, and is submerged in the Halifax River near Cassen Park.
Cassen Park's redesign
About Cassen Park and the boat ramp — I don't agree with everything in Rush Miller's letter to the editor in last week's paper, but I do agree that we need to have a public workshop meeting for discussion, not about which plan is best, but how a plan should be designed.
I don't think any of the proposed plans can be considered “the best plan” when we really haven't had public input. Ormond MainStreet has offered to assist in a “public workshop” to gather ideas from our citizens. They have a Cassen Park committee. At a City Commission workshop, the public is not allowed to speak; it is just for the elected officials to talk since commissioners are prohibited from speaking to each other unless it's at a public meeting.
Shouldn't the commission want to hear what the public wants? Only city staff has had input in this plan. When the commission had a workshop about the historic church, they decided to demolish it without public input. Let's not do that again. Actually, our river district, from Lincoln Avenue to Mound Avenue, should be studied as a whole instead of one parcel at a time. We may want a riverwalk like they have in Eustis, and we may want to allow a private water-taxi which is now prohibited.
Bill Partington, Sr.
Editor's note: Bill Partington, Sr. is the mayor's father.
This is information that city taxpayers should know:
FAA Policy requires airports to be self-supporting. Municipal airports are required to be economically self-sustaining with no burden on city
taxpayers. In Ormond Beach:
- The airport borrowed $621,000 from the taxpayer general fund with no repayment since 2015.
- Lost annually $100,000 revenue from closing Riverbend golf course.
- Paid Hoyle Tanner over $2 million over 25 years for airport counsel
- Court case pending for unpaid taxes over $200,000.
There is more, but I'm limited to a word count.
The airport has been a burden to the citizens of Ormond Beach and the county. The extension was attempted back in 2004 and public support pressured the commission to vote 5-0 not to proceed. Here we are again after years of city tax money subsidizing the airport. My question to Ormond Beach: Is the airport where you want your tax dollars spent? Should not the taxpayers have the choice?
Editor's note: The city's finance director stated in October 2021 that the airport is self-sufficient for its day-to-day operations, and that the dollars borrowed from the airport fund serve to cover the city's share in FAA grants, used for capital projects.
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