Time for a change
Bill Partington’s latest campaign ad claims “a meaningful, measurable track record of results, solutions, and success for Ormond Beach,” over 19 years on the City Commission, the last six as mayor. Voters should consider the following highlights of that documented record:
Environment: Opposed a citizen referendum to keep high-rise buildings off our beach. Voted to abolish the city’s long-standing wetland protections, environmental advisory board, and development review board. Approved clear-cutting of thousands of trees on Granada Boulevard and Sterthaus Drive.
Fiscal Leadership: Advocated County half-cent sales tax, $50 million Hand Avenue extension, and a proposed $32 million police station. Approved $440,000 for transportation consultant, $340,000 for outside legal counsel “to protect taxpayers” in fighting a $271,000 property tax bill on now-closed River Bend golf course, and $57,000 for a consultant on River Bend land use. Nearly $1 million to purchase and demolish historic Union church, construct a parking lot. Low millage rates a product of $4.5 billion in property value, not fiscal responsibility. Raised utility rates 15 times in 19 years. Airport, which FAA requires to be self-sustaining, is $800,000 in debt to the taxpayer general fund. A decade of downtown CRA grants paid out $2 million to five business entities, including $249,000 for cosmetic improvements, Granada Plaza Shopping Center.
Transparency: Still no explanation or public discussion of decisions to (1) annex the controversial high impact Plantation Oaks development, (2) provide water and sewer services to the Avalon Park mega-development in Daytona Beach, (3) fund a second sewer plant for the Avalon Park services, (4) pursue a $4 million airport runway extension against a long-standing public mandate against any airport expansion, and (5) approve FDOT multi-million dollar re-designs for Granada Boulevard and Ocean Shore Boulevard. Five years after the beachside hospital closed; we still do not have an emergency room on A1A.
Adjacent Property Owners: Rights trampled by overdevelopment at Granada Pointe, Reflections Village, Ormond Lakes, Hernandez-Dix, North U.S. 1, Tymber Creek Road, 100 N. Halifax Drive, and Tomoka Oaks, where a high-density proposal is not proportional or compatible to existing lots.
Mayor Partington’s record is a clear disconnect from Ormond Beach citizens. Rob Bridger, running against the mayor, has a proven track record of leadership in bringing harmony to a once-divisive Trails HOA. His win-win problem solving will bring together business and environmental interests and unify a polarized city, restoring government transparency, citizen input, and public trust.
After 19 years, it’s time for a change.
Editor's note: Mayor Bill Partington was given a chance to respond:
I find it interesting to receive constructive feedback about our city from residents of all perspectives; there’s no better way to learn what people think and expect than direct dialogue. However, when someone as this letter writer did, chooses to showcase every derogatory thought they can find without also noting any of the wonderful attributes Ormond Beach has, I find myself wondering if we even live in the same city? To overlook things like our very low tax and utility rates, our great city public safety personnel and technology, our minuscule 1.3% annual development/growth rate over the last 20 years, and our pristine parks and leisure services while complaining about seemingly anything and everything that’s occurred over that same time period seems rather disingenuous. It’s a shame some people live in a constant state of negativity, especially since one thing we can all agree on is this: Demand to move here has not ended. The cities and states up north that people are flocking here from are the ones with real problems, not ours. Ormond Beach is our home for a reason: The overwhelming majority of people view things here positively, and I’m proud to be their mayor.
Many thanks to the city of Ormond Beach for the splendid new landscaping in Melrose Park.
Winston, Merri and Albert Churchill