On May 22, 2018 at the public meeting of the Pasco County Board of Commissioners, Mitchell Kobernick gave the following speech during the public comment:
In May 2016, some 2 years ago, the county sent a letter to the property owners in Gulf Harbors to ask them to vote on the creation of an MSBU to tax them for the county’s purchase of the defunct golf course in the community. To quote directly from that letter:
“In order for the MSBU to be created, 50% of the voting residents must vote in favor of creating the MSBU. Otherwise, the MSBU will not be created.”
ELAMP conducted the vote, and counted the ballots. They determined that it passed, and on that basis recommended it to the BOCC for approval. Several citizens, including Diane Kobernick, went to ELAMP’s office to conduct their own audit, and their analysis showed it did not pass. Despite the results of the residents’ vote being called into question, and despite other issues that were raised before this board about the county not correctly following the law in adopting the MSBU, the board went ahead anyway to approve it by a vote of 4-1.
Then Diane filed her lawsuit to contest the MSBU. In the 2 years since, and even now, this issue could have been resolved by a new, proper vote. A new vote would allow the residents that were to be taxed to actually have a say, it could have been done quickly, and would be much cheaper than fighting the lawsuit at taxpayer expense. I know the commissioners were aware of this, since I wrote them myself asking for a new vote, and so did many others. But the county response was to continue to fight the lawsuit.
To repeat, the county’s letter to the residents stated clearly, in writing, that 50% must vote in favor, or the MSBU will not be created. But in a recent court filing, the county now stated that this vote was not required at all, was only advisory, and was not binding on the commissioners.
So the message the county is sending to its citizens is; never mind what we tell you, never mind what we promise you, never mind even what we put in writing to you, the county can just do whatever it wants. Is that really the message this board wants to send to the citizens of Pasco County?
I know something about Diane’s tenacity, and the amount of support she has mobilized in the community. In my opinion, the lawsuit will only end once a court issues a judgment against the county stating that this MSBU was passed illegally.