This opinion piece, published by the Gainesville Sun on Sunday, January 12, 2020, suggests a better way to debate impeachment, despite our polarized society. Acknowledge valid points made by others and focus on the known facts.
Sunday, January 12, 2020 1:34 PM
Turning to national issues, this piece recently published by the Gainesville Sun addresses the difficulty of talking to others who have bought in to misinformation on the Internet, even close friends, due to polarization.
Sunday, January 12, 2020 1:29 PM
This opinion piece was published online by the Gainesville Sun on November 13, 2019. The controversy continues regarding the current majority's efforts to limit public comment and criticism at its meetings. However, the Mayor did finally agree to take public comment on issues before the Commission began deliberations and placed a motion on the floor. He is doing so as a matter of the Chair's discretion. However, he should put it in the new rules.
Monday, September 30, 2019 2:40 PM
Monday, September 30, 2019 2:36 PM
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 2:58 PM
Sadly, upon publication of my Op-Ed, City Commission’s “Original Sin”, Gainesville Sun, Sunday, August 18, 2019 (published online at gainesville.com on August 14, 2019), I have seen a lot of dismissive assertions and personal “ad hominem” attacks on Facebook, a site where such comments may comfortably reside without fear of being monitored or taken down as inappropriate. For example, Plan Board Chairman Bob Ackerman, a lawyer, wrote: “Mr. Mounts is a highly experienced attorney and knows full well his arguments are deceitful and specious”, to which I responded: “Yes, experienced enough to know that such words are descriptors that some lawyers use when the facts are not on their side”. What I have not seen is a thoughtful, fact-based rebuttal to any of the salient facts established by the article, including those below.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:28 PM
Here is the truth, based upon official records available online to the public, including monthly GREC invoices, about Gainesville's biomass plant agreements with the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, LLC (GREC).
Friday, July 19, 2019 1:48 PM
On July 18, 2019, after publishing an Op-Ed in the Gainesville Sun on July 14, 2019 entitled "Time for a Taxpayer-Ratepayer Revolt?", Robert Mounts spoke to the Gainesville City Commission about fiscal responsibility. After initially disapproving the requested 11.5 percent property tax increase rate 4-3, upon reconsideration the final vote was 4-3 approving the resolution and the 2019-2020 budget plan without making any cuts.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 3:10 PM
This opinion piece challenges the Gainesville City Commission's recent preliminary vote to significantly raise taxes and utility rates. It will be published in the Issues Section of the Gainesville Sun on Sunday, July 14, 2019. This is the online version. I told Opinion Page Editor Nathan Crabbe that I had been "quiet long enough".
Then, on July 18, 2019, Mr. Mounts offered the following supplemental comments from the podium:
would like to submit a copy of my Special to the Sun entitled “Time for a
Taxpayer-Ratepayer Revolt?”, which appeared in the Sunday, July 14, 2019
edition of the Gainesville Sun, Issues Section, page 2, as well as a summary of
my supplemental comments from the podium tonight, July 18, 2019, for the
Second, what you are hearing from the public tonight is that you should not raise taxes and utilities rates and fees, without first making a more serious effort to cut costs and streamline city government.
In my experience, one effective way to cut a government budget is to direct an "across the board" percentage reduction, let’s say, 10 percent, and direct all departments to determine how they would make the cuts and still continue essential services. If you show the courage to do this, you will find that every department knows where the waste is and what it takes to continue essential services at the level the public has come to expect. Given the expansion of city government in recent years, you should also reduce city personnel costs, one of the largest drivers of annual government operating costs. Start with top executive positions and salaries, particularly those added during the previous City Manager’s tenure.
Another option already presented to you, but apparently rejected, is a hiring freeze. Perhaps this was rejected because it conflicts with your recent policy votes to end prison labor and hire new full-time employees (FTEs) to do this work, as well as to convert 31 former GREC contract workers to full-time GRU employees. You apparently agreed to this without enough thought for how the City would pay for either initiative. The same goes for the otherwise worthwhile goal to pay all city employees a “living wage”. It would not be the first time a public body had to vote against, or delay, an initiative it had earlier approved, because it could not afford it.
"Line-by-line" exercises by politicians sounds good but rarely works. Inevitably, there are too many pet projects folks will vigorously defend, and in your case, some have received 7-0 support. As children we were all expected to learn the difference between “needs” and “wants”. The same is true in government -- it requires maturity, discipline, and fiscal responsibility.
Here is the “bottom line”: it would be a serious failure of your civic duty to impose higher taxes and higher utility rates -- measures that will hurt most those you say you are trying to help, just because you can. They should be either be rejected outright, or submitted to a public referendum.
Vote “No” on this proposed budget.
Thursday, June 6, 2019 1:19 PM
Thursday, June 6, 2019 1:07 PM
You had to know this was coming. Yesterday, the City Commission voted 4-3 (with Commissioners Johnson, Ward, and Simmons dissenting) to significantly raise GRU rates and property taxes, as necessary due to their past mistakes to service the GRU debt related to the 2017 purchase of the biomass plant. Two more votes are required later this summer to make this final. Time for a taxpayer revolt?
Saturday, May 4, 2019 1:38 PM
Looming Property Tax, Utility Rate Increases
Kind of like, "well, we told you so". Thinking about whether this is the time for another Op-Ed reminding them how and why we got into this mess. I may write something this week. Still remember that revealing little box in the GRU paper that said how much it will take to service the debt over the next few years, jumping up big time in the sixth year, as I recall.
Glad Andrew Caplan is reporting on this. No mention of the cause, though.
Friday, April 26, 2019 10:15 AM
Donation of Excess Campaign Funds to Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, Inc.
Our Treasurer, Diane Hurtak, and I just filed our final Campaign Finance Report with the Clerk of the Commission (early, well before the 90 day deadline). Balanced to the penny, we had a very credible and efficient campaign, raising more than $10,000.00 in a very short time, which quickly supplemented my initial "jump-start" contribution of $3,000.00. We spent most of it wisely and had $894.35 remaining after all obligations were satisfied. I have donated that amount to charity and have closed the campaign account as provided by the election law. The beneficiary is the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that supports the Gainesville Fisher House, one of the best such facilities in the nation. For more regarding the local Fisher House, go to this link:
I want to thank Diane again for making this effort possible. Without her, I would not have attempted such a task. I am also very grateful to Melanie Shore of the Ameris Bank, 7000 SW Archer Road, Gainesville, for her invaluable personal assistance in establishing and properly managing the account.
I thank all of you again from the bottom of my heart for your hard work and dedication.
For now at least, my website (robertmounts.com) will stay active as a personal website and may be updated from time to time. It is one way of staying in the fight.
Sunday, March 17, 2019 8:24 PM
Fitch Downgrades GRU $1.5 billion credit rating
Fitch Ratings Downgrades $1.5 Billion of GRU Outstanding Debt; Very High Leverage Cited as Basis for Fitch Downgrade; GRU Management Fails to Disclose
Fitch Downgrade in Response to a Direct Question During Televised UAB Meeting
GAINESVILLE, FL., March 16, 2019 – Former Florida Public Service Commissioner and GRU customer
Nathan A, Skop issued the following statement regarding the Fitch downgrade of Gainesville Regional
Utilities (“GRU”) related utility system revenue bonds; the Fitch basis for the downgrade; the failure of GRU
management to affirmatively disclose the Fitch downgrade (i.e., material omission) in response to a direct
question from Mr. Skop during a televised Utility Advisory Board (“UAB”) meeting; the inconsistencies contained within the GRU management discussion of the Fitch downgrade; and the potential adverse financial impact of the Fitch downgrade on GRU customers.
Fitch Downgrade of GRU Related Debt
On March 13, 2019, Fitch Ratings downgraded approximately $1.5 billion of outstanding utility system
revenue bonds related to GRU. A true and correct copy of the Fitch Rating report is attached herein as
Enclosure 1 (omitted for brevity). The downgrade of the outstanding utility system revenue bonds to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-‘ mirrored the ‘A+’ rating that Fitch assigned to the 2019 Series A bonds ($159 million), 2019 Series B bonds ($27 million), and 2019 Series C bonds ($68 million) scheduled for issuance by the city of Gainesville, FL. The
Gainesville City Commission is expected to vote to approve the 2019 Series C bond issuance during the regular City Commission meeting on March 21, 2019.
As of the date of this press release, the City of Gainesville has not posted the Agenda for the City Commission meeting on March 21, 2019.
Accordingly, the general public remains in the dark about the Fitch downgrade and the details surrounding the controversial and ill-advised 2019 Series C debt refinancing scheme which has been opposed by numerous
GRU customers, the UAB Chairwoman, and the UAB Vice Chair. 2019 Series C Bond Issuance Instead of paying off existing debt and retiring it as it reaches maturity (2019-2025) over the next few years, the proposed 2019 Series C bond transaction seeks to refinance $68 million of debt for another 30 years by issuing variable interest rate bonds in a rising interest rate environment at a greater total borrowing cost to GRU customers. Refinancing the $68 million in debt will cost GRU customers at least $114 million over the next 30 years (nearly double the amount of debt being refinanced). The proposed transaction reduces debt service obligations in the near term at a greater total borrowing cost to GRU customers. Despite the
Fitch downgrade, GRU is kicking the growing can of debt further down the road at great total borrowing cost to GRU customers. The proposed 2019 Series C debt refinancing scheme (in the wake of the 2012 debt restructuring scheme used to hide the true rate impact of the biomass contract) is another bad deal for GRU customers. “Taking GRU even deeper into debt to fund the General Fund Transfer (“GFT”) is fiscally irresponsible”, said Mr. Skop. If the GFT is reduced as proposed by GRU, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to take GRU even deeper into debt as evidenced by the Fitch downgrade of GRU related debt due to very high leverage. GRU customers should oppose this ill-advised debt restructuring scheme which is coming before the Gainesville City Commission for approval on March 21, 2019.
Fitch Basis for Downgrade As expressly stated in the Fitch Ratings report dated March 13, 2019, very high leverage was the Fitch basis for downgrading the GRU related debt:
‘VERY HIGH LEVERAGE BASIS FOR DOWNGRADE”
“Despite a gradual decline in total debt over the past few years, GRU's leverage profile is very high and a main credit
weakness for the utility. As of fiscal-end 2018, GRU had about $1.6 billion of total debt outstanding and $93 million of outstanding commercial paper. A portion of the 2019 bond proceeds will be used to repay outstanding CP with long term debt, leaving total debt outstanding relatively unchanged.
Nevertheless, leverage, as measured by net adjusted debt to adjusted FADS, has been elevated for many years before rising to a very high 11.0x in fiscal 2018.”
GRU Management Failed to Disclose Downgrade in Response to Direct Question
During the UAB meeting held March 14, 2019, former state utility regulator Skop asked GRU management
a direct question relating to the proposed 2019 Series C bonds. Specifically, Mr. Skop asked,
“Mr. Bielarski, with respect to the staff recommendation for the proposed Series C 2019 issuance,
can you affirmatively guarantee that if GRU moves forward with this, that GRU debt or credit will
NOT be downgraded. Yes or No?”
Reference: UAB meeting video at 2:00:24 to 2:03:02:
Just say NO! (UAB meeting video at 2:50:00 to 2:53:15)
Kicking the Can of Debt Down the Road (UAB meeting video at 56:30 to 58:00)
Despite having ACTUAL knowledge that Fitch downgraded GRU related debt on March 13, 2019, GRU management failed to disclose the Fitch downgrade in response to the direct question asked by Mr. Skop. The material omission by GRU was also NOT corrected by the UAB Chairwoman who had ACTUAL
knowledge of the Fitch downgrade.
This assertion is clearly supported by the attached public records. On March 14, 2019, GRU (Bielarski)
sent an email to the Gainesville City Commission and UAB members regarding the Fitch downgrade at
10:01:07 AM (prior to the UAB meeting at 5:30 pm). A true and correct copy of the GRU e-mail is attached
herein as Exhibit A. The UAB Chairwoman subsequently forwarded the GRU email relating to the Fitch
downgrade to her Gmail account at 11:49:47 AM. A true and correct copy of the GRU e-mail that was forwarded to the Gmail account is attached herein as Exhibit B. The general public (including myself) had absolutely NO knowledge of the Fitch downgrade e-mail until AFTER the UAB meeting, because the Commission and UAB e-mail is NOT posted on the Commission website until after 11 pm on any specific day. Accordingly, GRU management knowingly failed to disclose and concealed the Fitch downgrade in response to the direct question asked by Mr. Skop. The UAB Chairwoman also failed to correct the material
omission made by GRU management (Bielarski, Resnick).
As of the date of this press release, the general public remains in the dark about the Fitch downgrade necessitating the issuance of this press release to illustrate how GRU management knowingly failed to
disclose and concealed the Fitch downgrade in response to the direct question asked by Mr. Skop at the
Inconsistencies in GRU Management Discussion of Fitch Downgrade
Exhibit A (omitted here) provides the GRU management discussion of the reason for the Fitch downgrade. The Fitch report expressly stated that the basis for the downgrade was “VERY HIGH LEVERAGE BASIS FOR
DOWNGRADE”. GRU management, however, attributes the downgrade to a change in Fitch rating criteria.
The Fitch report is completely devoid of any mention that the downgrade resulted from a change in the
Fitch rating criteria. In response to a prior representation made to the Gainesville City Commission by GRU
management and PFM related to a utility downgraded under the alleged rating criteria change, GRU and
PFM, despite two public records requests, could not provide the name of the utility to support their assertion.
Accordingly, the GRU explanation of the downgrade is NOT supported by the content of the Fitch report.
Based upon the above, local media should provide Fitch Ratings with copy of the GRU management e-mail
attached herein as Exhibit A to fact check this inconsistency and determine whether Fitch agrees with Mr.
Bielarski’s assertion that the downgrade resulted from an actual change to the Fitch rating criteria as
opposed to GRU being taken even deeper into debt despite already being very highly leveraged.
GRU management also attempts to downplay the significance of Fitch downgrade within the Exhibit A
discussion noting that S&P and Moody’s affirmed 2019 Series A and 2019 Series B bond issuance. The KEY difference not mentioned by GRU management, however, is that Fitch actually rated the 2019 Series A, 2019 Series B, and the 2019 Series C bonds (assigning the same ‘A+’ ratings as the downgraded GRU debt) while S&P and Moody’s did NOT rate the proposed 2019 Series C bond issuance.
Potential Adverse Financial Impact of Fitch Downgrade on GRU Customers
GRU management and the Gainesville City Commission have routinely stated that a downgrade would cost GRU customers millions of dollars of additional borrowing cost each year. In 2012, GRU management and the Gainesville City Commission expressed concern over the financial impact of a downgrade claiming that
GRU had saved $64 million in interest rates over the last decade because of GRU’s then higher creditratings. Since 2012, GRU has been downgraded at least three times while nearly doubling the amount of outstanding debt. Undoubtedly, the Gainesville City Commission will now conveniently claim that the Fitch downgrade doesn’t matter as they take GRU even deeper into debt to siphon more money out of the utility
irrespective of the financial harm to GRU and its customers. Ironically, the Gainesville City Commission is quick to raise GRU rates but refuses to give up their catered meals at taxpayer expense and govern in a fiscally responsible manner. “The problem is not GRU’, Skop added, “but rather the mismanagement of
our municipal utility at the hands of the City politicians”.
# # #
Nathan A. Skop, Esq.
Florida Public Service Commission
Phone: (352) 363-1455
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:53 AM
Truly enjoyed this one-hour interview this past Monday evening with well-known local radio host, Fred Sowder.
You will too!
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 10:16 AM
Graham Center Director David Colburn's Letter
Here is former University of Florida Provost and retiring Bob Graham Center for Public Service Director David Colburn's wonderful "Letter to the Editor" today endorsing my candidacy:
Devoted to public service
Gainesville is fortunate to have many talented people who seek local office. Robert Mounts, currently a candidate in District 4, is one such person.
Robert has had an extraordinary professional career that speaks to his leadership and integrity, serving more than 25 years in the Air Force as a judge advocate.
For two years he took leave to work for Gov. Reubin Askew, as deputy general counsel. One of the great governors in the 20th century, Askew campaigned to end corruption in government and in the courts.
After working with Askew, Robert returned to national service and was subsequently awarded the Army’s highest medal for his 18 years of civilian work in South Korea.
Robert has led a life devoted to public service and defense of our nation. He embraces Thomas Jefferson’s belief in the wisdom of voters.
I ask you to elect Robert Mounts to the City Commission.
David Colburn, Gainesville
Sunday, March 3, 2019 10:46 PM
Gainesville Sun Got it Wrong
[An update: The Sun finally published an updated version of this rebuttal as a paid political advertisement in the Issues Section of the Sunday, March 17, 2019 edition.]
Draft Special to the Sun: City Commission Candidate Robert Mounts Rebuts Sun Endorsement of Opponent (which Nathan Crabbe now refuses to publish).
Sadly, the Sun continues to get it wrong.
In its editorial Sunday, March 3, 2019, the “Editorial Board” endorsed my opponent. Yet when I appeared for an interview by the “Editorial Board” on February 19, 2019, the interview was solely about 20 minutes with Editorial Page Editor Nathan Crabbe, not the full Editorial Board. I never was offered a chance to talk with the publisher, James Doughton, the Editor and General Manager, Douglas Ray, the former Editorial Page Editor, Ron Cunningham, or James Lawrence, the stalwart proponent of GNV4All, who have participated in past screenings. I would like to have had that opportunity to look each one in the eye and make my case.
Sadly, Nathan Crabbe’s endorsement concentrates on issues where my opponent and I agree, such as the “zero waste” initiative and “renters rights”. It goes “off the rails” when it endorses my opponent’s advocacy for decriminalization of use and possession of small amounts of marijuana; just ask the State Attorney. We both support decriminalization; the difference is that my opponent wants the State Attorney to do so immediately, without appropriate changes in the law. It is not a City Commissioner’s job to run the State Attorney’s office, as they must “faithfully execute” the law as it is. Even so, State Attorney Bill Cervone and Public Defender Stacy Scott have worked well together to ensure lives are not ruined by criminal convictions for use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. I applaud that.
Then Crabbe misrepresents my record on affordable housing, claiming I failed to “recognize the need to expand the availability of affordable housing throughout Gainesville”. Yet from the beginning of the fight against the “GNV R.I.S.E” high-density infill plan which hundreds of my neighbors successfully opposed, I said I wanted to be part of a real solution for affordable housing. I made good on that pledge when as Chair, College Park University Heights Redevelopment Advisory Board (one of the four CRA districts), I urged the joint City-County Commissions to approve Commissioner Ward’s proposal to merge the four CRA districts, as that would allow us to shift funds from the west side where it is not needed, to the east side, where it is needed. I said some funds generated should be used as “seed money” to jumpstart a Community Land Trust that would actually build affordable housing, as done in Winter Park.
Lastly, despite candid admissions that GRU is heavily in debt ($1.6 billion, of which about $658 million is due to the purchase of the biomass plant, per Andrew Caplan article in the Sun), and that GRU is proposing a tax increase, higher utility rates, and reductions in the GRU transfer, just to service the debt, Crabbe claims I was wrong to say this was caused by the purchase of the biomass plant. Tell that to the ratepayers; tell that to the taxpayers who now must suffer the consequences of years of mismanagement. Visit robertmounts.com to find out why.
Saturday, March 2, 2019 6:25 PM
Here is a link to the February 25, 2019 League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Facebook video for the District 4 City Commissioner race.
Saturday, March 2, 2019 9:16 AM
Nice profile in The Independent Florida Alligator on Friday, March 1, 2019 by reporter Karina Elwood.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 6:14 PM
The progressive Gainesville Iguana Endorses Robert Mounts
Gainesville city elections, March 19
Posted on February 27, 2019
by Joe Courter
Yes, another election, this time for the City of Gainesville Mayor (citywide), District 4 City Commissioner (which is in the south/central area) and a referendum on charter review (also citywide and discussed in a separate article).
The mayoral race pits incumbent Mayor Lauren Poe against three challengers: Marlon Bruce, a 20-year-old Santa Fe College student with a questionable performance record in student government there; Jennifer Reid, a registered Republican and attorney big on public safety issues; and Jenn Powell, who was and is a strong Bernie Sanders supporter, a community activist, and formerly a candidate for City Commission a few years ago. Being a four-way race, it is possible there will be a runoff stretching to April.
The District 4 race is a two-way between incumbent Adrian Hayes-Santos and Robert Mounts, who filed to run at the last minute.
The overriding issue in these races is a challenge to the status quo of a City Commission that has talked about east/west inequities for years but has not produced the results many would like to see, and the rampant and rapid development projects in the City. The past two Iguanas have highlighted this tendency to push for development over the concerns and character of the existing neighborhoods.
To me, it seems that we have a well-meaning, progressive Commission who have brought many great and lasting benefits to the City: bike lanes, roundabouts, parks, culture and arts funding; but they also seem to be infatuated with more and more … well, doing, as in the quite justifiably maligned “Department of Doing.”
Commissioners should not be partners with developers; they should be selective and yes, sometimes say no, demand higher standards, and guide development to fix actual needs, because our City has major needs that must be addressed with more than concerns and promises.
We support Jenn Powell as a hard worker, committed to refocusing the Commission to see poverty, to see actual needs, and because of her life experience of living hard times in challenging situations, to be a leader in moving the Commission to address issues that persons of more comfortable lives have not known. Plus her background as an accountant is a real plus.
In the other race as much as we like Adrian Hayes-Santos as a person, he totally bought into the whole “Department of Doing” thing, and perhaps the City needs to recalibrate its priorities, slow down and think more of others and of gentrification, and do a little more to help those who have been left out, not just giving developers a free pass. Vote Mounts, and set a new tone.
By all means, do your own research, check the candidate websites, and go to forums if you can. The Supervisor of Elections can steer you to a lot of information. Early voting begins March 9 and runs through March 16. Election day is Tuesday, March 19.
Monday, February 25, 2019 12:16 PM
State Attorney Bill Cervone Endorses Campaign
I am especially honored to have long-time Duckpond resident and State Attorney Bill Cervone's endorsement in the Gainesville Sun today:
I have owned my home in the city for over 40 years. Despite every effort I make to conserve, my utility bill has never been higher and it will apparently climb more because of city mismanagement of GRU.
Commissioners talk about a “living wage” but they refuse to adequately fund police positions and salaries, leading to officer shortages that put everyone at risk.
Commissioners choose to focus on illusory problems that are not even within their authority, and City Hall is dominated by one mindset, resulting in no meaningful consideration of other views and leaving those who believe in fiscal responsibility with no voice.
Ill-conceived ideas that threaten the quality of life in our neighborhoods with noise, over-development, and uncontrolled alcohol and drug use distract from the real needs of our city.
For these and many other reasons I urge voters to elect Robert Mounts to the City Commission.
Bill Cervone, Gainesville
Gainesville Sun, February 25, 2019
Let's be honest, endorsements from those who know me well mean more to me than any endorsement of a special interest group. For example, the Sierra Club jumped out and endorsed the incumbent before I even qualified to run, with no opportunity to even meet his challenger. Then one of their Board members attempted a clumsy "hit job" on me, taking words out of context from a four-year old article in the Florida Alligator (for which he had to apologize just hours later). So I ask you, how much is their endorsement really worth?
Friday, February 22, 2019 8:12 PM
WUFT Radio Recorded Candidate Roundtable
Today I faced off with my opponent in a recorded 52 minute WUFT Radio "Candidate Roundtable" (debate) moderated by veteran newscaster Forrest Smith and Ethan Magoc, Multimedia News Manager. It will be aired on Saturday, March 2nd at 1:00 PM and again on Wednesday, March 6 at 8:00 PM.
Earlier I said I only wish it was going to be aired sooner as the questions allowed me to draw a clear and positive contrast with the views and record of my opponent and often simply broke my way. I encourage everyone to tune in as I believe it will energize you even more than you already are to get out the vote and win this election. Now, however, the full audio recording may be heard at this link:
Sunday, February 17, 2019 9:05 AM
Great editorial in today's Gainesville Sun regarding the sad choices the incumbent's have left us with in respect to our debt-burdened Gainesville Regional Utility. It is the financial disaster many have seen coming all along. See also my video on the home page and my advice to the Commission then. Surely, the "chickens have come home to roost" and we now know the consequences.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:35 AM
This is actually very good news. I have been talking this up for sometime because as current chair of the College Park University Heights Redevelopment Advisory Board to the CRA (where much of the tax increment funding (TIF) has been generated from the west side), I felt that combining the four districts as proposed by Commissioner Harvey Ward would allow us to shift funding to the east side, where it is really needed. The money is already there; it is just a matter of where we can, and should, spend it. Thus it is not a "fiscal management" issue.
I am on record in favor of this proposal at last month's joint meeting of the city and county commissions. There, I also expressed "disappointment" that there was still distrust between the two commissions on this issue and asked them to move past it and address the substance of the proposal, So, good on all of you for doing so!