I am a strong advocate of keeping taxes low. I was pleased that the city budget for Fiscal Year 2019 does not include an increase in ad valorem property taxes.

I did support, as did the current council, the increase in water and sewer tap fees passed by the council. The fees, which had not been increased for decades, will only apply to new construction, and the increase means that everyone in the city will not be subsidizing the new connections as they do now. 

I also understand the need to increase the monthly stormwater fees paid by residents of the city. Those funds will be used to complete needed stormwater infrastructure projects in the city to ease the standing water problems that often occur in the city, and keep us prepared in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane. However, I believe an incremental increase spread over two years would have been preferable.

It will be necessary to find revenue to replace money that will be lost when The Better Jacksonville Plan expires, and compensate for the anticipated reduction in revenue should an increase in the homestead exemption be passed by the voters in November. But that burden should not be borne exclusively by Neptune Beach homeowners. 

The city must continue to set priorities for spending, making sure that expenditures benefit the entire community.

Paid for by Tom Patton for Neptune Beach City Council, Seat 4