Stewart’s Blog: Commissioner Miller’s Cable Bill and the 27% Property Tax Increase

Stewart’s Blog: Commissioner Miller’s Cable Bill and the 27% Property Tax Increase

It is time to get real!

Yesterday at the City Budget workshop , Commissioner Nancy Miller made an impassioned plea for a 27% increase in property taxes- her rationale: it is not much money when compared to the money shes pays for comcast cable.

She said  “we are fighting over $10 per month for many people. For our personal household it will be a $12 per month increase. We pay the city of Tallahassee $550 a year, we pay comcast almost $2,400 a year.”

It is also not much money when your household will receive more money because of the proposed tax increase.

You see, in talking about her “household”, Commissioner Miller left out a pertinent fact.

Ms. Miller’s husband works for the City, and like all other employees, he will get a 3% raise under the proposed budget.

A conservative estimate indicates their “household” will net an extra $1600-$2000 per year, which will more than cover any increase in the property taxes Commissioner Miller has to pay due to her vote.

This is a dirty little secret that local media has not wanted to talk about.

Over the last four years, Commissioner Miller has quietly voted for pay raises that enriched her “household”.

The difference now, Ms. Miller is supporting a property tax increase which will pay for $2.6 million in pay raises and she is telling  people it really is not that much.

Yea, for some “households” it is a windfall!

Commissioner Millers’ impassioned pleas looses a bit of credibility when you know the facts.

Also, consider this, the fact is only 30% of the proposed property tax comes from homesteaded property owners.

The rest, 70%,  is coming from business owners and other commercial interests that provide jobs and invest in the community.

What about them?

How about workers who will not get a $10 a month pay raises because business taxes go up?

How about renters who will get hit with an increase in the fire services fee in October and a possible rent increase due to their landlords tax increase?

If you’re one of those people, just remember, the increase probably will not be as much as Commissioner Miller’s cable bill.

28 Responses to "Stewart’s Blog: Commissioner Miller’s Cable Bill and the 27% Property Tax Increase"

  1. I don’t have a mortgage on my house but I will continue to pay over $4,000 each year in combined city, county, school taxes. I will never own my home. I will only be renting it from government because if I don’t pay they will take it from me. There should be no property tax. It should be replaced with a sales tax so that everyone has to pay. I am tired of paying for everyone else that reaps the benefits but don’t pay a cent.

  2. As Sen Everett Dirksen said: “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.”
    Evidently, Mrs. Miller does not understand the concept of “Death by a Thousand Cuts”.
    Taxed TOO MUCH Already.

  3. City Commissioners could do much better demanding economy in their government, but it is going to require them to have a better understanding of the minutia of the budget. I am not sure they want to get into questioning increases in every line item, but that is what more economy-minded decisions would require.

    For me, there are two points to consider from the article. The first is the bigger issue for me, as it should be for everyone: the city is trying to pass out recurring multi-million dollar raises, expand municipal services, and increase capital improvements, to name a few. Unfortunately, we have a local economy that can hardly sustain current efforts. It is not clear to me how increasing the tax burden on what is mostly non-homesteaded property owners is going to help businesses that already do not have enough sales to increase their bottom lines, or the families with increasingly tighter budgets that have to give up one more thing to support municipal government.

    The second point is not an issue me, and I do not think it should be for anyone else: Commissioner Miller’s vote on a “pay raise for her husband.” If the commissioner was voting for a specific payment to her husband or if the city manager had squirreled away in some account a specific payment to the commissioner’s husband in exchange for the commissioner’s “yes” vote on the budget, yes, that would be an issue. I do not believe that is the case.

    There is still much to do on the budget with only a couple of months to do it. And with the commissioners off for a month, I suspect half of the remaining time will be going to bolstering claims on resources not trying to produce more economy in municipal services.

    1. I agree with some of what you say, with the exception of Miller’s voting conflict. I think the point is not that Miller can’t or shouldn’t vote on the property tax due to her husband getting a raise, though I think it’s questionable, the ISSUE is it’s the fact that she made a plea to voters to accept it due to the fact that it’s not that big of a deal to the bottom line compared to her cable bill. She should at least recognize that some of us have already cut our cable bills and to add even $15 a month is a big deal, especially if our property values go up in the next couple of years. It’s her arrogance and inability to look outside her own circumstances that is offensive to me. 7 straight months of unemployment in our town…and she thinks a 23% property tax is the answer cause it’s not a big deal? She should as least recognize that her household is benefiting from her vote while the rest of us outside the city coffers are having to suck it up and pay for their continuous raises. It IS an issue for her to vote to raise her own household’s income at my expense.

  4. With all the tax increases, The City, and the County have taken a weeks worth of Grocery off the table. And it’s plane to me that they just do not care!!!
    I have left several messages with our City Commissioner, Do you think they have called me back?

  5. The amount of the pay raises has been misrepresented from the get go as well as the amount that is going to the police dept. There are also some telling comments missing, of which our citizens should be reminded: The County and the School Board have not released their intentions for their increases in millage rates as well as the fact that the fire department charge is going up. And don’t forget the $.05 per gallon gasoline tax your county recently hit you with. The $12 per month that Miller is clucking about, has just gone higher. One final comment, the Florida Legislature in 2007 passed law(s) which restricted local governments from raking property owners over the coals time and again. The particulars escape me but the laws are in place. The local taxing authorities of our town have got to get in line or our economy will remain stagnant. Government taking our money needlessly, is the problem we face in this town.

  6. I am pretty confident that Miller sealed her fate for another term. We all know Richardson is done. Hopefully the people who were so happy Andy was elected, will now see the light and dump this chump.

  7. Any commissioner whose spouse stands to receive a pay increase as a result of how you vote has a very obvious “conflict of interest”. IMO, she should have made this disclosure and recused herself from this vote. At the very least sought the advise of the city’s new ethics advisor & city attorney. It appears that Nancy Miller was the “swing vote” with 3 in favor and 2 opposed to the 27% increase in the property tax rate.
    Two thumbs down. Let’s see if the Tallahassee Democrat thinks this is newsworthy?
    And what happened to the Tallahassee of Comnerce. They appeared to have gone

  8. Mrs. Miller can go pound sand! We had a tree fall across the road in Indian Head acres the other day. When the city came to get it off the power line they cut away only to the edge of the asphalt and picked up (with a claw loader) only what was on the road. Leaving 1000lbs of tree trunk in my neighbor’s drive way. I walked out to ask the operator if he would pick up the trunk pieces out of her drive way as she is 87 years old and he was parked next to it picking up pieces inches away.

    He refused, citing it wasn’t his job. I was polite and agreed that it may not be his job but it is the neighborly thing to do. he pointed to a vulgarity tattooed on his neck and closed the window of the loader!

    And you want me to pay almost 30% more for that? I’m selling and moving to the country.

  9. Property taxes has gone up WAY MORE than ANYTHING in Talla. As a landlord its now a deal breaker- no way to rent and turn a profit.

  10. I own about 30 rental units in the city so the 10 dollars per month that Miller dismisses as inconsequential will result in an yearly expenditure of $ 3600. How about we don’t spend seven million on a walkway.Buy private property for hundreds of thousands of dollars and take it off the tax rolls for a weekend produce market in Frenchtown instead of using the Renaissance covered parking lot. If I ran my small business like the city I would be fiscally bankrupt

  11. It’s not about the dollar amount. It’s the fact that our city is wasting money on pedestrian bridges and parks when we don’t have the money to do so. Those things are great if you have the money to pay for them, but don’t spend what you have and then tell citizens we need more cops. What we need are better city officials.

  12. Thanks for shedding more light on this subject! Please someone educate me. Aren’t property taxes regulated by Leon County? Is this city proposed increase for only those who own property within the city limits?

  13. This sounds like taxation without representation.
    Those elected should represent most of those who
    put them in office and not vote just to please or
    further their own agenda.

  14. There is only two places on earth that you can be allowed to have such a obvious conflict of interest: Pakistan and Tallahassee.

  15. It a City Commissioner has a family member who
    also works for the City, wouldn’t it be a conflict
    of interest for that Commissioner to vote a 3%
    raise for the City employees. And the state
    employees haven’t had a raise in a while. The
    Commissioner should recuse him or herself in
    voting for the 3% raise. Just saying!!!! That
    would be the right thing to do.

  16. Thank God for Tallahassee Reports. Can you imagine the Democrat printing this duplicity on the part of Miller?

    Fat chance!

    1. Only if the city issued a press release on it, good doctor.
      And even then, it would have to be handed out at local restaurants for T-Flub to see a copy.

  17. I have already had to cut the cable tv out of my budget, so MS. Miller – what should I cut next to pay for your family to be enriched???

  18. Miller is on of those commissioners who is concerned about the inequities in income, yet she is supporting a measure which will hit those people on the lowest income level the hardest. We will be paying 58K for a horticulturist for Cascades Park. 58K here, 600K there (cameras) , 70k extra (unexplained) for the mayor’s office. Just chump change because it is coming out of OUR pockets!

  19. NO! NO! NO! We cannot continue to grow government! We have Commissioners in place who are NOT making practical decisions with our tax payer dollars.

    State employees do not receive pay raise every year – why is it just routinely expected that city employees receive a raise every year?

    Let’s see some cuts take place in non-critical funding first before citizens and business owners are expected to
    pay higher taxes.

  20. Am so glad Ms Millers bill will not go up but $15.00
    I own one piece of commercial property that the taxes last year were $22,000 and you don’t think a 27% increase won’t be passed down to my tenants and the will pass it on down to their customers
    Come on wake up!!!!!!

  21. Why are city employees receiving a 3% raise? We have state employees who have gone for the last three years without a raise. Our service members are not getting a raise. Use this proposed pay raise funds to pay for new police officers!

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