Decrepit but not worth ten million
From the Sun-Sentinel-
A drug sting across the street. The wife or I used to drive by this office 5-6 times a week on the way to work. We've never had any problems. Is one drug sting sufficient reason to move the office? Has the office ever been broken into or vandalized?
Wishing to efficiently serve the public, Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon is proposing a new $10 million branch office at a time when the county is slashing services to meet the most severe budget cuts in recent memory.
Gannon wants to build the office in Lake Worth, home of the busiest and most decrepit of the branches.
The current building is woefully small for its growing services, has a leaky roof and doesn't have adequate parking, according to a report Gannon prepared for today's County Commission meeting. It is in a drug-plagued neighborhood, where the county and tax collector share the $92,734 salary of a full-time sheriff's deputy guarding the facility, she said.
"We have an office basically located in a high-crime area," Gannon said. "Three weeks ago, they did a drug sting across the street."
Gannon is a career politician that I've never particularly cared for. She has already proved to me she can't spend taxpayer money wisely. The County Commissioners would be smart to put a hold on Gannon's proposal aka threaten to slash her budget till she can prove a new building is worth it. Granted the building isn't very pleasing(I've been there twenty times at least over the years) but based on what the Sun-Sentinel is reporting, the Ten million can be better spent elsewhere.
The proposal comes as the county draws up its sharply reduced 2008 budget, in anticipation of June's special legislative session on tax relief.
Gannon has an advantage over most offices of county government: she is master of her own budget. As an elected official, Gannon prepares her budget out of fees drawn from taxes, independent of the County Commission. Excess fees she doesn't spend get returned to the county.
Commissioners do not have the power of approval -- or disapproval. If they want to object, they can appeal to the Department of Revenue.
County Administrator Bob Weisman acknowledged the poor conditions of the Lake Worth building but noted that the money will be missed.
Gannon is proposing a 60,000-square-foot building to replace the current 6,500-square-foot office on Military Trail south of 10th Avenue. It will allow for training and planned expanded services and will have capacity for 175 employees and 350 parking spots. The tax collector's administrative offices, currently on the third floor of the Governmental Center, would move to the old Lake Worth building.
Weisman said he expected commissioners to support the proposal.
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