City of WPB vs IAFF part 2

2008 Former Mayor Lois Frankel gave us our first Fire Fee of $25.00 and the price was unchanged thru 2017. 10 years.

2018 Former Mayor Geri Muoio doubled the fee to $50.00

2019 Mayor Keith James doubled the fee to $100.00

2020 James says the $100.00 fee will not be raised.

I asked a real estate friend how many homes were located in WPB and received a number of 49,936. In fairness to the city I will use the figure 40,000 homes from 2008 thru 2017. That’s $1,000,000./year x 10 years = $10,000,000.00.

My next request was to the PBC Tax collector, below is their response.

Thank you for contacting the office of the Constitutional Tax Collector Serving Palm Beach County concerning a public records request. Below is the response prepared by our Finance and Budget Department.
West Palm Beach Fire Protection Property tax payments collected

FY 2018 $ 2,112,329.33
FY 2019 $ 4,043,560.38
12 years $16,155,889.71
2020 estimated 4 million more. With over $20,000,000.00 dollars collected for the “Fire Fee’ James, Johnson and City Commissioners need to explain why fire fighter’s are one of the lowest paid in PBC and why they must ask, with hat in hand, for a decent pay raise. They are on the front line for us and we should stand with them.

I have no reason to believe Mayor James and City Administrator Faye Johnson have negotiated in “good faith” when they tell city employees and the public that if the fireman get raises city workers will get laid off.

Below is a statement from a WPB Fire Fighter.
Request for Statement – Negotiations

Below is a short statement and they “ask the residents continue to call for a greater level of transparency and accountability on how this resource and how the freed-up general fund resources are being allocated” Personally I don’t believe they are asking to much, and hoping you feel the same.
Copy of Request for Statement – Fire Fee

After I posted part 1 of the WPB vs IAFF I received many responses from reader, but one stood out because she included her response to all city leaders.

To sandymac36@aol.com
Cc cfox@wpb.org, clambert@wpb.org, cneering@wpb.org, jpeduzzi@wpb.org, kshoaf@wpb.org, dmatty@wpb.org, fjohnson@wpb.org, kjames@wpb.org

“After reading this article, I must say that I totally concur with Sandy in her observations. This is an unprecedented time and calls for careful stewarding of our tax dollars. Again, my taxes are being raised, but I am not happy with how the money is being spent. My pension is no way near that of some of the city officials…especially the recent hires. Give those pay raises to those who serve and protect our city and its citizens! Cut the fat and put those tax dollars in places that benefit the ones who are paying the freight.”

A few weeks ago, at a City Commission meeting, I asked the mayor if it was true the city was negotiating with the PBC Sheriff’s office to turn our police officers into sheriff deputies. He denied it. It is my understanding the City Commissioner’s were contacted and asked if they would be amenable to the idea of a contract with the PBC Sheriff Office. Commissioners if I was given bad information please let me know so I can correct the story.

This story is about fire fighters, so why am I adding a paragraph about the police? Both are unhappy with the city’s impasse and if the police are considering a move, can the firefighters be far behind? James and Johnson has nearly destroyed the 2 most valuable assets the city has, cops and firefighters. They deserve better.

Message to the PBA and IAFF.
Mayor James has broken promises to both the police and firefighters and hopefully he will pay the price when he once again makes promises he has no intention of keeping while asking for their endorsement for a second term as mayor.

The end