What assets are we protecting if City Council ignores its responsibility to maintain them?

GUEST COMMENTARY

Kenneth and Deborah Daige

KEN AND DEBORAH DAIGE

Editor’s note: Ken Daige is a former City Councilman. He and wife Deborah have been active in the community for many years.

City council has put parks maintenance and recreational resources at the bottom of the proposed city budget once again, instead of protecting them by providing monetary resources and other support for maintenance, staff and employees to do what was needed.

The proposed budget calls for tearing down the city’s only public swimming pool, then replacing it with a skate park. Is this because City Council did not budget enough funds to manage and maintain Leisure Square properly? Is that why the City Marina languished and Council wanted to bring in an outside private firm to essentially rebuild it until the public said no, just do the maintenance and keep this money making asset? Is that why hurricane damage to the River House was ignored for years when Council proposed bringing in a brewery to take over. But you protested. Now this publicly owned asset is repaired and remains in public hands.

The roof at City Hall itself is in desperate need of repair, yet no funds were appropriated in next year’s budget to fix it as well as the equipment sitting on the roof. City staff has pleaded with City Council to do something about it before there is a major storm that could do serious damage to the entire building. One idea was to build a new City Hall. That is like buying a new house instead of fixing the roof on your current home.

These properties belong to you, citizens of Vero Beach, and budget cuts over the last several City Councils have kicked those assets down the road instead of being the stewards they should be and maintaining them for the public good. These assets were put into the Charter to keep them out of the politician’s hands with their political ideas.

Maintenance is necessary on virtually everything we own personally or in our city. Ignoring maintenance is like ignoring your health. Sooner or later your car, your home and your health will suffer if you don’t maintain them. The parks and recreation choices of Vero Beach belong to you, the citizens, not to city council. We, the voters, decide what to keep and maintain, not politicians sitting around a table budget.

It’s time to take back what belongs to the voters of Vero Beach and demand that we expect the stewards of our Charter protected lands and associated activities to show the same pride of ownership we do.

 

11 comments

  1. The pool is the only one COVB has to offer its residents! So sorry if majority of Council thinks services for its residents are unnecessary. I’d like to know just exactly what this Council does think our municipality owes us – or are we just here to pay taxes and shut up?

  2. I was very frustraed with the county building a new fire station because they let a mold situation get out of hand at the 82nd and 12th street station, which now sits there empty.

  3. 17,236 residents (2018 population estimate) X $20 = $344,720. Is this enough to fix the roofs, bathrooms, other recreational facilities in Vero Beach? This is just a quick proposal; if this is what you need, PLEASE TAX US, so that we can be once again proud to encourage our clients, friends and family to visit our parks. As a business person and long time resident, about a year ago I really started to notice how run down JC Park was, Riverside Park bathrooms, and Humiston Park also could use some brightening up. What is going on? Why would any city government not want to prioritize one of the most visible “calling cards” for the City? We used to always drive potential home buyers through our parks, or advise them to just roam around and walk or drive through the parks to get an idea of how special Vero was. No more! The roofs probably cannot be salvaged for the oceanfront porticos at JC Park; they are just disgusting looking as so neglected. The bathroom doors, I was assured, the two times I called the Planning Department, ” were on the agenda, and as soon as the monies were budgeted each and every park in rotation was going to be attended to.” What happened? If the above amount is not sufficient to paint, reroof, clean and spruce up at least these three heavily used parks, let alone South Park——-how much do you need? Divide it by the citizens of this City and get it done!

  4. Nancy Richards

    (I screwed up the first time and forgot my name on the below post; now corrected—sorry for double post!)

    17,236 residents (2018 population estimate) X $20 = $344,720. Is this enough to fix the roofs, bathrooms, other recreational facilities in Vero Beach? This is just a quick proposal; if this is what you need, PLEASE TAX US, so that we can be once again proud to encourage our clients, friends and family to visit our parks. As a business person and long time resident, about a year ago I really started to notice how run down JC Park was, Riverside Park bathrooms, and Humiston Park also could use some brightening up. What is going on? Why would any city government not want to prioritize one of the most visible “calling cards” for the City? We used to always drive potential home buyers through our parks, or advise them to just roam around and walk or drive through the parks to get an idea of how special Vero was. No more! The roofs probably cannot be salvaged for the oceanfront porticos at JC Park; they are just disgusting looking as so neglected. The bathroom doors, I was assured, the two times I called the Planning Department, ” were on the agenda, and as soon as the monies were budgeted each and every park in rotation was going to be attended to.” What happened? If the above amount is not sufficient to paint, reroof, clean and spruce up at least these three heavily used parks, let alone South Park——-how much do you need? Divide it by the citizens of this City and get it done!

    P.S. there again last night for a walk, doors on the bathrooms are still unpainted by the way–inside of the roofs still rotting; as the saying goes, “Just Do it”—get it fixed!

  5. A swimming pool can bring pleasure and physical activity to both our youth and senor citizens while a skate park will shut out most seniors.

  6. They are making a HUGE mistake shutting down Leisure Square pool. They could easily make it somewhere else or work with the county to make one. Why does it have to be in COVB limits?
    I had made the point that things need to be centrally located throughout the county when you make such a place like the Skate Park. Because kids from Sebastian I’m sure will be attending because it’s new and ours is small for having been rebuilt years ago. You’re talking about taking away a school’s sports team.
    People said that they can practice at the north county. Again not fair to those kids living in south county to practice. And both teams shouldn’t be practicing together. So now these teams have to split the time of ONE pool for 2 teams. Might as well make all the teams between both schools all practice at the same place and divide their times. It’s just a ridiculous thing to do. Like the county, COVB has their fair share of the good Ol’boy system. Plus depending on who you get in there, lays what is most important to which residents. One may favor beach side people versus the youth or the entire city.
    I totally agree that Vero used to be such a beautiful place with their parks and beaches. But it has gone downhill over the years. Its not expensive to maintain these places if you do them before they get real bad. I’d be questioning where all the money has gone. I remember living in a small 1 bedroom apartment behind Burger King and having over a $400 a month electric and water bill for me and my toddler. Which I worked 10hrs of the day while he was in daycare.
    I used to know a lot about some of the eternal workings because of living and working for COVB.

  7. Reading past columns and it sounds like COVB needs a NEW MAYOR. Get this guy out of office ASAP! Makes me wish I lived in COVB limits again.

  8. Vero Beach will become a second rate city when it is “chipped away” piece by piece by the city council. We cannot let this happen without a strong effort by Vero voters and make the needed changes on the city council. We must protect what we have now.

  9. Again, Ken and Deborah speak up clearly on what the problem is in Vero Beach presently; lack of stewardship. A far darker part of this equation is why–do you know why there are a lack of funds? Goes back to unwise and risky investments during the heyday of no holds barred–too big to fail thinking. While a few played “the big short” game and the rest of us would eventually suffer for their greed, incompetence and unwise investment of pension funds and other monies which belonged in this case, to the TAXPAYER, for maintenance and upkeep and future business by and on behalf of the people who were paying the bills———-that would be us by the way——– not the elected officials who took trips, padded their expenses accounts, failed to listen to their gut rather than investment salesmen and pull away from the ideas that were too good to be true; that is why there continues eleven years later to be shortfalls.

    Those shortfalls included huge amounts of money set aside for pensions for city workers; much of it went up in a puff of smoke in September of 2008 and the rest is not only history but is reflected in present day results. Like unpainted, unrepaired roofing at Jaycee Park small tiki huts, bathroom doors you risk getting splinters from at Jaycee and Riverside Park; on and on it goes. When will it end? When you say so and care enough to attend meetings, and above all vote for those who cannot be corrupted. Ya, I know, good luck with that prerequisite. Corruption is now seemingly a requirement of elected office in many cases; and no I am not naming names; but those who go back a few years here, know the cast of characters well. Some may have worked in what they thought was the best interests of all; but others enjoyed the gravy train and did not worry about tomorrow—for sure.

Comment - Please use your first and last name. Comments of up to 350 words are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s