The RHATT Pack Watch
Today is Wednesday, February 6th, Day 287 of the Rhatt Pack Watch.
White Springs will undergo its Annual Audit in the near future. Given that the Florida Department of Transportation, Department of Revenue Office of the Attorney General and the State Legislature have initiated investigations of White Springs Public Corruption and illegal use of all LOFT funds, the Town has received in recent years, the “Watch” thought it prudent to solicit State insight.
Accordingly, the “Watch” contacted the Florida Department of Revenue for guidance concerning uses of Municipal Local Option Fuel Tax Funds (LOFT) revenues,. While the Department declined to provide advice in any form, they did point out that their efforts are guided by specific wording provided by the Florida Statutes. They pointed out that Florida Statute, Title XIV – Taxation and Finance, Chapter 206 – Motor and Other Fuel Taxes governs the Fuel Taxes and their uses. Further, several additional Statutes either reproduce wording from the Chapter or directly refer to it. More specifically, Section 206.605 addresses the Municipal Tax on motor fuel.
Paragraph (2) states “Funds available under this section shall be used only for the purchase of transportation facilities and road and street rights-of-way; construction, reconstruction, and maintenance of roads, streets, bicycle paths, and pedestrian pathways; adjustment of city-owned utilities as required by road and street construction; and construction, reconstruction, transportation-related public safety activities, maintenance and operation of transportation facilities.” Note that only direct Transportation expenses are allowed. No indirect expenses are allowed.
For the past three years, the Town’s auditor, Ken Daniels, has stated a variety of opinions. When Daniels’ competence was questioned concerning his audits for fiscal years ending September 30, 2015, 2016 and 2017, he stated that the audits indicate no problems with any expenditures charged against the fuel tax funds, although virtually zero funds were spent on legitimate transportation projects
At first, Daniels opined that a reasonable breakdown of these funds would be 5 percent for legitimate transportation and 95 percent of other non-transportation expenditures. Under further pressure, on July 13th, he revised his breakdown to 25 percent for legitimate transportation projects and 75 percent for other expenditures. Throughout this period, Daniels repeatedly cited the incorrect sections of the Florida Statutes for fuel tax expenditures as his authority. And then on July 20th, Daniels reinterpreted the word “operations” from the Florida Statute 336.025 (7) “to be a very large umbrella and encompasses a broad range of services, including management.” It appears, Daniels believes LOFT revenues belong in a slush fund.
According to the Department of Revenue, Daniels interpretation of the Statute is “dead wrong”. While not explicitly stated, it appears that the Department of Revenue will be undertaking reviews of every client of Daniels to determine the extent of similar opinions and the cover-up of related wrong doing. Further, the Department of Revenue pointed out that the Statute provides for the suspension of fuel tax funds to and the recovery of inappropriate and/or illicit use of fuel tax revenues, from the offending entity.
It looks like White Springs, the County and others will be under intense scrutiny in the near future. Well folks, that $750,000 will be on your backs. The “Out of Towner” Lapdog “Just keep paying me” Tebow doesn’t live here. She couldn’t care less what this will cost YOU. It’s time that you took back YOUR Town, That means, it’s time to rid Town Hall of all illicit activities and corruption. It’s time you helped provide information and insight to the FBI office in Jacksonville (904) 248-7000. They need concrete information concerning Public Corruption ASAP.