Half cent sales tax hike straight to the crapper.

Just seen on the news how Indian Harbor Beach is pumping sewage in to the lagoon by the millions of gallons.
They claim there is no place else for it to go? So lets just go ahead and kill everything in the lagoon again.

Personally I never really expected out so called politicians do a stinking thing about the lagoon that would really help, especially when local municipalities continue to pump S%@t in our waters. But they'll pat themselves on the back and give each other raises with that money.
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Replies

  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,800 AG
    That...is sad.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • jhdog13jhdog13 Posts: 177 Deckhand
    If you ever get to listen to one of the presentations, do not question the dumping. Line is, septic tanks are one of the biggest contributors to the lagoons problems. This dumping is small. The other problem is muck.
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,565 Captain
    Riiight. Muck is the direct result of sewage being dumped in the lagoon.
    I think I'll start referring to them as the Indian and Banana toilets.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 8,794 Admiral
    I'd like to pump it into the politicians houses so the can be surrounded by what they're full of.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Here's the video.

    http://www.wesh.com/article/raw-sewage-flows-into-indian-river-lagoon/12789575

    To be fair, this is not a simple problem to resolve. Almost all water management projects receive partial (sometimes up to 90%) federal matching funding, yet they must be designed for emergency flood control. As you'll see from the vid, that's the issue here - they likely have to move water out of the storm water collection system to prevent flooding from new rain events that keep coming. Building storage capacity is an expensive white elephant. IMO, 1/2 penny tax $$ is far better spent getting cities like Satellite Beach to dig up all the old Orangeburg sewage piping from the 60's that is leaching millions of gallons of 100% disgusting raw household sewage into the ground. That leaching has so contaminated the soil that even if you cleaned up all the septic tanks, stopped all the sewage spills, dredged all the muck, you'd still have nitrogen loading in the river from leeched sewage in the soil. Why the county hasn't offered matching funding to do these BIG dig projects yet, who knows - maybe they simply haven't collected enough yet - it's going to be insanely expensive digging up every old street and house connection where that orangeburg was used back in the day.
  • whole lot of lovewhole lot of love Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    thinking of the grate fishing we had going here and how bleak the future looks is depressing. i only can tell you locally what i see up here in north merritt island. we had a vent leaking sewage right into the canals last week. it leaked all day before it stopped. this is the third time ive seen our neighborhood leak sewage in the past 3 yrs. what going on is there is too many poopers. we are putting serious stress on the sixty yr old sewer system. i bet the same is happening all over the intercoastals. 1/2 percent sales tax is throwing money away.
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Seems a County commish or staffer should be consulted on what we’ve gotten and what’s in the permitting process to be done with revenue from 1/2 cent tax.

    To just pull funding because of one unresolved element of the problem seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Accountability in both directions is critical IMO.

    If memory serves, during the hearings after the big fish kill, the 3 BIG problems with river nutrient loading were muck, runoff and ground leaching. I remember researching the ground leaching issue since I didn’t understand it and the pie chart in the Indian River Lagoon Progam Exec Dir’s presentation noted it was 30% of the problem (this relates to the orangeburg - old sewage piping issue noted in an earlier comment). Sewage spills accounted for well < than 10% of the problem YET there high profile and easily covered (like fish kills) in camera where the other problems are boring - news wise.

    Building more retention to reduce runoff, digging muck, digging up old sewage systems and replacing them all will cost ALOT of $$ - the question is - IS THAT WHAT THE 1/2 cent tax is being spent on?
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,800 AG
    Teej wrote: »
    IMO, 1/2 penny tax $$ is far better spent getting cities like Satellite Beach to dig up all the old Orangeburg sewage piping from the 60's that is leaching millions of gallons of 100% disgusting raw household sewage into the ground. That leaching has so contaminated the soil that even if you cleaned up all the septic tanks, stopped all the sewage spills, dredged all the muck, you'd still have nitrogen loading in the river from leeched sewage in the soil. Why the county hasn't offered matching funding to do these BIG dig projects yet, who knows - maybe they simply haven't collected enough yet - it's going to be insanely expensive digging up every old street and house connection where that orangeburg was used back in the day.

    I am not sure if applicable here....but there is new technology that actually puts a plastic inner liner type sleeve in old sewer piping....
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    This is a pretty common image of what folks find in this area when they do an upgrade to their old house. The orange burg looks ok on top, but once excavated, this is what the bottom looks like - everything just leeching into the ground.



    Orangeburg pipe was made from bits of wood pulp that were bonded together. It was never meant to be used as a drainage pipe. It actually disintegrates over time as waste water comes into contact with it. It is virtually impossible to properly repair an Orangeburg drain line system. Unfortunately, it was commonly used before the plastics revolution in the 60's.

    We can retain runoff and dredge muck but the ground will still be leeching 30% of the nutrient loading problem until this stuff is lined or replaced. I'm HOPING the county sets a deadline 10-20yrs in the future that their unincorporated areas will be upgraded and they'll offer matching 1/2 cent tax revenue to all municipalities that will commit to a similar deadline to address this stuff. That guaranteed $$ flow will allow municipalities to get bond money to get started knowing they'll have cash flow to pay those bonds off.

    Here's to hoping...
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    And don't get me wrong, these sewage spills/overflows are awful - IMO the counties and municipalities do a poor job in communicating what you can do to help alleviate the problem. It's ironic that with record high water in the river and standing water everywhere right now, the best thing you can do is USE LESS WATER.

    The water collection and treatment system is exactly that A SYSTEM. That system can only hold so much water in storage and so much water in the treatment ponds at facilities - it takes minimal time to filter the water of solids yet much longer to treat the water to an acceptable bacteria level to discharge. That latter part in BIG rain events like this is the choke point - unless you want stuff backing up in your toilet, sink and shower something has to give. In this case the "raw sewage" is water filtered of solids and highly diluted due to the massive volumes of rain but the water just can't be held long enough to be treated to acceptable bacteria levels.

    BTW - this is the link to sign up for City of Melbourne's CODE RED system
    http://www.melbourneflorida.org/departments/public-works-utilities/sign-up-for-codered
    Just about every municipality has something like this. It essentially allows the municipality to text or robe-call you (whichever you prefer) in emergency situations like high bacteria water - boil water notices. I WISH they also communicated to folks that using as little water as possible in these situations is the best way to do the right thing for the river.
  • redsnducksredsnducks Posts: 51 Greenhorn
    Great stuff. I've been making the same argument for years. The gravity wastewater lines leak like a sieve. We can 100% stop fertilizing lawns and spend millions pumping muck, and while getting septic tanks eliminated and these other projects will be helpful, folks need to recognize that until the sewer pipes are repaired as well, don't expect much. Technically the 1/2 cent should not be used for sewer lines....that is system upgrade maintenance that is supposed to have been being done all along - utility infrastructure has a life span...like 50 years...guess what? It's now mostly 50+ yrs old!
  • CountryBumpkinCountryBumpkin Fla. Piney WoodsPosts: 1,316 Officer
    What capacity are the treatment plants currently running at?

    If all the leaching sewer pipes were actually fixed and all the sewage really made it to the treatment plant...........
    do the plants currently have the capacity to support it?:wink

    I say......I say son.......new & improved my tail feathers.

  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    I would find it hard to imagine that any building development in the county could get permitted without there being sewage treatment capacity for it as well as normal (almanac avg) storm water runoff (which is considered point source pollution and thus has to go to the treatment plant as well). For example, the Viera development likely had to build the treatment infrastructure capacity to meet the new demand - that's how the permitting process SHOULD work.

    Capacity/treatment and upgrading the orange burg pipes are only slightly correlated. Yes, less would be leeching into the ground, meaning more to the treatment plant YET the treatment plants should have been built figuring a 100% flow (not calculating in any loss due to broken orangeburg).

    The storage shortage in Big rain events like this will occasionally overwhelm any retention and wastewater system. Retention sites are built with special overflow drains (you likely see them with the metal plate that prevents floating debris from blocking the elevated drain when the water gets that high) that diverts the excess into the storm water collection system (in old designs or rural areas along highways, straight into the ecosystem - flood control ALWAYS takes highest priority).

    So, my comment earlier that more storage could be built either in the form of more retention holding areas (to prevent overflow collecting in the stormwater system and susbsequesntly to the treatment plant) or with more storage tanks at the treatment plants - those though could be seen as expensive white elephants since they wouldn't be used most of the time.

    I myself would rather see matching tax $$ go towards motivating the replacement of the old orangeburg pipes. I think you get more conservation benefit for your buck and you find away to break the current cycle of folks saying "oh its too big a job, too expensive, out of sight, out of mind" and just goes on contaminating the river EVERYDAY. Yes, we would have to live with the overflow events like this that can happen rare circumstances yet these events by their nature provide ALOT of water to dilute the nutrient loading, lessen its immediate impact and allow the ecosystem to quickly recover.
  • Nicolexx1Nicolexx1 Posts: 40 Deckhand
    Sorry to burst your bubble but the half cent sales tax money has already been diverted .none of that money is going towards helping our river .how our government can do that is beyond me time for a revolution
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    saltybum wrote: »
    Just seen on the news how Indian Harbor Beach is pumping sewage in to the lagoon by the millions of gallons.
    They claim there is no place else for it to go? So lets just go ahead and kill everything in the lagoon again.

    Personally I never really expected out so called politicians do a stinking thing about the lagoon that would really help, especially when local municipalities continue to pump S%@t in our waters. But they'll pat themselves on the back and give each other raises with that money.

    Sent this to all the Brevard County Commissioners today along with the County Manager and Natural Resources Director. Hope it hit the mark for folks, we'll see if it gets a response...
    BTW - here's a link to the report I mention to them below if y'all are interested:
    http://www.brevardfl.gov/docs/default-source/save-our-lagoon-documents/save-our-indian-river-lagoon-project-plan-2017-supplement.pdf?sfvrsn=2

    Commissioners,

    Recent WESH news (video link below) of raw sewage being pumped into a canal connecting to the Indian River prompted an angler to begin a discussion on a popular fishing forum (link also below). Some comments disparaged the ½ cent tax as money wasted and suggest a repeal. It has been my experience over the years that these forums can turn corrosive when left unattended and I suggest addressing the accountability mentioned within the forum. Essentially, the desire for some type of simple communication (one-pager) regarding a balance sheet for ½ cent tax money each year (what was received, what was spent and a line item on the expenditure).

    Having just read the Feb 2017 Supplement to the Save our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan, I realize many projects are underway and monies each year also are spent in planning & permitting to get new projects moving. Sportsmen are a key stakeholder in the lagoon restoration project because they are on the water everyday telling members of the community what they see, how projects are being executed, results in the ecosystem before and after projects – thus the suggestion that someone within county government either engage on the forum directly or develop a simple product for posting there to provide some level of confidence that the ½ cent tax is a worthwhile initiative.

    Thank you for your time and service to the residents of Brevard County

    Sincerely,


    WESH Video
    http://www.wesh.com/article/raw-sewa...agoon/12789575

    Florida Sportsman Forum on ½ Cent Tax
    http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?250271-Half-cent-sales-tax-hike-straight-to-the-crapper
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Dang...quick response from the County Natural Resources Director (Mrs. Barker).

    "Thank you for this very important and timely suggestion. Staff prepares a monthly financial statement that is reviewed by the Citizen Oversight Committee to provide transparency on the expenditure of the 1/2 cent lagoon funds and provide an early opportunity for redirection if something seems inconsistent with the referendum or the intent of the voters. The monthly Financial Statement is part of the Committee's monthly agenda packet that is posted on their website (www.brevardfl.gov/SaveOurLagoon/CitizenOversight/Committee) a week prior to their meetings. Based on your suggestion, I think we should create a new link on the website specifically for the financial reports.

    In addition, John Durkee, President of the FL Sport Fishing Association, is on the Citizen Oversight Committee. I have copied him above [on the email response ]and will ask if he is willing to reach out to the Florida Sportsman Association to improve the flow of information.

    The next meeting of the Citizen Oversight Committee is October 20th. The agenda will be posted this Friday. I have been juggling speakers to make time for a discussion of the cause of the recent sewage discharges and potential solutions. I expect the Committee may also explore opportunities for a portion of the 1/2 cent lagoon tax to be redirected to addressing the inflow and infiltration problems that create excessive flows of wastewater following heavy rainfall events. The meeting is open to the public with multiple opportunities for public comment. If the Committee believes that the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project Plan should be amended to dedicate funds to help solve this problem, their recommendation will go to the County Commission for further public comment and decision-making.

    Thank you very much for sending the WESH and FL Sportsman links and for suggesting ways to improve the situation. Fortunately, the adaptive process adopted with the 1/2 cent referendum provides an opportunity to address this previously unfunded problem, if the community agrees this is a priority for available funds.
    Please keep in touch if you have additional suggestions."

    Sincerely,
    Virginia
  • Keep on SpoolinKeep on Spoolin Posts: 1,319 Officer
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    I am not sure if applicable here....but there is new technology that actually puts a plastic inner liner type sleeve in old sewer piping....

    You are correct Joe, I have been installing it on roadways for years now and it works well. Typically it is used on 18" pipe and larger, when it sets up it is as hard as a hull on any good boat. It is a solid pull from one end to another and it fills all cracks and voids.
  • straygeckostraygecko Cocoa BeachPosts: 66 Greenhorn
    You are correct Joe, I have been installing it on roadways for years now and it works well. Typically it is used on 18" pipe and larger, when it sets up it is as hard as a hull on any good boat. It is a solid pull from one end to another and it fills all cracks and voids.

    Yep, they did it here in Cocoa Beach not too long ago. Good stuff to extend the life of our sewer pipes.
  • straygeckostraygecko Cocoa BeachPosts: 66 Greenhorn
    Teej wrote: »
    I expect the Committee may also explore opportunities for a portion of the 1/2 cent lagoon tax to be redirected to addressing the inflow and infiltration problems that create excessive flows of wastewater following heavy rainfall events.
    This can be a real PITA as you often find homeowner solutions to their property drainage issues is to put in drains to the sewer system. Many cities across the country do regular smoke tests of their sewer systems to find driveway drains, etc. hooked up to the sewer system. Unfortunately, people then put in plumbing traps to stop the smoke from coming out their drains. Public education and tracking down these connections to the sewer system is something that definitely needs to be looked into and needs a place on the project list.

    The 1/2 cent sales tax isn't nearly the money we need to push forward all the projects that are needed to help the lagoon as quickly as we'd like. They could use 10 times that money. Given that if you look at the project plan they are doing a good job of looking at what can be done to remove the most nutrients from the lagoon as quickly as possible. The biggest contributors are #1 - muck (no surprise - its the result of many decades of dumping s**t in the lagoon), #2 - stormwater, decades of drainage systems that just dump unfiltered water into the lagoon, #3 - septic systems - many put in decades ago and failing. Both #1 and #2 are cheaper per pound of nutrients prevented from reaching the lagoon so more money is being put there. But there are still several septic system upgrade and removal projects in the works this year. There are also waste water treatment facility upgrades for Titusville and Palm Bay to move high nutrient treated water to reclaimed water systems where it gets spread on land and filtered instead of going direct to the lagoon - and this is year round not just during high rain periods. So even with these overflows from our waste water plants there is still a lot of good going on with the 1/2 cent sales tax that will be long term good for the lagoon. We can't fix all the problems at once so don't get discouraged by this.
  • JohninFlJohninFl Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    I currently serve as the (volunteer) President of the Florida Sport Fishing Assoc in east central Fl. I am also a volunteer member of the Lagoon Oversight Committee.
    Everyone has legitimate frustration over the recent breakdowns in pumping stations and inability of the County's antiquated sewage treatment system to handle the extreme volumes of water, resulting in numerous flows of sewage in our rivers. It should be understood the voter approved Save the Lagoon plan is not an infrastructure project, though it does include removal of some septic systems. The entire plan and modifications made early this year is public record and on line. Our monthly meetings are open to the public and video recorded so that people can view (if they can't attend the meetings).
    The statement "the tax money has been diverted" is simply false. Each month we Advisory members are given a printout of revenues, actual expenses and forecasts. This is also published prior to each meeting on the web. The plan was written to be funded by property tax (the first $ to begin being collected in Nov and the first projects in 2018). As the voters made the funding a sales tax, collection begun in Jan and the first distribution to the County was late March. That's why the Advisory Board approved approximately 43 projects that could begin quickly (we call this year zero). The funds are sitting in an interest bearing account..the tax money is paid to Cities AFTER their project is completed as reimbursement. In part that's why so little has been spent, but none has been "diverted".
    The plan is pretty solid and based on best available science, (and I don't use term "science" like the SAFMC does with Red Snapper :). It does not however address the causes of the horrible sewage spills we have seen this month.
    I'll be happy to try and answer, find an expert with answers and share anglers concerns during public meetings.
    Respectfully
    John Durkee
  • straygeckostraygecko Cocoa BeachPosts: 66 Greenhorn
    John,

    Thanks for volunteering your time to to the Lagoon Oversight Committee. Its people like you that will keep it on track and make sure we get our moneys worth from the sales tax. Could you clarify a little more the point you're trying to make here as it relates to the recent discharges from waste water treatment plants? Are you saying upgrades to them wouldn't be considered for the plan because its infrastructure? Seeing as about 1/4 of the current plan looks like infrastructure projects (stormwater, septic, WWTF upgrades) that doesn't sound right.
    JohninFl wrote: »
    It should be understood the voter approved Save the Lagoon plan is not an infrastructure project, though it does include removal of some septic systems.
  • Certainly the proper agencies should be very aggressive with fines for any government entity that dump sewage in any location not properly permitted.

    So let see how they like shelling out all that 1/2 cent sales tax in penalties..
    Under that program, they should be able to get back any penalties paid once they solve the problem in a reasonable amount of time.


    But for everyone here complaining about the situation there are 10 people complaining about increased taxes.
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,800 AG
    You are correct Joe, I have been installing it on roadways for years now and it works well. Typically it is used on 18" pipe and larger, when it sets up it is as hard as a hull on any good boat. It is a solid pull from one end to another and it fills all cracks and voids.

    Thanks for that...
    You know, sometimes when you are older...You wonder " Did I dream that...and have a million dollar idea....or did everyone in the world beat me to it " :grin
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 18,800 AG
    straygecko wrote: »
    We can't fix all the problems at once so don't get discouraged by this.

    Thank you for sitting on this committee.

    I think that the sentence quoted above also needs to read....

    All the problems were not created all at once....so they cannot all be fixed all at once...but... DON'T GET DISCOURAGED :)
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • Nicolexx1Nicolexx1 Posts: 40 Deckhand
    duckmanJR wrote: »
    Thank you for sitting on this committee.

    I think that the sentence quoted above also needs to read....

    All the problems were not created all at once....so they cannot all be fixed all at once...but... DON'T GET DISCOURAGED :)

    My statement came from an employee of the dept of agriculture.he said the money now is going to the port and cape.i hope he was wrong
  • Kapt.HookKapt.Hook Posts: 431 Deckhand
    The biggest problem is that brevard county has a 3% tax increase cap.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    IMG_1519.jpg
  • JohninFlJohninFl Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Let me try to clarify, I was thinking in terms of the broken sewage pipes, backed up pumping stations and general infrastructure.
    The plan specifically targets upgrades to two wastewater plants, to reduce the content of N in the reclaimed water they produce and is used for watering. It does not make those plants larger or able to handle increased volume, simply (and importantly) the water exiting the plants, I.e.reclaimed water will have less N, thus less N to flow back into Lagoon.
    It does focus on septic to sewer conversions in areas that are very close to bodies of water and where sewer lines are or can be run reasonably. (I point out that this additional volume will/may add to the sewage backup issue). The use of septic, per se,may not be a significant contributor. However, vast majority of septic near bodies of water was installed many years ago..between age (system deteriorating), rules about placement etc.. newer technologies may be a viable solution. But the old ones near the Lagoon contribute to the problems, thus removal is funded under "Reduce". As a side note: near Sebastian on US1 are both residential & business that requested to be upgraded. Advisory board recommend, lower cost per lb reduction than average in plan - road work required, will NOT be paid for by plan. We believe tax payers want this money to impact directly the Lagoon, not pave roads or something else. County submitted for (received?) State funding for much of project.
    It does include upgrades to storm water retention and/or upgrades to stormwater baffle boxes. All these may be considered part of "Reduce", in that we must (I believe) reduce input of nutrients to the Lagoon. Many of these projects are underway...the tax reimbursement is based on formula, so in most cases there are multiple funding sources
    did I clarify or confuse? John
  • JohninFlJohninFl Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    The City of Cape Canaveral submitted a number of year zero grant requests, if my memory accurate, almost all for storm water baffle box upgrades. They were in the $5-$35k area (I think we recommended about$27k on average). None have yet been completed (as of Sept financial report), thus none reimbursed. At least 1 the City has withdrawn the request as engineers determined could not be reasonably completed. I don't recall any requests by Port last spring for year 0 projects.
    You may confirm or correct me if my memory off by reviewing line item monthly financial report published on county site
  • TeejTeej Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Kapt.Hook wrote: »
    The biggest problem is that brevard county has a 3% tax increase cap.

    Are you taking property taxes milage rate Kapt.Hook?
    JohninFl wrote: »
    did I clarify or confuse? John

    And John, greatly appreciate the input, had several misconceptions in my previous posts. Many thanks not only for jumping in here but also in those official meetings and being a watchdog that the 1/2 cent tax is going to the right things.
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