I propose that Palm Beach County spend millions of dollars this year on a new agency. Let’s call it the Financial Watchdog of Palm Beach County. If the investment of, lets say, $7.5 million for this new watchdog is not sufficient, we could take more money out of the local economy so that funding could be increased by 600 percent.
The new agency would be autonomous and would approve or disapprove publicly of all expenditures proposed by the county commissioners. If the financial watchdog were in existence when the commissioners decided to purchase and improve Mecca Farms to the jolly tune of $100 million, voters would not have approved. Further, if the financial watchdog were in existence, instead of losing about $75 million, the financial watchdog would have seen to it that the land was sold for a $25 million profit and would have saved or prevented more than $100 million in lost revenue. So in effect, the financial watchdog would cost taxpayers nothing.
But let’s not stop at looking over the shoulders of the commissioners. Let’s keep an eye on the county treasurer while we are at it. After all, tax revenue has declined by 25 percent since 2008 and investment income, according to the treasurer, is “not at the levels we have been used to in the past.” So the creation of a financial watchdog would have assured us that tax revenue would not have declined, and we would have seen greater “income” on tax dollars that were taken out of the economy, but not used. And while we are at it, let’s let the autonomous CFO rule over all the municipalities in Palm Beach County. Just think of how much financial waste we could stop.
So let’s have a referendum and hopefully 72 percent of the voters would approve of the idea. Then no matter how dumb you might think this idea is, I can always say, “Well, 72 percent of the voters wanted it and thought it was a good thing.” That apparently for some is a very compelling argument. Oh, and if the new ordinance is unconstitutional, no problem — we will give the new CFO the right to sue all 38 municipalities who refuse to cooperate.
On the other hand, we could just elect smarter politicians who are honest. But I guess as a society, we have given up on that idea.
Frank Morelli, Wellington