JOSHUA J. WAGNER
There has been much discussion over the years about the re-urbanization of Daytona Beach.
Drawing more people back to live in the core of the community is important for the health of the city. For far too long people have enjoyed the fruit that Daytona Beach residents provide while paying little or nothing to support the infrastructure – it has been provided on your back and dime.
Penny sales tax
There are three initiatives, among a list of many that I want to bring to your attention. First, I am bringing forward a plan to the County Council for a referendum for a penny sales tax for transportation. This would not be a new tax.
It would be a better way to tax. This is important for Midtown because of the amount of tourists that visit the city. It is a fair way for the visitors to contribute to the streets, sidewalks and transit system.
One of the many benefits of my proposal is that it would also require county government to reduce the general fund. This would equate to less property taxes for homes and business in Daytona Beach.
Sell City Island
Second, I am proposing to sell City Island, except the Jack (Jackie Robinson Ballpark) and tennis courts, to a developer to build residential housing. Once you have additional people living downtown and a more viable tax base, Beach Street will blossom again.
We could then use the incremental taxes to put the library on Beach Street, build a new courthouse and build a parking garage to the west of the businesses on Beach Street. Although the incremental funding will be somewhat limited to the Downtown CRA, this is still important to you because it will help increase the value of Midtown. As the historic Beach Street core grows so will Midtown.
Third, over the past two years I have worked with a group of like-minded individuals, including Judge Belle Schumann and the F.A.I.T.H. organization, to come up with a plan to open a homeless shelter near the jail. This is important to you for many reasons.
The main one being that you should not have to pay for the homeless issue on your own. We all need to share in addressing the problem. Further, this will help with making your neighborhoods safer.
You should not house the homeless on your streets and yards while the rest of the county simply looks by. It is time to support a real solution to this problem.
As these initiatives start to surface and take shape, please support me as I continue to support you.
Joshua J. Wagner represents District 2 on the Volusia County Council. He took office in January 2009 and was re-elected to a second term in November 2012. District 2 includes South Daytona, Daytona Beach Stores, Wilbur-by-the-Sea and Ponce Inlet, as well as parts of Daytona Beach, Port Orange and unincorporated Volusia County. Wagner also is a partner with Doran Sims Wolfe & Kundid.