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Summer 2016

A Message from the Clerk
 
County’s Fiscal Health Continues Positive Trend
 

    The audit is done and the news is good!  I am proud to report that Nassau County remains fiscally healthy and is doing very well.  The annual financial audit results are in for fiscal year ending 2015 and independent auditor Ron Whitesides, from Purvis Gray & Company, reports “…very positive audit result... the county remains in strong financial condition.”

     Mr. Whitesides attended the Wednesday, May 18th Board of County Commission meeting to provide a brief summary of the audit results:  total revenues increased substantially from $80 million in 2014 to $102 million in 2015; county pensions are in the Florida Retirement System which is 92% funded (making it one of the top three state retirement systems in the country); unrestricted funds finished the year above the Government Finance Officers Association’s minimum requirements of two months reserves (approximately $25 million of the $18 - $20 million benchmark); and the county finished the year with an excess of nearly $5 million (while spending just over $19 million on capital outlay). 

     In addition to the annual financial audit, my office monitors several other indicators to assess the county’s strong and improving fiscal health: taxable values in 2015 increased 5.3% over the previous year (even with the Save our Homes cap of 0.8%); recurring revenues (ad valorem property taxes, one-cent surtax, and other governmental revenues combined) are now the highest ever in Nassau County’s history (totaling $68.6 million, with even more planned for the upcoming budget year); tourism continues to grow at record breaking numbers, bringing in nearly $5 Million in Tourist Development Tax for fiscal year ending 2015 (up another 11% from last year); current unemployment rate for April is 4.2% (this is down 19% from 2015); and closed home sales for 2015 are up 35.7%, with foreclosures down 19%.  The county also has a fully funded five year Capital Improvement Plan totaling over $47 Million of approved projects (adding over $9.2M in projects over the last year); maintains its high credit rating, affirmed by Fitch Ratings in October 2015 (“A+” for non ad valorem revenue bonds and “AA-” for the implied general obligations rating); and possibly the best news of all, the county continues to pay down debt, thus creating the opportunity to be debt free in just under 16 years which in turn will free up additional revenues!

     Nassau County’s fiscal health continues to be strong and trending positively.  With the proper planning and managing of the resources we have, we can continue to avoid placing undue burdens on the taxpayers.  Rest assured, the only way we fall off a fiscal cliff is if we steer that way; as independent auditor, Mr. Ron Whitesides affirmed, “I continue to think that Nassau County is in a good, strong financial position.”
 Nassau County Clerk Elected Board President of Statewide Association

New Leadership Selected to lead Florida Clerks and Comptrollers


 

Tallahassee, FL— The Honorable John Crawford, Nassau County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, was elected President of the Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers (FCCC) Board of Directors this week during the organization’s annual summer conference in Orlando.

With more than 400 FCCC members in attendance, including leadership and staff from Florida Clerk of Courts and Comptrollers offices statewide, Crawford was installed into office by longtime friend and colleague, the Honorable Robert M. Foster, Administrative Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

“The roles and responsibilities of Court Clerks and Comptrollers in each of Florida’s 67 counties are vast and far reaching, but our most important job and highest priority is to be the keepers, protectors and preservers of public trust,” stated Clerk Crawford. “It is my great privilege to serve the FCCC membership as President and I look forward to building upon our successes while also finding viable solutions to the critical issues we face both independently and collectively.”

 


Clerk Crawford has served three terms as the Nassau County Clerk of Court and Comptroller since first being elected in 2005. Prior to his current role, Crawford owned Crawford Financial Group, served two terms on the Nassau County Commission, and was the District Representative to Congressman Ander Crenshaw, where he received a gubernatorial appointment to the Commission on Local Government by Governor Lawton Chiles.

 

Additional members voted to serve on the 2016-17 FCCC Executive Board of Directors included Franklin County Clerk Marcia Johnson, First Vice President, Palm Beach County Clerk Sharon Bock, Second Vice President, Polk County Clerk Stacy Butterfield, Treasurer, and Clay County Clerk Tara Green, Secretary.

 

Established in 1969, The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers (FCCC) is a statewide, non-profit member association comprised of the Florida Clerks of the Circuit Court and Comptrollers. FCCC provides local government support services, technical assistance and accreditation opportunities for all members of the association. For more information visit www.flclerks.com


Analysis Needed, Not Just Promises
 
 

     True or False? Jobs, jobs, jobs and lower taxes for everybody… if you just give the corporate giants enough tax refund incentives. False!!

     As chief financial officer, I must express concern when economic incentives (tax giveaways to attract businesses and jobs) are being promoted and approved without the proper cost benefit analysis and appropriate limitations to protect existing taxpayers from near‐certain tax increases. Practically speaking, delivering county services requires 100% of the tax revenues coming into the county coffers. If that were not correct, you would have received a property tax refund check, which didn’t happen. Without the proper analysis, these incentives are no more than corporate welfare. Here’s the question that must be answered before giving taxpayer dollars away to corporations: Will the revenues retained by the county after giving corporate tax refunds be sufficient to cover the cost of government and impacts of growth without creating tax increases for everyone else?

     The County Commission must consider that tax giveaway decisions cannot be based on increased tax base or job creation promises alone; there are both tangible and intangible costs to consider. The county continues to attract new businesses on its own and is growing as we speak; therefore, do our citizens even want this super‐accelerated growth spurred on by corporate tax refunds? Considering that we are talking, in one case, about the development of nearly 24,000 acres (about 38 square miles), shouldn’t we be more carefully evaluating the associated impacts? How will this hyper‐accelerated development (designed to sell off tens of thousands of acres of timberland for the benefit of shareholders) affect our infrastructure, our environment, quality of life and traffic congestion? Taxpayers need assurance that with any new growth, it will be balanced to the quality of life we have all grown to love and it provides a true benefit, not just a promise of benefits to come.

     The County Commission presently laments that they have inadequate tax revenues to fund government. How is that going to improve by giving away millions in tax dollars to multi‐billion dollar corporations? To remain fiscally sustainable, we need to assure adequate funding is available when needed without placing an undue burden on the taxpayers, present and future. Nassau County remains fiscally healthy and continues to be a desirable place to live and work. Making decisions today that lack proper analysis, however, can negatively affect our county for generations to come. For the benefit of all taxpayers, do the proper analysis before giving away taxpayer dollars!
Nassau County Tax Deed Sales - FAQ


 
Q: What is a tax deed sale?

A: A tax deed sale is the auction of property on which tax certificates have deed sold by the Tax Collector’s Office for delinquent real estate taxes.

Q: When and where are tax deed sales conducted?

A: Tax deed sales will be held at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the sale at the Robert M. Foster Justice Center.

Q: Where can I find out about properties scheduled for tax deed sale?

A: Tax deed sale information is published in local newspaper four weeks prior to the sale date.  It is also made available via the internet.

Q: How do I register to participate on a tax deed sale?

A: To participate in a tax deed sale auction, please arrive at the Robert M. Foster Justice Center 15 minutes before the auction is scheduled to begin. You will need to check-in with the Clerk’s Deputy in the Recording Department. At the time of the check-in, you will be required to provide your name. At the end of the sale, the successful bidder must provide name and address as its wanted to appear on the Tax Deed.

Q: Before entering a bid:

A: The Clerk’s Office is not authorized to give legal advice or assist in the research of properties. All properties are sold “as is,” and bidders are responsible for conducting their own research as to the condition of the property and the state of the title of the property being sold. If you require legal advice, you should obtain it from a licensed attorney. For each piece of property purchased, the successful highest bidder is required to pay a non-refundable deposit equal to 5 percent of the final bid or $200, whichever is greater, at the time of the sale. If the successful bidder fails to immediately post the deposit, the bid is deemed invalid and the bidding starts over.

Q: Where can I find further information about tax deed sales?

A: Tax deed sales are governed by the Florida Statutes Chapter 197 and the Florida Administrative 12D-13. You can also get more information from the following offices: Tax Collector’s Office and Property Appraiser’s Office.

If you have any questions or comments about this column, please contact our Recording Department at 76347 Veterans Way, Yulee FL 32097 or (904) 548-4604
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Our mailing address is:
Nassau County Clerk of Courts
76347 Veteran's Way, Suite 456
Yulee, FL  32097


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