Editor, The Beacon:
Should we be asking ourselves about this?
Many applicants for city projects speak in glowing terms about the character and appeal of DeLand. They like the historic, educational, surrounding-area appeal and pleasant atmosphere of the city.
All of this has come at a somewhat higher cost to local taxpayers. One significant factor in our higher tax rate is the amount of property that is off the tax rolls due to tax exemptions. In the big picture, land owned by Stetson University, nonprofit organizations, churches and the like is not taxed. Streets, water distribution, lighting, parks and the bounty of civic life come with no property-tax support from exempt entities.
We have a city supported and maintained by taxes.
Recent development proposals have suggested that tax abatement — time-based tax exemptions — is an essential part of their projects’ economic feasibility.
Something is wrong with that presentation. If a project is good and viable, it can stand on its own two feet. If DeLand is an attractive basis for a project, then the city should assess the project based on its worth, without any city participation.
DeLand is its own creature. It’s not a struggling place, trying to lure new business by cutting its own income for years to come by forgoing taxes.
The basic question: If we’re so good, why do you want us to bribe you to come here? Try Altoona or Mount Dora.