Tax the developers! Not the people!

Dear Editor:

My name is Anne Hirsch, and I am running for District 5 City Council on the same platform as Eritha Akile’ Cainion for District 7 City Council.

When it comes to upgrading the failing sewage infrastructure in St. Petersburg, our position is that the big corporations and real estate developers who build in the city must pay an infrastructure tax that will be used to upgrade our sewage system.

Earlier this year, our city council unanimously voted at the behest of Mayor Kriseman and his administration to increase all citizen’s water bills by $11.02 to pay for the repair of the sewage system. That is an increase of 11.5 percent.

The city council has approved another rate increase for the fall of 2019   from $5 to $24, a tiered system based on the square footage of the impervious surface area (surfaces that water runs off) of property on which a home sits.

These increases put more burden on District 5 citizens who have larger yards than those in other parts of the city. It negatively affects poor and working-class citizens, placing strain on the already limited monthly income that could push people over the limit of their available resources. It will increase housing costs since landlords will inevitably pass this increase on to renters.

For years, various city governments put off upgrading an aging sewage system. But it still worked!

All that changed in 2015 when a glut of new high rise condos and the closing of a downtown sewage processing plant pushed the sewage system past its capacity to function properly.

Mayor Kriseman and his administration chose to dump unprocessed wastewater into black neighborhoods and then into Tampa Bay. This created a human health risk, an environmental crisis, and killed wildlife.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, evidence was found that 89 felonies and 103 misdemeanors were committed. Neither Mayor Kriseman nor anyone in his administration faced any consequence for these crimes.

St. Petersburg’s current mayor and city council want regular citizens of St. Petersburg to foot the bill for a crisis caused by big developers and corrupt politicians.

When we are elected, Akile’ and I will not stand for the dumping of hazardous waste in the black community. Our platform of Unity Through Reparations will create economic and political power in the hands of the black community that won’t allow that!

Developers who are making a profit building in St. Pete must invest in our city! We will propose initiatives to roll back these taxes on the citizens of St. Pete and introduce new initiatives to tax the developers! This will benefit everyone in the city.

We are a people’s campaign, unlike some of our opponents who are funded by big corporations, real estate developers, or the current city council members and the mayor!

We will be beholden to our platform and the people, not big money interests and the agendas of the Democratic and Republican parties.

To learn more about our campaign platform, visit voteakile.com and votehirsch.com.

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