Have County Officials Illegally Raided
The County Fire Fund, In Order To Operate EVAC?

Volusia County Officials Provide Contradictive Answers.

April 13, 2015
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill

What We Suspect,
Compared To What We Know

VolusiaExposed attended the February 24, 2015 community meeting organized by Volusia County Government. This meeting was one of nine scheduled meetings. The goal of these meetings was for county officials to fully explain to citizens, the need to raise taxes on unincorporated residents, due to a multi-year short fall in the county's special fire fund.

The fire fund covers the cost of fire services within the unincorporated areas of Volusia County.

During this meeting, Volusia County Director of Public Protection, George Recktenwald assigned some of the blame for the fund's shortfall on the economic "housing bubble". However, VolusiaExposed wondered why the "housing bubble" had only apparently affected the fire fund?

We suspected that the county's incorporation of EVAC into Volusia County government in 2011 was the real cause of the fire fund's deficit. Afterall, the deficit funding transpired during the first four years of EVAC being a county department, rather than a private foundation.

VolusiaExposed attended this meeting with only our suspicions in hand. What we wanted to leave with, were assurances from county officials, that the fire fund was not being raided in order to cover a countywide service - EVAC. Sadly, we left with our suspicions confirmed - EVAC's operational costs had been covered with revenue from the fire fund. Volusia County Department of Public Protection Director, George Recktenwald confirmed this to us in open forum (see top video to the right of this page).

Apparently since the incorporation of EVAC into county government - the county has been playing a "rob Peter to pay Paul" game with the county's fire fund, in order to cover EVAC transport costs.

According to a May 6, 2011 DeLand Beacon article, EVAC had only a 48% collection rate regarding their emergency transport fees. It would appear that approximately over half the people that are transported by EVAC - don't pay their EVAC bills. Yes, that is a disturbing number - but more disturbing is the fact, that according to Mr. Recktenwald, absent EVAC collecting those fees - the county fire fund covers those lost fees.(see top video - special attention to mins 3:00-3:15)

Not only did Mr. Recktenwald confirm the raiding of the fire fund during the February 24, 2015 meeting - in our opinion, he repeated this confirmation when addressing Councilwoman Denys questioning during an April 2, 2015 council meeting (see video - third from the top - special attention to mins 2:00-2:45). Within that same video - County Manager Jim Dinneen attempted to deny that the fire fund is used to cover EVAC transports - but, in our opinion, his (Dinneen) answer was nothing more than a deflective response to Ms. Denys' questions.

What Is Our Beef Over The Fire Fund?

We (VolusiaExposed.Com) explained our "beef" / concerns regarding the county fire fund during our (3) minute presentation in front of the county council (see second video from the top - right of web page).

In short, our concern is that ONLY taxpayers in the unincorporated areas of Volusia County pay into the fire fund. However, EVAC is a countywide (including the cities within the county) service. Therefore, if the fire fund is being raided in order to cover shortfalls in the collection of EVAC transport fees - this would be an unfair tax burden to the taxpayers in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Fire Fund Videos
February 24, 2015 Community Fire Fund Meeting
& April 2, 2015 County Council Meeting

February 24, 2015 Fire Fund Meeting
Volusia County Public Protection Director, George Recktenwald Admits That The Fire Fund Covers For Shortfalls In EVAC Collections Of Transport Fees (pay special attention around 3 minutes into this video)

April 2, 2015 County Council Meeting
VolusiaExposed.Com Expresses Concerns Regarding
The County Using The Fire Fund To Cover EVAC Expenses

April 2, 2015 County Council Meeting
Councilwoman Denys Questions Director Recktenwald Regarding EVAC & The County Fire Fund - Did Mr. Recktenwald AGAIN Confirm That The Fire Fund Covers EVAC's Shortfalls? - Did County Manager Dinneen Really Answer Denys' Question - Or Was It A Deflection By Dinneen?

April 2, 2015 County Council Meeting
County Manager Jim Dinneen States He Has Proof That Fire Fund Has Not Supported EVAC Operations. However, Dinneen Has Opted NOT To Respond To Our Public Record Request For A Copy Of His Alleged Proof ! (see below linked email)

Okay Mr. Dinneen, Provide Us Your Proof !

In the bottom video (right of web page) Mr. Dinneen, the Volusia County Manager stated that no revenue have been taken from the fire fund to operate EVAC, and he can prove it. He (Dinneen) even clarified, that to do so, would be illegal. Okay, so we (VolusiaExposed.Com) filed this public record request to Mr. Dinneen requesting to see a copy of his proof. Yeah - you probably have already guessed it - so far the only proof Mr. Dinneen has provided us, is his silence.

The county council will make a final decision on this tax increase in September (2015). And as the world turns, these are the days of our lives....

We look forward to your comments on this situation.
Drop us a line to let us know what you think.