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Fruehan Is No-Show as Mosquito Control District Raises Tax Rate 10% Above Rollback (Don’t Panic)

| September 24, 2018

east mosquito control district

Uneventful: District Director Mark Positano, left in the red shirt, wraps up a meeting with board members Julius Kwiatkowski and Barbara A. Sgroi, to the right., this afternoon at the district’s headquarters Florence Fruehan, the third board member, was absent. (© FlaglerLive)

The East Flagler Mosquito Control District in its second and final budget hearing this afternoon approved a $2.1 million budget and a tax increase of 10.25 percent above the rolled-back-rate–the rate it would have have set if it were going to take in as much revenue next year as this year.


The actual tax-rate increase, from this year to next, is 4.8 percent. Either way, property owners will not see much of a difference in their tax bills: the new rate will be $0.2518 per $1,000 in assessed value (up from $0.2403), so for a $175,000 house with a $50,000 exemption, the total burden on a homeowner will be $31.48, a difference of $1.44, or about the cost of a small order of fries at McDonald’s.

The Mosquito Control District is an entirely independent government entity with its own elected board, budget and taxing authority over the majority of Flagler County’s population centers, including Bnnell, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and the Hammock. Its trucks and helicopter spray chemicals to suppress the mosquito population. They do not do so in Flagler’s agricultural west. The cities and the county have no authority over the district, though they have cooperative agreements allowing the spraying.

The three-member district board approved the new budget and tax rate on a 2-0 vote, with Chairman Julius Kwiatkowski and member Barbara Sgroi voting. The third member, Florence Fruehan, was absent. Kwiatkowski said Fruehan called him a couple of days ago to say he would be tending to his mother, who Fruehan said is in an intensive care unit. Last week the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office filed two misdemeanor battery charges on Fruehan on allegations by two women that he touched them inappropriately during what should have been routine medical exams. Fruehan had been under investigation by the state Department of Health over similar charges, and last month agreed to quit practicing medicine and surrender his license. His status as a member of the mosquito control board was unclear, but Positano said he had been attending meetings–until today’s absence.

The district a year ago went through a crisis of its own as its director was pushed into retirement after the district discovered that it had overspent $1.1 million in a $1.8 million budget, shortly after celebrating the opening of its new headquarters on the grounds of the Flagler County Airport. The crisis led to a state legislative audit, which is ongoing. Positano said two state officials “camped out” at the district’s offices for almost three weeks, “they looked at every piece of paper they possibly could look at, basically.” Positano said auditors, who are back in Tallahassee, are now asking questions about documents already provided, suggesting the audit is nearing completion.

The district is looking to raise $120,000 more money than it did this year: it had to raise $60,000 and cut expenses by 5 percent to break even, Positano said, and it is looking to raise $60,000 more in anticipation of a proposed constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters come November, would reduce all government revenue that depends on the property tax. Reserves currently are at $451,000. According to the district’s budget documents, those reserves would grow to $651,000 next year, while the operating budget would decline by $100,000.

Today’s hearing generated no discussion between the two board members and their director, and was conducted in a largely empty conference room but for the district’s attorney and three other people. It was over in a matter of minutes. The district’s monthly meeting, held earlier, was equally uneventful.

The budget outline is below.

East Flagler Mosquito Control District 2018-19 Budget:

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9 Responses for “Fruehan Is No-Show as Mosquito Control District Raises Tax Rate 10% Above Rollback (Don’t Panic)”

  1. Goffer says:

    This board is a joke. This all needs to fall under the county general fund and under the direction of the BOCC.

  2. Willy Boy says:

    “no discussion” “over in a matter of minutes” Fruehan didn’t miss much.

  3. JustMe says:

    Under the current allegations against him he needs to resign from the Mosquito Control District and if he doesn’t resign he needs to be let go by the committee.

  4. Dave says:

    So wait…..the sexual predator fake doctor is allowed to serve on a community board? What kind of sick stuff are you all teaching our kids by allowing this to happen? Hey kids ,if you become a doctor or an elected official you can grope woman and beat them too!?

  5. wow says:

    I’ll walk around spraying mosquitos for $500,000. What a joke.

  6. Mary Fusco says:

    Dave, sadly we would have to remove ALL of our elected officials in the US from office starting with the president on down. There are 3 people on the mosquito board in PC. Not a very prestigious position for anyone to hold. From what I can see, children today see things that no child should ever see and I don’t mean from politicians. For the most part, kids have no concept of what is going on past their phone or video games.

  7. Percy's mother says:

    Dave

    How is Dr. Fruehan a “fake” doctor?

  8. Born and Raised Here says:

    Dr, Fruehan should resign from the Mosquito Control District, he certainly not representing the people of this county by his no showing.

  9. Jules Kwiatkowski says:

    The EFMCD did not make their decision in a matter of minutes.This was discussed at 3 meetings with the the 3 commissioners ,director,CFO and our attorney..Yes I did read the Resolution #18005&18004 in a matter of minutes but the discussions took about 3 months. Julius Kwiatkowski Chairman EFMCD

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