New Palm Beach County Property Appraiser sworn in next week

Dorothy Jacks
Jacks
Nikolits
Nikolits

Palm Beach County’s about to have its first property appraiser in nearly a quarter-century who isn’t Gary Nikolits.

Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Nikolits, is set to be sworn in Tuesday at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse.

Nikolits was elected to the post in 1992 and reelected five times since. He announced in May 2015 that he would not seek a sixth term. Jacks, who’d worked in the office for 28 years and been chief deputy since 2012, filed to succeed him.

In August, Jacks easily defeated outgoing Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana, who’d stepped down from the commission because of term limits.

 

Jacks to step into property appraiser’s office after win

Dorothy Jacks won’t face an opponent in November, and, by virtue of her victory Tuesday night over Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana, will be the county’s next property appraiser.

Jacks will succeed Gary Nikolits, who announced last year that he would not seek re-election. He endorsed Jacks, who has served as his chief deputy.

The filing of a write-in candidate, Charles H. Stahman, moved the date of the Jacks-Vana election from November to August 30.

Stahman’s name was not on the ballot, however, and Jacks, cruised to victory over Vana.

Dorothy Jacks
Dorothy Jacks

 

Update: Two Palm Beach County commissioners now lame ducks

IMG_0193When Palm Beach County Commissioners convened this morning as the governing board of the Solid Waste Authority, it was the first of many proceedings this fall in which the 7-member panel contains two lame ducks.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelly Vana
Vana

Commissioner Shelley Vana already was on her way out

Palm Beach County Commissioner District 7, Priscilla A. Taylor in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 22, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Taylor

because of term limits. But 3-term commissioner Priscilla Taylor fell in Tuesday’s election t0 former Delray Beach city commissioner and former state representative Mack Bernard.

As of press time Tuesday night, Bernard had clung to a lead of less than 3 percentage points. In the final overnight tally, which still doesn’t include the small number of provisional ballots, that lead held:

Mack Bernard                41.96%        7,413
Priscilla Ann Taylor     39.02%       6,894
Lawrence Gordon          13.66%       2,414
Robbie T. Littles               5.35%         946
TOTAL: 17,667

For Vana and Taylor, at least for now, years and years of elected office come to a screeching halt; 17 for Taylor and 14 for Vana, who was soundly beaten Tuesday night by longtime Deputy Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks in the race to replace Jacks’ boss, the retiring Gary Nikolits.

At Wednesday morning’s Solid Waste Authority meeting, chair Hal Valeche acknowledge the “bad day” Taylor and Vana had on Tuesday. He said he’ll miss them and thanked them for their service and directed a round of applause.

Proposed sales tax increase was great…before it was bad

A direct mail piece doesn’t just rip Palm Beach County property appraiser candidate Shelley Vana for attending what it described as a Donald Trump rally. It doesn’t just say she took gobs of money from developers and then voted for more growth.

The mail piece also says Vana, a county commissioner, voted for “the largest tax increase in Palm Beach County history.”

That vote, taken in May, was to have voters decide whether the county’s sales tax should be raised from 6 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar. That increase would generate an estimated $2.7 billion over 10 years for repairs to roads, bridges, schools and county buildings.

Vana does back that sales tax increase. Her opponent in the property appraiser’s race, Dorothy Jacks, would not say if she supports the proposed sales tax increase, which will be on the ballot in November.

“I do not think it is proper for me to advocate for or against an issue which does not directly impact the duties and responsibilities of the Property Appraiser’s office,” Jacks said when asked about the sales tax plan in candidate survey from The Palm Beach Post. ” I am glad the voters get a chance to make a decision on this in November.”

Jacks isn’t taking a position on the sales tax proposal, but Rick Asnani, the man behind the anti-Vana flier, was squarely behind the proposal earlier this year.

Working with the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Asnani made presentations and pushed hard in favor of what the anti-Vana flier describes as “the largest tax increase in Palm Beach County history.”

When the commission voted not to use sales tax money to pay for projects backed by the Cultural Council, Asnani’s role in the sales tax push diminished.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Jacks, Vana make their pitch to be PBC property appraiser

Seated side-by-side during a political forum Tuesday night, Shelley Vana and Dorothy Jacks made their pitch to be Palm Beach County’s next property appraiser.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Vana, a county commissioner and former state legislator, and Jacks, the chief deputy property appraiser, clashed on what they would bring to the office.

Jacks said she understands the technical nuances of the job. Vana said the office is a political one that is best led by someone who has served in elected office.

The candidates, both Democrats, are seeking to succeed Gary Nikolits, who is retiring after 24 years as property appraiser. The primary election will be held on August 30.

With about 70 people looking on at the South County Civic Center, Vana and Jacks returned to that theme of leadership again and again.

“It is a very technical job,” Jacks said, adding that, in her, “you will have an expert at the top. You won’t have a politician but an expert leading the staff.”

Earlier, during her introductory remarks, Vana had laid out her credentials.

“You have two very good candidates here,” she said. “One has been an employee and one has been in leadership. In this office, you need a solid leader who sets the tone. You’re electing a Lee Iococca, not someone who screws in the screws.”

Jacks took that jab in stride. Indeed, much of the forum, sponsored by the Democratic Club of Boca Raton and Delray Beach, focused on technical aspects of the office.

The candidates were asked about the prospect of raising the county’s sales tax to pay for upgrades to roads, bridges, schools and county buildings.

Dorothy Jacks, chief deputy property appraiser
Dorothy Jacks, chief deputy property appraiser

Vana, who has supported the county’s plan to raise the sales tax, said she favors a mix of taxes. Jacks said she would first want to study how the county is spending money it already has before determining whether a sales tax increase is a good idea.

The candidates emphasized their endorsements. Vana noted that she is backed by state Reps. Dave Kerner and Irv Slossberg and a slew of other elected officials. Jacks said 18 property appraisers across the state have endorsed her, as have two of Vana’s colleagues on the county commission, Priscilla Taylor and Paulette Burdick.

While the candidates sparred on what they would bring to the office, each said they won’t be attacking each other on more personal terms, a point highlighted as the forum was ended when Jacks offer Vana a sip from her water bottle.

“Dorothy just shared her water with me,” Vana said. “And I wasn’t afraid to drink it.”

Vana, Jacks to square off at Delray Beach forum

Shelley Vana and Dorothy Jacks will participate in a forum tonight in Delray Beach to discuss what they’d do if elected as Palm Beach County’s next property appraiser.

Vana, a county commissioner, and Jacks, deputy property appraiser, are seeking to succeed Gary Nikolits, who is retiring after 23 years as property appraiser.

The forum, hosted by the Democratic Club of Boca Raton and Delray Beach, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the South County Civic Center, which is located at 16700 Jog Road.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Palm Beach County Commissioner Shelley Vana

 

Dorothy Jacks, chief deputy property appraiser
Dorothy Jacks, chief deputy property appraiser