What if the Orange County Property Appraiser was on your Side?
There is a potential upset in the making in one of the down ballot races. Rick Singh, (D) is mounting an effective challenge to incumbent Orange County Property Appraiser Bill Donegan (R). What started as a fight over qualifications, Rick Singh is a professional appraiser certified by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Bill Donegan, on the other hand, is a career politician who got into office via political patronage and has ill-served the people of Orange County.
“It’s one of Orange County’s best kept secrets that in addition to the homestead exemption, there are also exemptions for low-income seniors, widows and disabled veterans. The Property Appraiser needs to be proactive in getting the word out,” said Rick Singh, candidate for Orange County Property Appraiser, who is standing up for the middle class.
Singh, with over a dozen years’ experience as a state certified appraiser in private practice as well as, several years of government experience, knows only to well what taxpayers’ face in trying to prove unfair assessments. He supports legislation to allow taxpayers who prove unfair assessments to recover their attorney’s fees, unlike Donegan who has opposed similar legislation sponsored by then State Rep. Frank Atkisson (R-Kissimmee).
“You shouldn’t have to pay to correct the appraiser,” he said. “Moreover, a qualified Appraiser would lead his team to get assessments right the first time around and avoid burdening taxpayers with these added costs that arise from unfair appraisals.”
Singh believes that Donegan, ensconced in a 17th floor office in the SunTrust tower downtown, is out of touch with middle class homeowners, struggling to pay their underwater mortgages and keep their homes.
“‘Wild’ Bill spends the taxpayers’ dollars freely with more than half the space in a $100,000 a month Class A office suite in the SunTrust tower,” he said.
An audit conducted by County Comptroller Martha Haynie at the beginning of Donegan’s current 4-year term showed that over $450,000 was spent on legal services without written contracts.
“Shouldn’t a legal contractor for the government have a written contract like any other government contractor?,” asked an outraged Singh. “What’s going on here?”
It doesn’t help that one of Donegan’s law firms is GrayRobinson, a government law firm that alternates between suing, defending and lobbying the government. The law firm recently lobbied heavily against the Earned Sick Time resolution in Orange County.
Change is coming to the County government and Rick Singh (D) may just be the one to bring that positive change, so badly needed, to the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office.