Now the cost of Irma is coming into focus. That storm, along with expenses from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, cost DeBary taxpayers $1.8 million over two budget years, City Council members learned during a recent meeting.
Most of the cost -$1.5 million – came from Irma, said Finance Director Elizabeth Bauer.
The city’s annual budget is about $16 million.
DeBary hasn’t received any help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Irma or Matthew. But it continues to ask.
For budgeting purposes, the city is anticipating FEMA funds. It is conservatively estimating federal reimbursements between $932,000 and $14 million in the 2019 budget year. Some of that might come in during this budget year, Bauer said.
If the hurricanes had not happened, the city’s 2017 general fund would have closed with a $562,000 positive cash flow. Instead, it has a negative balance of $75,000, Bauer said.
Bauer also said the city is scaling back its mandatory reserve period from 150 days to 120 days because of the budget crunch.
Interim City Manager Ron McLemore stressed that DeBary remains financially secure.
“So you’re in a very, very strong position,” McLemore said.
However, he noted that he wants City Council members to chat at some point on ways DeBary can better prepare financially for future storms.
“A series of additional hurricanes at these cost levels, however, could seriously challenge the financial health of the City,” a city memo says.
Fire fees study
City auditors will provide more details about DeBary’s finances during a meeting in March, McLemore said.
The city routinely shifts money from reserves to the general fund to balance the budget.
Annual shortfalls of about $400,000 could grow by another $248,000 annually if Florida voters approve a property-tax exemption in November.
The felon who robbed the DeBary Burger King last year was recently sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Mathew H. Juan, 33, flashed a gun while robbing two employees at the restaurant at 305 Sunrise Blvd. before noon June 21, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
No one was hurt. The robber ran into the woods.
Minutes later, an Orange City police officer spotted his getaway vehicle – a silver Ford SUV – in the area of Saxon Boulevard and Threadgill Place in Orange City and conducted a traffic stop.
Deputies responded to the scene with two witnesses who identified Juan as the suspect. Deputies said they think he was homeless.
“Deputies also recovered cash from the wooded area near the Burger King where the SUV had been parked,” the Sheriff’s Office report said. “At the scene of the traffic stop, deputies noticed a piece greenery stuck to the back of the vehicle, as if it had been recently parked amid some brush and vegetation.”
Juan entered no-contest pleas to charges of robbery with a firearm/deadly weapon and false imprisonment.
Volusia County Circuit Judge James R. Clayton recently found him guilty and sentenced him to 12.5 years in state prison.
Clayton on Jan. 12 also declared Juan a habitual violent felon, meaning he’ll have to serve at least 10 years of his sentence.
Juan has a violent criminal past, both as a juvenile and an adult, records show.
Records show Juan served more than three years in state prison before he was released in December 2012.
He was adjudicated guilty in Volusia County in 2007 after pleading no contest to charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault.
Juan was accused of attacking his wife’s brother with a baseball bat in Edgewater.
He was placed on probation in the 2007 case but was charged the following year for violating his probation for allegedly attacking his wife.
A judge sentenced Juan to five years in prison with credit for 153 days in jail and five years of probation.
He entered the state prison system in March 2009 and left in December 2012.
Deputies uncovered a diverse hoard of illicit drugs – everything from psychedelic mushrooms to MDMA /ecstasy pills imprinted with monkey face designs – during a recent DeBary bust.
Joshua Kuzlik, 32, of DeBary was taken into custody and charged with:
making hash oil
possession of alprazolam
trafficking more than 400 grams of cocaine
armed trafficking of MDMA (10-200 grams)
possession of schedule I substances
possession of marijuana with intent to sell
possession of amphetamines
A detective got a tip on Friday that someone living in a house on
Colomba Road had a large amount of marijuana.
Two detectives knocked on the door at about 8 a.m. Friday. (Jan. 12).
“Detectives with the West Volusia Narcotics Task Force (WVNTF) performed surveillance of the residence and awaited the arrival of an occupant or for an occupant to emerge from the house,” a report said.
A man later identified as Kuzlik pulled into the driveway in a white van at about 2:25 p.m. and opened the garage door.
The detective could smell marijuana when he walked to the van to talk with Kuzlik, who was still sitting in the driver’s seat of the
van using his phone, a report from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
The officer could smell an “overwhelmingly noticeable odor of fresh/raw cannabis emitting from the garage.”
“Kuzlik was informed of the information received and he denied being in possession of any cannabis,” even after the detective said he could smell it.
Two other officers arrived and confirmed the odor. The detectives entered through the garage door to ensure no additional persons or hazards were inside.
“This was done to ensure the integrity of the residence and its contents as well as ensure the safety of law enforcement personnel at the scene while a search warrant was constructed,” the report said.
The officers found a large amount of marijuana and a “hand rolled marijuana cigar.”
After obtaining a search warrant, officers combed the property and found a variety of drugs.
An Orange City woman who went missing this week was arrested for lying about being abducted, deputies say.
Erin Boyd, 31, is accused of two charges related to falsely reporting a crime, according to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.
Her boyfriend reported her missing Sunday. She was found safe and alone at the Chimney Corner Motel in DeLand, according to Andrew Gant, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
“Initially, Boyd was evasive on the circumstances around her disappearance,” Gant said in a statement.
She pretended to she was being held hostage, even calling 911 while deputies were on the scene, Gant said.
While deputies were on scene at the motel, she called 911 from her room asking for deputies to let her out, as if she was being held against her will.
“She then attempted to report to a deputy on scene that she was intimidated into leaving home and coming to the motel, and that she had been deprived of her phone,” Gant added.
A deputy later found her phone in the motel-room toilet.
“Boyd alleged again Friday that she was imprisoned against her will, and her claim was disproved,” Gant said. “She is being charged with two misdemeanors: making a false report to law enforcement and making a false official statement.”
When she ran a DeBary doctor’s office, Tisha Krutsinger stole more than $100,000 from her boss for such expenses as tanning sessions, plane tickets and a maid for her house, records allege.
Now the former office manager is under orders to repay Dr. Humberto Dominguez at a rate of $1,000 per month.
But Krutsinger, 43, says she can’t afford to pay and is asking for the court to give her a break. She can’t make the payments, citing severe financial hardships and mounting health-care bills.
“I was clearly in the wrong committing this crime, and I know that my behavior was deserving a punishment,” Krutsinger wrote in a letter last month to a Volusia County judge. “I can offer no excuses, but instead state categorically that I am truly very sorry that I broke the law and it will never happen again.”
Her request for leniency and a lower monthly restitution payment was denied.
Circuit Court Judge James R. Clayton sentenced Krutsinger in June, finding her guilty of grand theft over $100,000.
She entered a no-contest plea.
In July, Clayton put her on community control for 12 months followed by 108 months of probation. He also ordered the $1,000 per month payments to Dominguez.
“This is putting great strain on my family as well as my health,” Krutsinger wrote. “I will have to foreclose on my home, declare bankruptcy and forego any more medical treatment if this continues. At this time I am barely able to feed my family and I am truly concerned and very scared as to the future of myself and my children.”
Dominguez realized there was a problem with his finances after his credit card was declined in May 2014, around the same time Krutsinger was fired.
He later learned Krutsinger had a credit card issued in her name that was linked to the doctor’s business, deputies say.
At the time, the doctor didn’t realize Krutsinger had been charging large sums of money and then paying them with funds from his personal bank account, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman said in 2014.
The doctor confronted her and she admitted making the personal purchases, saying she would repay him. He fired her on May 27 and called the Sheriff’s Office for help.
“Mere minutes after Krutsinger was escorted out of the office, the doctor learned that the mortgage payments on his office building hadn’t been paid for several months and foreclosure proceedings had been initiated,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said detectives discovered that she issued an extra payroll check to herself and took cash advances on the doctor’s credit card.
She used the money to pay for her cellphone, auto insurance, car repairs, cable, orthodontic bills and a plane trip to Kansas City, deputies allege.
Records show the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office successfully seized the couple’s 2006 GMC Yukon and a 2004 Land Rover because they had both been linked to the crimes.
Clay Curtsinger, a DeBary man accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend’s ex-husband in Orange County, estimated his defense will cost $100,000, records show.
But the 47-year-old has no income, the records say, so the state should pay for his defense, including his private attorney.
The motion to declare Curtsinger indigent is pending.
Meanwhile, a pre-trial hearing in Curtsinger’s first-degree murder case is scheduled for Jan. 16 before Orange-Osceola Circuit Court Dan Traver in Orlando.
Curtsinger is accused in the shooting death of his girlfriend’s ex-husband in a Lake Nona-area subdivision on July 7.
Curtsinger remains jailed without bond at the Orange Couty Jail.
Records show he’s entered a written plea of not guilty. He originally told investigators he was defending himself when he fatally shot Jack Radke, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Curtsinger gunned down Radke, 48, with a Taurus 9mm handgun at roughly 6:30 p.m. Friday (July 7) on Budworth Circle in the Eagle Creek subdivision in the Lake Nona area, his arrest affidavit states.
Curtsinger, while driving a white Dodge Ram pickup truck, pulled next to a white Ford van and immediately shot the driver, Radke, the affidavit said.
Deputies didn’t find a gun in victim’s van
Curtsinger told 911 callers he shot Radke because he pulled a gun on him and was defending himself, the report says.
Deputies didn’t find a gun in Radke’s van.
Seven spent shell casings and the 9mm were found inside Curtsinger’s pickup truck. Radke was shot six times.
Radke’s ex-wife, Carla Radke, said they got divorced about four years ago, officials said.
She said she recently developed a relationship with Curtsinger, an old boyfriend, and they opened a joint checking account.
Pressure washing before shooting
She said Curtsinger was at her house pressure washing her driveway before the shooting.
At one point, Curtsinger left in his pickup, only to return a few minutes later to retrieve his concealed weapons permit from the wallet he left behind, the report said.
“Clay Curtsinger told Carla Radke that he just shot “Jack” and he left on foot towards Budworth Circle,” the affidavit states.
Carla Radke lives on Davenham Point, 240 feet away from the shooting site, records show.
‘Unable to sell’ Kentucky property
In an application for indigency in September, Curtsinger said he has a private attorney, David R. Damore of Daytona Beach, two defendants but no income.
He listed that he had some unspecified financial interest in an undescribed lot in Kentucky but he is “unable to sell.”
In a motion, his attorney said Curtsinger is unable to work and raise money for his defense because he is incarcerated.
As a result, Curtsinger cannot pay for such costs for his defense as witness depositions and therefore will be denied due process under the law without assistance from the state to pay for his defense, a petition from his attorney says.
Crime, business and city government issues topped DeBary Life’s most popular stories in 2017.
Hurricane Irma‘s impact, causing downed power lines and snapping tons of branches in September, also was a top issue for readers of the 4-year-old local news blog. The city’s rapid-response cleanup may end up costing local taxpayers $1 million, though city administrators pledged to get as much money from FEMA as possible.
One of the biggest city-government stories this year was the September approval of a 289-unit apartment complex — the first project for DeBary’s transit-oriented development district. Construction on could begin in spring 2018 with completion set for summer 2019, said David McDaniel, president of Integra Land Development. The project, also called Integra 289 Exchange, is planned on 16 acres southeast of U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dirksen Drive on land commonly known as the Costa property.
A DeBary man accused of hoarding bodily fluids and bomb-making materials declared himself not guilty in paperwork filed with the Volusia County Courthouse.
Christopher Langer, 31, was arrested in November after an argument with his parents in their home in the Saxon Woods community.
Langer was accused of making/possessing a destructive device and was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza for the 7th Judicial Circuit officially filed that charge against Langer on Nov. 27.
Langer’s not-guilty plea was issued on Dec. 1. He remains jailed without bond.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told TV reporters that Langer was building a weapon of mass destruction and wanted to harm first responders.
Langer rigged a SpongeBob SquarePants lunch box as a booby trap in the backyard, Chitwood said.
Investigators also found a metal pineapple-style grenade with a paperclip in place to hold the lever and keep it from exploding.
They also found a booby-trap in the backyard covered by a toy.
Chitwood said Langer has been involuntarily committed four times under the state’s Baker Act. He described the suspect as an anti-government heroin addict.
Two weeks earlier, deputies responded to the same home and administered two antidotes after Langer overdosed on heroin.
A domestic disturbance led to the discovery of an array of potentially explosive devices and substances, prompting a bomb squad response that lasted into the next day.
Deputies arrived at 124 Bradwick Circle around 4:11 p.m. Nov. 12 in response to an argument between Langer and his parents. During the argument, an intoxicated Langer told his parents he had put an explosive substance inside a grenade.
Langer initially denied the grenade existed. But then he acknowledged he had thrown it outside, showing it to the deputy. The deputy found a metal pineapple-style grenade with a paperclip in place to hold the lever and keep it from exploding.
Deputies evacuated the house, launched an investigation and obtained a search warrant. About 200 containers were found in the house containing unknown powders, acids and other materials.
Many (about 79) were placed into a containment area later determined not to be bomb-making materials but bodily fluids.
Langer has a criminal past.
In April 2011, he entered no-contest pleas to charges of attempting to obtain controlled substance by fraud and possession of Scheduled II substance. Both are third-degree felonies.
He was placed on two years drug offender probation and ordered to complete a treatment diversion program.
He was discharged from the program after two months for drinking alcohol. He was also back into the program and completed it in October 2012.