Neylon third to announce City Council candidacy

Four Marco Island City Council seats will be available in next year’s election. Chairman Mike Minozzi and Councilor Glenn Tucker cannot run because of term limits. The seats held by Councilwoman Terri DiSciullo and Vice Chairman Bill Trotter are also up for grabs. Neither has announced whether they will run again.

City Council candidate 'Butch' Neylon said the home rule provision in Florida law has been used too many times by the city and has led to the turmoil, lawsuits against the city and unnecessary costs.

Photo by Ed Bania, Eagle staff

City Council candidate "Butch" Neylon said the home rule provision in Florida law has been used too many times by the city and has led to the turmoil, lawsuits against the city and unnecessary costs.

The Marco Eagle reported May 28 that Joe Batte was running for election. Roger Hall’s announcement appeared in the June 18 issue.

Francis "Butch" Neylon is also throwing his hat into the ring.

The 61-year-old candidate has been married to his wife Betty for 38 years. The couple have four children and six grandchildren. They have lived on Marco Island since 2001.

Neylon said an important item he can bring to the table as a City Council member is his expertise and experience in construction and utility systems. He said those benefits can increase the quality of life on Marco Island.

Neylon started an electrical service company in 1976. Five years later, the firm had 70 employees and had added several other services. He merged the original company into his present company, Industrial Technical Services, Inc.

The technology company provides not only electrical and mechanical services, but also specialized control systems to public and private firms in the Northeast.

"For many years we have been deeply involved in water and wastewater utilities providing design build services, fabrication, installation and maintenance of critical equipment, instrumentation and control systems," he said.

Neylon, a systems designer and supplier, said he understands all aspects of design fabrication and construction of water and wastewater budgeting, reporting, distribution, collection and treatment facilities because of his extensive experience.

In the last few years, his three sons have been taking charge of the day to day operations of the company.

The city’s reasons to purchase a water and wastewater system, now called Marco Island Utilities, three years ago was a "sound" idea, according to Neylon. He added the purchase was the right decision for Marco Island even though the cost of the system will be debated for many years to come.

"Owning our own utilities gives us control over essential services and these systems have the potential of becoming the crown jewel of Marco Island, providing the finest water, wastewater and reuse water services in South Florida," he said. "Our goal should be to reduce rates and increase quality through sensible programs that manage our resources while protecting public health, property and the environment." That goal has not been achieved yet, according to Neylon. In order to have stable rates, less expensive utility expansion and overall quality improvements, the city needs to rethink its efforts and resources.

Neylon’s priorities include improving the quality of potable drinking water on the island and reducing or eliminating the use of potable water for landscape irrigation.

"The unnecessary and extremely expensive extension of our wastewater collection and treatment facilities, STRP, must be halted," he said, referring to the Septic Tank Replacement Program. "Our aging wastewater collection system leaks and must be corrected to reduce infiltration of groundwater and ex-filtration of sewage into our groundwater. Extending our existing system is environmentally dangerous."

Neylon believes the Marco Island Utility has the potential to become one of the largest benefits of living on Marco Island. He said the focus of the utility in the future should be potable and reuse water.

"Now is the time to start to bring about the benefits we were all promised when the utility was acquired," he said. "This is our utility. We need to redirect our objectives and goals to realize those benefits."

Neylon pointed out that Marco Island has many residents with the necessary skills to "redirect and refocus" the island’s limited resources. He said using the knowledge and skills of those people will improve the city’s utilities and lessen the likelihood of increased utility rates in the future.

If elected to the City Council, Neylon wants to form a blue ribbon committee made up of citizens experienced in the utility field. The committee’s focus would be to find out what needs to be improved in the city’s utilities and develop plans that would prioritize and accomplish Neylon’s goals.

He says all of the committee’s meetings would be publicly announced. Citizens of the island would be encouraged to attend and participate in the meetings.

"I have met and worked with many public minded and talented people on Marco Island over the past two years and it is unconscionable to ignore these resources," he said. "None of us have all the answers, but the more people involved in the process, the less likely it will be that we will miss an opportunity to improve our systems."

Neylon says another one of his priorities is to restore fairness and equity to Marco Island. He noted that the city’s staff drafted four or five financing plans to fund the STRP. The plans were discussed by the City Council for several months. Most of the plans were abandoned.

Neylon said the recent referendum to finance the STRP was "another version of flimflam financing to fund this inequitable program, and the good citizens of Marco saw through it and defeated it by a large margin."

More than 55 percent of the people who voted in the referendum voted against limiting the sewer assessments to $10,000 and paying the remaining cost with a 4.5-percent property tax increase.

Neylon said utility rates will be artificially increased in order to make up for unrelated costs.

"Rates must reflect the cost of providing water and wastewater services, not road paving," he said. "That will change."

The current City Council must stop wasting taxpayers’ money on the STRP, according to Neylon, and face the fact that the project will be stopped. He said citizens must convince the councilors to postpone purchases that will not be needed before their terms run out. Neylon referred to the council’s 4-2 vote during the June 18 meeting that approved a $1.3 million change order for the construction of nine sewer lift stations to begin this year. He said the council should reverse its decision and save the funds for something else.

Neylon noted the turmoil that has developed between residents and City Hall on controversial issues and the increased attendance at council meetings. He said Marco Island is small enough so that anyone who wants to directly participate in the city government can.

"We can and must all work together to improve relationships on our island," he said. "The us verses them mentality must stop. Fair treatment for all must return as the standard and we will all be better for it." Neylon referred to a recent statement by City Council member Ted Forcht that just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Neylon couldn’t agree more. Council members and city officials must return to doing what is right, according to Neylon, and be fair and honest in dealing with the public.

"We must not use the legal system to enable policies or programs that the people do not want, but rather do the will of the people with their full consent and approval," he said. "We have seen unpopular resolutions, ordinances, practices and programs pushed upon our citizens under the guise of home rule powers.

Neylon said the home rule provision in Florida law has been used too many times by the city and has led to the turmoil, lawsuits against the city and unnecessary costs.

He noted the citizen opposition to the 90-day mandatory hook-up to the STRP under the City Code of Ordinances verses the 365 days allowed under Florida statute. Neylon said the issue was an example of an unlawful ordinance.

"The (Marco Island Waterways and Boating Safety) ordinance is in the hands of the courts and the attorney fighting it says that he will attack Marco’s use of home rule in this trial," Neylon said, referring to a pending court case. "Bad legal advice or a propensity to usurp powers that are not granted under the statute, the courts will decide."

He agrees with recent statements made by some council members that sections of the Marco Island City Charter need to be amended. Neylon said the process of amending the charter must be done carefully.

He also referred to recent efforts to exclude the cost of capital improvement projects from the city’s 3-percent spending cap.

If the spending cap did not exist, much of the city’s reserve funds would be gone, according to Neylon. He added that, if a real emergency were to happen, the city would be in trouble.

"Closing the loophole between the use of resolutions and ordinances will have to be addressed in order to assure that the people have the right of referendum over a resolution as they do over ordinances," he said. "This ambiguity has allowed the current council to move forward with the STRP, a $135,000,000 project without the people being able to vote to spend that money."

Neylon said the citizens of Marco Island are reasonable, generous, talented and dedicated to making the island a true paradise.

He wants to finish the unnecessary and expensive construction projects that have "devastated" the island. Future funding and other resources should be used only for necessary programs. Other projects should be delayed until the more important projects and issues are dealt with, according to Neylon.

"Open meetings with question and answer sessions, true debate with all sides heard from and listened to; that is democracy," he said. "That is what I will bring to the Marco Island City Council, and I respectfully ask that you honor me with your vote."

© 2007 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 15

Chase100 writes:

When looking for a candidate, one usually has trouble finding a person who is both intelligent AND has the ability to communicate on a personal level with voters without seeming arrogant. That person is Butch Neylon. There is no person on Marco who can match Butch's grasp of the issues yet down to earth style. Butch was there from the beginning, fighting the fight against abuse of power at city hall before it was fashionable. Butch did what he thought was best for the people and came under direct attack for it. He not only survived, he became more determined and pushed the Island in a positive, and future-oriented direction. He will make an outstanding councilor. Don't just vote for Butch, join his team.

rogerhall59 writes:

This is great news for the citizens of Marco Island. We need someone on the council that knows something about utilities and Butch is eminently qualified. I could never understand why the current council not only failed to reach out to resources like Butch but ignored their input. This island is awash with highly qualified professionals from a wide spectrum of professions that love the island and want to help. They are our biggest strength and the next council will reach out to them.

I firmly believe that Butch will deliver a first class water treatment and waste water treatment utility to the citizens of Marco Island at a fraction of the costs that are currently being projected.

Roger Hall

lauralbi1 writes:

Great news. I wish to personally congratulate Butch on his decision. Oh, that's right. He is not here, nor has he been a full time resident here, EVER !!! Glad his sons are taking over his business, as I assume he will not be listed as owner before the election. I know his home is Homesteaded here. I will check on his home up North also. Now we can all ask, where is Butch ??? But really, with all the quotes and negativity and all the money he has cost us all, this will be a fantastic addition to the slate. Keep candidates like this coming and we can be sure to get a large turnout !!!!!!!!!!

Lolala writes:

Wonderful news! Three candidates I can vote for. Three candidates that will do their best to keep their hands out of my pockets. Three candidates I can trust. Three candidates that will not lie to me. Three candidates that will not ignore me. Three candidates that will read and respond to my emails. Three candidates that actually want me to particpate in the governance of my home town. I feel like doing a Snoopy dance!

kristall writes:

I have had the priviledge of knowing and working with Butch for a few years now. As I see it, he is a person of outstanding integrity, character and a true leader willing to bring our city back to the people. As a fellow candidate, I am very proud to have a true leader such as Butch join the fight for doing the right thing for the people. When I look across the council table and see Butch there with me in January, I will know without a doubt that the people of Marco have indeed elected a GIANT ready to at last, represent them!

Joe Batte

Chase100 writes:

Lauralbi1: As a long time property owner on the Island, Butch Neylon has probably paid more property taxes than you have. He puts his money where his mouth is! Joeywalnuts: You used to be somewhat entertaining, but you really need some new material. Everytime you guys write, I'll personally offer to help bring a vanload of voters to the polls for Butch and Joe.

patton1 writes:

UGH! I AM GETTING SICK. I MAY THROW UP ANY MINUTE NOW! SO MUCH GARBAGE. YOU ALL MUST BE SO LONELY.

barfieldfly writes:

Visualizing this creep, PATTON1, is bad enough, now we have to visualize him throwing up.

happy34145 writes:

It just keeps getting better - Joe Batte, Roger Hall and now Butch Neylon!!! At last - there is now hope for Marco Islanders and residents will now stop wanting to make a mad dash to head over the bridge for good.

Last election it was so sad for us when Joe Batte did not get elected - now is our time to fill all the seats with strong individuals who have the best interest of our environment and its people at heart and not special interest.

Terri Descuillo has had good intentions but unfortunately she is nothing more than a pawn in a chess game that Moss, Tucker and Minnozzi control. Too nice to read between the lines and see the big red flashing lishts that say "something is not right here" and not strong enough to stand against it.

It will be a great day for all of Marco Island - when in JANUARY these guys get voted in.

conchsoup writes:

Neylon is not homesteaded here. This is not his primary residence it appears. How can be represent Marco Islanders?

Hawke1 writes:

conchsoup, Neylon could not have thrown his hat into the ring if he was not qualified to run. There is a process candidates must comply with. You ask how can he represent Marco Islanders. Well let me tell you the ways: Butch will bring honest thoughtful leadership to our Island. He will always be polite, listen to and be responsive to all of us even to those who disagree with him. He will attempt to work our system and dig us out of the mess the last two councils have given us. He will work hard with the City Manager to do this. He will ask for your opinion, seriously consider it and never demean you because you gave it. He will use every resource our City has to offer. He will bring peace and good will back to our city. Vote for Butch Nelon for City Council if you want change.

conchsoup writes:

Ordinance
Section 5.01. Electors.
Any person who is a resident of the city, who has qualified as an elector of this state, and who registers as prescribed by law, shall be an elector of the city.
(Ord. No. 02-20, § 1, 6-17-2002, referendum 9-10-2002)
State law references: Qualifications of electors, F.S. §§ 97.041, 166.032; permanent single registration system, F.S. § 97.105.

The article mentions he is "also throwing his hat in the ring" does not necessarily mean he has qualified as an elector. Bania is the personal PR rep for the anti-STRP forces...it would not be surprising if he jumped the gun here.

jwputnam writes:

I am extremely excited about Butch's announcement. I have great respect for Butch. I also admire Roger and Joe. All are professional, incredibly knowledgable, fair and honest beyond reproach. We need but one more strong candidate.

I predict that all three (four?) will win handily and bring fiscal responsibility and fairness back to Marco Island.

John Putnam

bbyrone46 writes:

YES! Butch Neylon for City Council. Butch is a successful business owner with proven leadership skills. Mr. Neylon is a perfect candidate for Councilman. He has studied this City and the issues that have plagued us. I doubt you could find another citizen with as much knowledge and understanding about the STRP and WWTP. He also has been directly involved in exposing the City's mishandling of the asbestos mishap. He cares about our community and will bring accountablity back to our Council. He has ideas and well thought out inititives that hold a lot of promise. I am proud to endorse Butch for this position. Thanks for stepping forward to serve your community. Byron Erickson

7ate9 writes:

Butch Neylon, truely a great guy and deeeply committed to returning this city to the paradise it's suppose to be.
I'd wish you luck but I really don't think you'll need it.
Pat Maguire

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