POLL/Fiscal conservatism: What does it mean for Marco candidates?

The four vying for three city seats frame it for you

Article Highlights

  • Four candidates share their sense of fiscal conservatism as they vie for three open Marco City Council seats
  • Ballots mailed Wednesday; due back by mail 7 p.m., Jan. 26
  • Check back for election result coverage on Jan. 26

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All four Marco City Council candidates say they stand for fiscal conservatism as they speak at numerous forums leading up to the election. What, precisely, does fiscal conservatism mean to each of these men?

Larry Magel

Magel is the newest to the Marco council election process. For him, fiscal conservatism means: “Beginning with the annual budget, review each line item to determine if there is a more cost effective way to procure the service, and validate the need for the expenditure. During the year, review all spending requests to determine if it is really needed now, and how are we going to pay for it.”

Availability of funds and the need for the expense would be determined by requesting city staff give a more detailed, cost-based, business rationale for any expenditure, and seeking citizen input on priorities.

“For example, it’s not enough to say the money is coming from a particular account. We should know what the balance will be after the expenditure and what additional future expenses do we project.”

Council and the city manager are responsible for budget priorities, Magel says.

“It’s a two-way street, but the city council should provide more leadership and take a proactive stance on what the city should spend.”

An expense approved in the annual budget doesn’t necessarily mean it gets his approval when it comes back before council later in the year, or in future years, because priorities may change, he said.

Chuck Kiester

Kiester’s four-year record on council speaks to his spending style.

“I will not vote in support of any project which commits the city to programs, such as the STRP (Septic Tank Replacement Program), and all of its ramifications to our residents, without sufficient study justifying its need and a referendum supporting the proposal.”

He will not support ‘nice to have’ capital projects until the city, county, state and nation get back on their collective financial feet, he added.

Budget priorities begin with the city manager and then rest with city council, Kiester said.

“It is up to the city manager, just as it is for any CEO, public or private, to propose priorities and to back them up with rationales supported by facts to their governing board, in this case, city council. The city council must then decide how to move forward.”

Approval in the annual budget doesn’t mean approval later as evidenced by voting “no” Monday to the Mackle Park improvements.

“At this point in time, with the losses all of us have taken due to the recession, my position is that none of us, including the city, can afford to fund anything more than basic services.”

Joe Batte

It’s the third time that Marco voters will see Batte’s name on the ballots.

“Being fiscally conservative, especially in today’s economic climate, means approaching every expenditure with the questions: Is it absolutely essential? Do we have the money to pay for it? And, will such expenditure bring hardship to the taxpayers, who must pay the bill?”

Protecting the health, welfare and safety of people are Batte’s priorities, while nice-to-have items will be delayed.

“For example, infrastructure maintenance and repair far outweighs a new track around a park. Let’s get that track a little later when our economy improves and our people recover from the economic hardships they are currently enduring.

“We are all tightening our belts in our families and its time for our government to tighten its belt as well.”

Budget priorities should be suggested by the city manager, but council must be proactive in budget development and not merely reactive to the city manager’s recommendations.

Budget prioritization should be an ongoing activity, he said.

Batte plans to gauge affordability by seeking advice and guidance from the people who elected him, past and present city leaders, as well as civic organizations.

Ted Forcht

Forcht, also a four-year incumbent, is known for voting “no.”

“Government should provide those services and activities that would be economically impractical for individuals to provide for themselves.”

Priorities should be a blend of those suggested by the city manager and council, Forcht said.

“The city manager knows more about the inner workings of the city and its needs and requirements to run efficiently. I’m a councilman, its my job to find out what the desires and needs of the citizens of Marco are to sustain, and even enhance, our way of life here.”

He finds it easy to be a councilman in good times, but challenging in a recession.

“For the last two years, we have been using the ‘want or need’ method of prioritization, but as the economy slowly slips deeper and deeper, I think it’s time to get a better system.”

He ponders using a number tree system, where a number is assigned to a group of priorities and a numeric value is assigned to a set of criteria.

“How many people will be affected? How much will it cost? How long has it been needed? And on and on like that,” Forcht said.

If a project won’t protect the public’s health or well-being it can wait, he said.

Election day

There is no day at the poll, but mail ballots are due back to the Supervisor of Election’s Office by 7 p.m. Jan. 26. City Clerk Laura Litzan said she anticipates the winners being announced as early as 8 p.m. that day, given no unforeseen difficulties, of course. Count on marconews.com to release those results A.S.A.P.

The three winning candidates are to be sworn in by a judge for their first council meeting joining incumbents Jerry Gibson, Wayne Waldack, Bill Trotter and Frank Recker, on March 15, she added.

Click on the related link below to go to the new Marco election section

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Comments » 9

marcosandflea writes:

Our household has four registered voters and we all received a letter from Candidate Magel. I checked with some friends and YES, everyone registered to vote in their households each received one.

This is a strong indication of poor fiscal decision making, and lack of attention to detail. Apparently, he has more money to spend than all the other candidates put together and seems compelled on spending it.

In previous campaigns our home received one letter and it was addressed to "Head of Household". Perhaps Candidate Magel needs some more experience in Government before running for our City Council.

Our next Council is going to have to make some very tough financial decisions and our house is voting for Keister, Forcht and Batte. We like the sound of Joe Batte, he has stayed the course and is once again offering his service to our community. We have also heard that he is tighter than the bark on a tree and that's the man I want looking after my taxpayer money.

It seems the Magel mindset is, "I've got it, so I'll spend it"

Reminds me of the Arceri gang, and look at the problems they caused. When you look at your utility bill you can thank the Arceri gang for the ever increasing cost of just enjoying Marco....it didn't used to be like this.

I wonder how many registered voters there are in the Magel household and if they each received a letter from their candidate??

If you want more of the same and keep the Arceri gang in power, vote for "MORE MONEY MAGEL".

happyonmarco writes:

I have 4 registered voters in my household. My spouse and I and 2 of our voting age children. All FOUR of us received his mailing yesterday. All I can say is after the display of utter ridiculous spending (each one must have cost at least $1.00) and to not take a little time to delete duplicate addresses to the household and just send only one brochure has led me to be very annoyed.
I considered voting for him earlier but after the Starbuck's invitation - I make my own coffee at home now and try to put the savings away for the upcoming water increases, mortgage payments in case either of us is laid off in this recession (huge possibility) and if looks like if magel gets on TAX INCREASES!!! This type of spending is NOT what I want on council.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Old Dr. No has impresses me more and more. He doesn't talk much but when he does he's the most sensible one of the four.

lauralbi1 writes:

You people are amazing. A candidate provides you with his qualifications, background and resume and all you can do is the old soift shoe and side step the importance of electing someone that has been endorsed by one of the most rep[sected Council memebrs and citizens on Marco Island, Terri DiScuillo. But no, you would rather vote for a candidate that is still stuck on the STRP and a candidate that has been convicted of Destruction of Public Records. I just hope we get 10,000 voters to vote, that is all I have to say.
Ed Issler

Avenger writes:

Actually, Issler, you and your bosom buddy Joe Granda started the negative campaigning with your 17 December letters to the editor. Rather than talk about how great and qualified your boy was, you two went after Chuck Kiester. And you never did explain how you and Granda just happened to have the identical 32 word phrase in each of your letters.

There are only four men running for three council seats, and you feel your candidate is so weak that your only recourse is to demean the incumbents.

happyonmarco writes:

And Ed....what you say is a matter of opinion and for the record I don't believe Terri DiScuillo lives on Marco currently so her endorsement means as much to me as Ed Foster or Godfrey Davies haha...Get over the public records already everyone else has...it is NOT an issue. Money is the issue and your candidate is not being very fiscally conservative even you have got to admit that!

RayPray writes:

Depressing how, with a Council that makes the 3 Stooges look profound, there are so few new faces running.

I sometimes wonder just what tiny percentage of the island population pays any attention at all to what goes on at City Hall....

EdFoster writes:


I never did and never would endorse Godfrey Davies. We had too many disagreements! Ha! Ha!

Ed Foster

Fossil writes:

Issler, I am inclined to not vote for anyone you recommmend. You have told too many lies for me to trust you.

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