Marco Island voters oppose overnight walk-in clinic tax, subsidy

Marco City Council Chairman Larry Magel.

Photo by LANCE SHEARER

Marco City Council Chairman Larry Magel.

Video from NBC-2

The ballot language doesn't identify the amount of the proposed tax levy. It says the proceeds would be used solely to "supplement the costs of maintaining and operating" a 24/7 clinic. The levy considered is 0.1 mill, which would cost taxpayers with a property assessed at $500,000 about $52 a year, according to a presentation to the council at the June 4 meeting.

— Marco Island residents gave a resounding “no” Tuesday to the idea of taxing themselves to keep a walk-in medical clinic open around-the-clock on the island.

Collier County election returns showed that more than 73 percent of Marco voters were against the late-night clinic subsidy.

The vote was 3,086 against (73.6 percent) with 1,108 (26.4 percent) in favor.

The non-binding ballot question was proposed by the Marco Island City Council to gauge public sentiment about having a 24-hour clinic even though it was never envisioned to handle medical emergencies.

Council Chairman Larry Magel, who wasn’t available after Tuesday’s results, has been a proponent of exploring a taxpayer subsidy to either Physicians Regional Health Care System or the NCH Healthcare System to operate a 24-hour clinic.

Marco Councilman Bill Trotter, who was against the measure, said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome.

“My concern was that voters didn’t understand it wasn’t really an emergency center instead of a walk-in center. My personal view was that the cost very much outweighed the benefit,” he said.

Physicians Regional, which had been planning to open a walk-in center in Marco with daytime hours, submitted a proposal to the city that $700,000 to $800,000 would be needed annually for extended hours.

* * * * *Posted earlier* * * * *

Marco Island residents are saying “no” to taxing themselves to have a walk-in medical clinic stay open around the clock, according to early election results.

In early returns in Collier County from absentee and early voting totals, about 71 percent of the voters were against the late-night clinic.

A non-binding ballot question was proposed by the Marco Island City Council to gauge public sentiment about having a 24-hour clinic even though it was never envisioned to handle medical emergencies.

Council Chairman Larry Magel, who wasn’t available after Tuesday’s results, has been a proponent of exploring the concept of taxpayers paying subsidy to either Physicians Regional Health Care System or the NCH Healthcare System to operate a 24-hour clinic.

The ballot language didn’t identify the amount of a tax levy, which garnered criticism among some Marco Council members. Magel pitched a levy that would cost homeowners $52 a year for a home assessed at $500,000.

Physicians Regional, which had been planning to open a walk-in center in Marco with daytime hours, submitted a proposal to the city that $700,000 to $800,000 would be needed annually for extending the hours.

Before Tuesday’s ballot results, Councilman Bill Trotter pointed out the ballot language was vague and there was a lot of misunderstanding among Marco residents about what services would be offered at a 24-hour clinic.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 16

marcofriend writes:

Don't forget......Mr Magel said that it doesn't matter what the voters said. If City Council decides that the 24 hour clinic is best for the City, they can still vote it in.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

Finally, some common sense.

If it were a 24 hour emergency room, then people would have supported it. But to subsidize a private doctors office makes no sense - unless you are the doctor or the company who employs him or her.

gladesgator writes:

What if the county wanted to keep a local dougnut shop open all night so late night tokers could satisfy their munchies and just increased everyones tax because it would not otherwise be profitable for the doughnut shop to stay open all night? If the county is going to provide public health care then provide it equally to everyone but don't tax people for the convience of some who want access to a walk in clinic any time of the day or night. This is an outrage and the some head should roll for putting this s----- thing on th ballot. It's not the amount of the tax, its the principle of the thing.

ed34145 writes:

The county provide public health care? In what alternate universe?

gladesgator writes:

in response to ed34145:

The county provide public health care? In what alternate universe?

Have you ever heard of Health Department where poor people can get medical help on a walk in basis. Maybe some of you never experienced real life.

ajm3s writes:

in response to marcofriend:

Don't forget......Mr Magel said that it doesn't matter what the voters said. If City Council decides that the 24 hour clinic is best for the City, they can still vote it in.

In a private conversation after listening to his PowerPoint demonstration to dispel all the misinformation created by several citizens groups earlier this year, I specifically asked why he was so headstrong on this 24/7 clinic subsidization? I was truly curious.

He said it was a good thing and was a topic of concern at several community events he attended. I replied: I do not hear an outcry from the citizens, other than the fact that the clinic is not an emergency room.

His response: "You are wrong, It will pass"

My interpretation: Mr. Magel walks in a world with other elected representatives that believe they know better. That they have solutions based on their superior ability to interpret citizens concerns, with the intellect and managerial experience to provide solutions. That his vision is in the best interest of the folks on this island, but he needs to control the conversation and presentation in order to shape this island in his image as in the resolution that was brought to the voters.

The entire timeline from the creation of the referendum to the hastily arranged public forums were basically all controlled by Mr. Magel.

Recommendation: Be vigilant, the Mr. Magel types are constantly reappearing, but they all share a common trait, their self image if unchecked will not necessarily reflect residents concerns on this island.

Why? Because in Magel's world we are misinformed!

Well the electorate just informed Mr. Magel, and interestingly he could not be reached by the press for comment.

Geez, I was expecting a prepared PowerPoint presentation from Mr. Magel as to why the majority of folks misvoted!

LOL

lauralbi1 writes:

Just FANTASTIC !!!!!! A great day when we, THE PEOPLE, get to express our opinion on issues and leaders via Democracy.
Everyone's individual opinions on the subject were expressed at the Ballot Box. It did not matter who supported it and who was against it as each citizen was given the opportunity to express their own opinion.
Ed Issler

captnjimbo writes:

I would still welcome PR to participate...but as a business. In season they could make a buck here.Out of season nobody can.

2themoon writes:

Heres a real crazy idea; how about taking the $$$ we spend on the redundant MIPD and MIFD and put it towards OUR own island 24 hr medical facilty... Oh wait a minute I think I'm steppn on some Marco syndicate toes, my idea will never fly.

OldMarcoMan writes:

A retired Councilman told me over Cocktails a week or so ago he didn't think it would Pass, his quote was he thought the 'Pigs had been to the troth to often' I guess he was right.

gladesgator writes:

in response to 2themoon:

Heres a real crazy idea; how about taking the $$$ we spend on the redundant MIPD and MIFD and put it towards OUR own island 24 hr medical facilty... Oh wait a minute I think I'm steppn on some Marco syndicate toes, my idea will never fly.

Not a bad idea. Staff it with a counselor so that anyone tempted to commit a crime could stop by for coffee and doughnuts and chat. And lets add a social worker to deal with families that are stressed and may otherwise be tempted to turn to crime. Lets close of the bridges to the island and don't anyone from the east coast cross.

While we are at it let’s nix code enforcement and instead streamline procedures for a common law nuisance action making it easy for someone who leaves cars in their yard to be sued for nuisance. The fired department must be replaced by a volunteer fire department. Lets require the beachfront hotels and condo to hire private security to patrol the beaches and adjacent roads. Commission the coast guard auxiliary and the Marco Yacht Club to patrol the waters.

Now what else can we do to get government off our back and our sticky fingers out of the cookie jar.

.

2themoon writes:

in response to gladesgator:

Not a bad idea. Staff it with a counselor so that anyone tempted to commit a crime could stop by for coffee and doughnuts and chat. And lets add a social worker to deal with families that are stressed and may otherwise be tempted to turn to crime. Lets close of the bridges to the island and don't anyone from the east coast cross.

While we are at it let’s nix code enforcement and instead streamline procedures for a common law nuisance action making it easy for someone who leaves cars in their yard to be sued for nuisance. The fired department must be replaced by a volunteer fire department. Lets require the beachfront hotels and condo to hire private security to patrol the beaches and adjacent roads. Commission the coast guard auxiliary and the Marco Yacht Club to patrol the waters.

Now what else can we do to get government off our back and our sticky fingers out of the cookie jar.

.

Nice rant but I'm sure you're aware that we pay super high taxes for the county sherriff and county fire to take care of Marco. We pay millions extra to have another police and fire dept? Talk about bloated govt! We can turn a profit witha successful island hospital, can't say the same for the MIPD and MIFD.

woozygirl writes:

A few more dollars a year would be worth it.

JohninMarco writes:

in response to woozygirl:

A few more dollars a year would be worth it.

Ok, you pick the current city employees to be laid off to cover the expense of this PRIVATE business. I doubt that anyone on the council will do that. At some point the spending has to stop.

ubetcha writes:

in response to JohninMarco:

Ok, you pick the current city employees to be laid off to cover the expense of this PRIVATE business. I doubt that anyone on the council will do that. At some point the spending has to stop.

Take 1/3 of the police force and put them to run the clinic. How's that work for you.

OldmanoftheIsland writes:

Anybody notice that Magel hand picked the news media who were invited to his press conference before the election, the one he tried to use to persuade the public to vote yes? I'm told The Coastal Breeze and the Marco radio station 98.1 FM were not called. Could it be that he picked the news media he figured would support him and blocked the one's he wasn't sure of?

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