Guest Commentary: Let’s get the real facts, our citizens deserve it

A reporter asked me why I wanted to be Chairman of the Marco Island City Council and I replied, “I want to communicate with our citizens.” You deserve to know the real facts on the issues that come before the City Council, not what some group wants you to hear. When you have the real facts you can decide if you want to support the issue or oppose, but you’ll do so being fully informed.

Let me cite some examples. The major issue being discussed at council today is what are fair and equitable water and sewer rates. It is a contentious issue. Everyone wants their rate to be fair, but does not want to pay more. I agree.

On Feb. 26 the Property Owners Association sent out an email to their members with the following headline “186 percent increase in sewer and water rates?” and after the headline, “click here to tell Council you want answers.”

A widely circulated newsletter headlines “Water and Sewer Rates going up by 50-90 percent” and further reports that the cost for water at a popular restaurant is going up $400 per month when in fact the increase is only $100 per month under the rate plan adopted by City Council. It also reported that there is a 9 percent rate increase in 2012, when in fact there is no rate increase planned. It failed to report the good news that Council reduced the Utility Surcharge by 6 percent effective March 30.

If I saw those headlines and did not know the real facts, I would certainly let council know how I feel. Of course, I don’t want my water/sewer bill going up 186 percent but that is not the fact.

There are statements made by bloggers and authors of letters to the editor in our papers that proclaim “City Debt is $400 Million,” “Spending is out of Control,” “The city employs too many people,” “We’re going broke,” etc.

You deserve the real facts, and I’ve asked the City Clerk to let our community and civic associations know that I would like to appear before them to present the facts and answer questions from our citizens. Please contact Ms. Litzen if you would like me to appear at one of your meetings.

My job is not to be a cheerleader for the City. I am your elected official serving in a legislative and policy position on City Council. I want to hear your views as I consider issues brought before the Council. But, I want you to understand the facts behind the issue, not what you are being told by some group. Please email me at lmagel@cityofmarcoisland.com.

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

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Comments » 5

Seawaller writes:

Here are the facts:

Single Family Residence using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $69.20 to $75.99 (+9.8%)

Condo with its own meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $64.79 to $47.22 (-27.10%)

Condo with master meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $46.17 to $47.02 (+.06%)

This is quite a difference among people all using the same water volume.

Suggested reading: Dr. Seuss's "The Sneeches".

Spin that at your next meeting appearance.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

in response to Seawaller:

Here are the facts:

Single Family Residence using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $69.20 to $75.99 (+9.8%)

Condo with its own meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $64.79 to $47.22 (-27.10%)

Condo with master meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $46.17 to $47.02 (+.06%)

This is quite a difference among people all using the same water volume.

Suggested reading: Dr. Seuss's "The Sneeches".

Spin that at your next meeting appearance.

Bravo!

JohninMarco writes:

How can anyone believe you Larry, remember your bullet voting? Just vote for me and not for the other candidates. Your actions just to get elected showed me the kind of person you are. Do as I say, not as I do.

2themoon writes:

in response to Seawaller:

Here are the facts:

Single Family Residence using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $69.20 to $75.99 (+9.8%)

Condo with its own meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $64.79 to $47.22 (-27.10%)

Condo with master meter using 1.667 thousands gal/month goes from $46.17 to $47.02 (+.06%)

This is quite a difference among people all using the same water volume.

Suggested reading: Dr. Seuss's "The Sneeches".

Spin that at your next meeting appearance.

Magel- 'You cant handle the truth'

ajm3s writes:

Mr. Magel's LTE and Mr. Arceri's LTE have the same theme, misinformation. I would like to offer a new word: PERSPECTIVE.

Let us look at your statement:

"There are statements made by bloggers and authors of letters to the editor in our papers that proclaim “City Debt is $400 Million,” “Spending is out of Control,” “The city employs too many people,” “We’re going broke,” etc."

1. "City debt is $400MM"
Essentially represents total debt, showing P+I (Not found in balance sheets, but typically used for planning purposes, especially when reviewing best use of capital/cash or refinancing)

2. "Spending is out of Control".
Simply refer back to the consultant review of the water/sewer expansion and debt relative to .....other cities of comparable size/needs.

3. "City employs too many employees"
This statement should be revised to show that 10% should be replaced, as in most businesses, a la Jack Welch. My concern, the 10% reside in high city management positions and those are the most difficult to remove.

4. "We're going broke"
If history has any meritorious value, this city had a surplus at one time and now ...... and all I have to show is a brown lawn. From my perspective, homeowners did not gain, but the city has nice facilities, in fact, much nicer that the average inland home. I chose inland homes to be fair, since most city facilities are on inland lots.

Now, what really gets my goat! This misinformation dialog is crap, unadulterated crap. These statements you provide as examples as misinformation did not come out of the blue or picked out of a hat. They have a reference point, but obviously its not from your reference point. Some water users, as the above bloggers indicate, like to reference the final cost of water as $/gallon. And this provides a viewpoint, NOT misinformation.

When you say misinformation, I say blah, blah, blah and go into a slumber. Because its about a viewpoint, and you obviously do not like this viewpoint as in looking at total debt, but some professionals do, especially in assessing the best use of cash outlays/capital.

Note: this is a blog not a treatise, so the margin of error in my analysis may not be within +/- X%. And let's not forget, its sometimes written for entertainment value.

Remember, from your viewpoint, a condo vote was worth pursuing, more so than a single family home vote by design. Nice perspective!

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