Letter to the Editor: Do utility bill-payers equal citizen taxpayers?

We the People of Marco Island seem satisfied with our City Council’s unanimous approval to conduct a July poll either accepting or rejecting the new $2.2 million Mackle Park Community Center. Using our July utility mailings, the City Council’s poll will thus assess gross community sentiment, according to utility bill-payers, in pursuing this latest contributor to our costly public indebtedness.

To be fair, just and evenhanded, however, might we insist that our City Council answer the following essential questions now to make the July poll more valid and meaningful to all taxpayers?

1. Will the mailed utility bill poll replace our City Charter’s often denigrated and obviously ignored popular call for a public referendum on such a major budgetary decision?

2. Will the same Parks and Recreation Board and staff which were so derelict and blatantly delinquent in maintaining, along with the Planning Board and City Council, the current Mackle Park Community Center since 1997, continue to be responsible for the care and upkeep of the newly constructed facility?

3. How will nonresidents and off-island freeloaders be accounted for and charged to use our new Community Center?

4. What percentage of tax-payers today also pay utility bills? Or, more critically, do most citizen condo owners, tenants, time sharers, et al, pay utility bills and will thusly be included in this July mailed utility bill poll?

5. How are Mackle Park off-sites and facilities for use as Community Center options accounted for and assigned under this polling? In other words, are vacant store fronts, commercial sites, school-church educational locales, public kitchens etc., recognized as viable and useful Parks/Recreation sites in this community mailing poll?

6. Can we now anticipate individual City Councilors and our city employees working hard between now and July to support the majority results of this utility poll?

In summary, is this utility bill poll just another mediocre and arrogant subterfuge by our City Council to ignore, once again, our City Charter and to assault ‘We the People’s’ right to participate in public referendums as has been so frequently and glaringly demonstrated since our founding as a city in 1997?

Sayre Uhler

Marco Island

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Comments » 1

ajm3s writes:

So going forward, is the current council trying to establish an equivalency of polling with a referendum? To my understanding, they are NOT the same.

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