Letter to the Editor: Skeptical

I have been a skeptic on the new building at Mackle Park. The other day I had the opportunity to take a tour with Alex Galiana, Recreation Administrator Supervisor.

I began to realize how popular the Center is with not only children and teenagers but with adults. Actually almost 50% of the usage is with the adult community. What I saw impressed me. Most of the time the building is crowded and several groups have been turned away for lack of room. When the kids come home from school it is just too noisy for both the kids and the adults. I have to say the building is used to capacity. The teen agers are using a trailer that smells from mildew and is worse than some of the club houses we used to go to in New York City. The outside area is great but the center itself is over utilized and in terrible condition.

When we toured the building I was embarrassed to see how run down it really is. Ceiling tiles are coming down and they have water stains. The air conditioners are not adequate as they are all non-commercial. Most of the storage is put into outside trailers that are an eye sore.

Frankly I am ashamed that Marco Island could not do better. The building is 25 years old and looks it. Now that the cost is down to 2.3 million it has become much more realistic to replace and add another 8,000 square feet.

We the tax payers should write to our City Councilors and demand something better.

This is our Paradise and we should not be ashamed of our Community center.

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Comments » 10

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

A couple of thoughts on this. First - this is a good article and I'm glad to see that some of our citizens are taking actions to make things better. But, this seems to be a systemic problem. The current center, from my observations and from your statements, has been allowed to get run down. Needed repairs and maintenance have not been done. Leaks have not been repaired. Why not? We do regular maintenance on our cars and homes, whey do city employees not do the same for the infrastructure that the taxpayers have already paid for? If we didn't allow things to get in such state of neglect and disrepair, we would not be forced into replacing instead of repairing or remodeling. If the majority truly want a new center, I suggest getting donations and grants to pay the bulk of the expenses. Lots of people want 'new' everything, but the sticking point is how to pay for it. Bill Harris - Marco Island

captnjimbo writes:

Just a perspective...not looking for an argument.

Once upon a time Marco had a city council and a city manager that decided to rebuild the infrastructure of Marco Island, including forcing every home to install a connection to a sewer system that many thought was frivolous. And why not? The housing values were sky high...taxes rising to record levels causing a near mutiny by the public, most of whom had graduated to fixed income or living off of their savings. Then introduce a housing value collapse and a national recession and you can easily understand why the expansionist attitude got shut down.

We now have an amazing transition going on. While still a retirement influence younger people are moving here...many following their parents. Businesses are starting thrive again, indeed it looks like there is a great future for Marco Island and SW Florida. While stopping the spending was a good idea several years ago I believe the time has come to fix some problems that were put on hold and for good reason. Like the writer of this letter, Jermanok, I think we should all take a measured and fresh look at this project and help provide a place to play for the families we need, not just for the present...but also for the future.

I also now support a larger and newer and functional facility.

liberator100 writes:

There are many arguments for and against the new facility. However, the fact remains that Councilors were elected to office by promising a "referendum" on the issue. Period! If you like the center as it is ; you can keep it. Period.
Those who support the facility must be ready to pay higher taxes. All the numbers and figures being thrown around irresponsibly are not reflecting the truth. The totally incompetent persons in charge of running the facility now must be removed from their jobs and a new and competent management must be hired to replace them. Referendum first!

ajm3s writes:

in response to liberator100:

There are many arguments for and against the new facility. However, the fact remains that Councilors were elected to office by promising a "referendum" on the issue. Period! If you like the center as it is ; you can keep it. Period.
Those who support the facility must be ready to pay higher taxes. All the numbers and figures being thrown around irresponsibly are not reflecting the truth. The totally incompetent persons in charge of running the facility now must be removed from their jobs and a new and competent management must be hired to replace them. Referendum first!

Pithy! I love it!

LEHonig writes:

To "liberator100" and "ajm3s," please note that it was three of the newly elected City Councilors who agreed to put a Mackle Park Community Center to a referendum. I did not. I was explicit in my view that elected representatives should make spending decisions (up to $10 million, per the City Charter). However, I agree that the three will absolutely gather at least one more vote on City Council, and thus the matter will go to referendum.

One additional point -- and it's an important one to me -- to clear up: We do not need to raise taxes to have the Mackle center, or the Smokehouse bridge, or anything else we need, within reason. I presented two schedules in a City Council meeting showing how that can be accomplished, and I will continue to press the point, because at least two of my colleagues wish to issue new debt for the bridge (and maybe for other projects), which is totally unnecessary.

Another writer above, "captnjimbo," is correct, in that Marco Island is indeed reviving since the financial crisis, plus the fiscal management of the City continues to be excellent. As Chairman Honecker put it in a Coastal Breeze interview last Friday (Nov. 29 edition), "We have plenty of cash lying around." We do. And we can add to it each year. We can do so and still maintain a strong reserve for emergencies (25% of our annual budget), and we can afford what we need -- without borrowing, and without raising taxes. No new debt, no new taxes.

One other aspect Chairman Honecker raised in the interview, with which I completely agree, is that the real debate and discussion should be oriented toward the scope and scale of the projects under discussion. We need to continue to drive the excess costs out of these projects. I think we're on the right track in that regard.

MrBreeze writes:

LEhonig, He is a refreshing idea if you quote "we have plenty of cash lying around" try not to spend it like drunken sailors on shore leave. And just maybee return value to the taxpayer of Marco Island. Sounds like something you can do?

1Paradiselost writes:

How about lowering the water rates with "all that cash lying around".... "We do. And we can add to it each year". (25% of our annual budget)

Question.. What's the millage rate this year?

Time to return the surplus money to the Taxpayers!

RayN writes:

Also need to change the pension systems from defined benefit to defined contribution!! Get the city (TAXPAYERS) off the hook.

harrisbill239#279036 writes:

in response to LEHonig:

To "liberator100" and "ajm3s," please note that it was three of the newly elected City Councilors who agreed to put a Mackle Park Community Center to a referendum. I did not. I was explicit in my view that elected representatives should make spending decisions (up to $10 million, per the City Charter). However, I agree that the three will absolutely gather at least one more vote on City Council, and thus the matter will go to referendum.

One additional point -- and it's an important one to me -- to clear up: We do not need to raise taxes to have the Mackle center, or the Smokehouse bridge, or anything else we need, within reason. I presented two schedules in a City Council meeting showing how that can be accomplished, and I will continue to press the point, because at least two of my colleagues wish to issue new debt for the bridge (and maybe for other projects), which is totally unnecessary.

Another writer above, "captnjimbo," is correct, in that Marco Island is indeed reviving since the financial crisis, plus the fiscal management of the City continues to be excellent. As Chairman Honecker put it in a Coastal Breeze interview last Friday (Nov. 29 edition), "We have plenty of cash lying around." We do. And we can add to it each year. We can do so and still maintain a strong reserve for emergencies (25% of our annual budget), and we can afford what we need -- without borrowing, and without raising taxes. No new debt, no new taxes.

One other aspect Chairman Honecker raised in the interview, with which I completely agree, is that the real debate and discussion should be oriented toward the scope and scale of the projects under discussion. We need to continue to drive the excess costs out of these projects. I think we're on the right track in that regard.

to LEHONIG: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you changed your opinion on "without borrowing, and without raising taxes. No new debt, no new taxes" at the 12/2 Council meeting. It seems that everyone on the Council is now in favor of floating more bonds, more borrowed money - which means more taxes. Bill Harris, Marco Island

ajm3s writes:

Caution: We have plenty of cash!

How much cash did Marco Island have in 2004? Just asking.....

http://www.cityofmarcoisland.com/modu...

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