Guest Commentary by Victor Rios: Credit where credit is due
In the June 25 edition of the Sun Times the front page cover story "Manager: Lobbyist secured funds" covered the work the city's lobbyist, Ron Book, did in securing funds for a few island projects and for allegedly getting funds for the renourishment of Marco Island's beaches.
City Manager Roger Hernstadt is quoted as saying that "In addition to those monies (the other projects) he (Mr. Book) brought another $1.5 million for beach nourishment for Collier County that was available and through his efforts was obtained."
Having been a member of Collier County's Coastal Advisory Committee for seven years (the group that works on funding requests for beach maintenance), I knew that beach related funding is done through the county and questioned this statement crediting Mr. Book.
It is the county management and their lobbyists that work up funding requests and work to get legislative approvals. In my discussion with county management it is clear that they were completely unaware of any involvement of Mr. Book in lobbying for their beach maintenance funding requests.
I know how hard the county management works to get funding for our beaches and only want them to get the credit they deserve for getting funds for our island. We sure criticize them when they don't.
It was the county leadership, Commissioner Donna Fiala, the county's lobbyists and the support of our State Sen. Garrett Richter and the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association that got the $1.5 million funding.
As many have told us, the relationships between the city and the county have not been good and they should get their due credit, which by the way is well deserved.
Victor Rios is a Marco Island City Council member.