Mailbag: Letters to the editor
Verbal assault uncalled for
Repugnant is the only word that can describe Mr. Rios' comments about Marco Island's city manager Roger Hernstadt. How can someone critique a person when he does not even make time to meet with him? This verbal assault is uncalled for and just shows Mr. Rios' immaturity.
To be an effective councilor, at the minimum you must meet with the city manager before each scheduled meeting. This is when you get the bulk of your questions answered and it gives staff time to get any new questions answered in time for the meeting. Mr. Rios refuses to do this.
The result is that he is constantly "confused" or "does not understand" on every item on the agenda. I feel especially bad for staff during the manger reports section because he constantly belittles, intimidates and micromanages them. Examples of this are telling a professional engineer how to do a survey or telling a CPA how to do a financial report.
I, along with the other freshman councilors of 2012, enrolled in the Florida League of City's classes for newly elected officials (winter 2013). The information you learn is invaluable in knowing how government works. Had Mr. Rios attended these classes (he has missed the first two classes of 2015), he would have known that the LDC and comprehensive plan are part of Florida statutes 163 and would not have asked the planning consultant at the May 18th meeting why he did not address Florida statutes. I think it is rather arrogant for someone not to spend the time and effort to get training for a new job.
I have had the pleasure to work with all of the city mangers since the inception of the city of Marco Island. Without question Roger Hernstadt is the best! He is actively involved in the community. He is knowledgeable on all matters of government. He is accessible to the public (including council; all you have to do is go see him). He is extremely professional.
We are all lucky that he is willing to put up with this crazy island paradise called Marco.
Kenneth E. Honecker
Marco Island City Council member
Consider Charlotte Roman proposal
(This letter was sent to council members, but copied to the Sun Times.)
You have been on the receiving end of congratulations as well as of condemnations for your efforts to provide a suitable rental ordinance for Marco. Last week's decision provided an ordinance, but it also provided animosity between our condominium and our single-family home communities.
According to local news reports, counselor Ken Honecker will move for a reconsideration of that issue. If successful, and if a discussion of Marco's short-term rental problem ensues, it would be extremely helpful if counselors familiarized themselves beforehand with an action that took place at the Planning Board Advisory Committee meeting of Nov. 21, 2014. At that time, and under the able chairmanship of now-magistrate Monte Lazarus, a simple but effective five-point ordinance proposal was forwarded by Planning Board member Charlette Roman.
Her proposal was enthusiastically received by the Planning Board, but its greatest significance was that it received applause from both, yes both condominium and single-family home owners and still addressed the short-term rental problem plus the city's need for a data base. A rare win-win solution. However, for reasons that one can only wonder about, the Roman five-point proposal was set aside in favor of the overreaching "marathon rental ordinance" that city council still struggles to scale downward. Bitterness prevails, despite council's laudable effort to convert the initial ordinance into a reasonable legislation.
Preserve quality of life
We wanted to express our appreciation to the four Marco City Council members who last week approved the short-term rental ordinance. This will do so much to preserve the quality of life and bring some order to the rush to profit from the commercialization of our neighborhoods.
The ordinance gives us hope that we and other permanent residents will be able to enjoy our homes relatively free of the disturbance and disruption caused by short-term rentals. It is a good balance between protecting the neighborhoods and, at the same time, being minimally burdensome to owners who wish to rent. We would have been very disappointed if all the time and effort spent on this problem came to nothing.
We think the decision to include condos was the right one, and we ap<FZ,1,7,23>preciate that the four members held fast in spite of the raucous and rude crowd mobilized by the condo interests. For rental purposes, all properties should be treated in the same manner. We suspect some of the their motivation may arise from the fact that the new ordinance will make it more difficult to avoid paying required taxes. We thank councilors Sacher, Batte, Petricca and Honecker for looking out for the best interests of the community as a whole.
Michael & Barbara Kurko
Property owners worked hard
The Marco Island Property Owners board of directors thanks council chairman Larry Sacher and councilors Batte, Honecker and Petricca for voting in favor of the rental ordinance. MIPO thanks all councilors for devoting many hours of service.
Most Marco Island property owners worked many years to save their hard earned dollars so that they could afford to live on this beautiful island expecting a reasonable quality of life. In time, many of these property owners witnessed their neighborhood transform from a friendly residential community to a rental/hotel business next door with new customers arriving every week. The rental ordinance will put the responsibility on the owner to ensure against excessive numbers of people (who often are insulting, and at times confrontational when asked to keep the noise level down), noise at all hours, overflowing trash, and numerous illegally parked vehicles.
Registration of vacation rentals with the city will provide owner contact information to our police department so that they can effectively and efficiently enforce Marco Island ordinances. Registration will encourage vacation rental property owners to pay the required 6 percent state tax and 4 percent county tax (part of which pays for our beach re-nourishment).
Because condominiums are self-governed, MIPO supports the condo opt-out clause as well as a blanket registration for each condominium association. The need for a rental ordinance was realized in 2005. It took a while, but after many hours invested by the Planning Advisory Board and you Councilors, you got the job done. Thank you!
Linda J. Turner, Chairwoman
Marco Island Property Owners