GUEST COMMENTARY by Victor Rios: Residents made their voices known
Marco Island taxpayers made their voices heard loud and clear in 2015 in two issues that became controversial, to say the least.
One was the ill-conceived rental ordinance. After much back and forth, the majority of the City Council voted for it. This vote was not very well received by Marcoites.
A group of Marco Island citizens organized and within a three-week period collected more than 2,500 signatures of Marco registered voters on petitions against the ordinance.
Since only about 1,250 were required by law (10 percent of the registered voters for the last election), the Collier County Board of Elections stopped verifying the petitions after about 1,500 had been properly vetted as valid.
This left the city with really only two options – repeal, or take it to a citizens' referendum.
While the majority of the council first opted for the referendum option, on another show of back and forth by the council, it was finally decided to essentially repeal the ordinance.
Score one for Marco Island citizens.
The other one was the effort to build a so-called "multi-purpose" building on Veterans Park. This effort caused not only consternation, but also anger, because it appeared the City Manager was using the veterans as a "hook" to get state funding for such a building.
The reaction from all veteran organizations in Marco Island was swift opposition to the use of their name as the "hook,” and the fact that there had been no effort by the city to get them on board.
In addition, after a guest commentary was published in the local press against such plans, as well as a very good article written by Sue Keller that appeared on the Sun Times, within a two-week period about 200 citizens’ letters opposing such building in Veterans Park were received by city council, essentially dooming such efforts. Score two for Marco Island citizens.
Marco Island taxpayers/citizens are to be commended for their effective actions in getting the city to "listen to the voice of the people.”
Contact Rios at his city email, firstname.lastname@example.org