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Remove Rios from the Collier County TDC

Our understanding of the mission of the City Council is to protect the interest, safety and reputation of the citizens, businesses and visitors of Marco Island.

Each of you have a seat and represent the island on our county boards. The words and actions of our City Council have a direct economic impact on our quality of life and your actions need to represent the fiduciary responsibilities of the Marco Island taxpayers.

Your appointed representative to the TDC (Collier County Tourist Development Council), Councilman Victor Rios obviously does not represent the Island’s, or your interests, by his recent actions and words at last week’s TDC meeting.

Victor Rios complained about how long it took to get to the meeting compared with travel time in off-season. “Do we need more people here? Winter is Hell.”

These words are contrary to the welfare of tourism which is the economic lifeblood of the island. The tourism industry is responsible for over 35,500 jobs in Collier County. Over 1.8 million visitors in 2105 spent over 1.31 billion dollars resulting in a total economic impact of over 1.95 billion to Collier County. Being named 2014 Trip Advisor Travelers #1 Island in the U.S. and #4 Island in the world has given our local businesses the ability to thrive in a very difficult seasonal environment.

Our beaches, specifically Tigertail Beach, provide educational opportunities to our visitors and residents to learn about and explore sixty species of migrating and resident coastal birds, as well as sea turtles and a multitude of marine life. Marco Island is an environmental living museum for visitors around the world.

A large majority of our local business owners are independent entrepreneurs who work, live and raise their families on this Island.  They provide full time residents all the amenities needed to live comfortably without leaving the Island if they so desire.

I would like to reference a quote from the Deltona Corporation’s 1964 Annual Report: “Rather than being aimed primarily at retirees, it (Marco Island) is designed for a complete range of resort and leisure living-hotels, motels, apartments and extensive areas for homes. The company expects that as the community grows, its business and commercial life will expand too, and younger working families will comprise a sizable part of the population. However, it is expected that most of Marco Island’s growth will derive from tourist activities and from the demand for second homes for vacation, weekend and other leisure use.”

I ask Councilman Rios, why do you live here? Did you not realize that Marco Island is and will always be a vacation destination, as well as, a vibrant community of businesses and residents?

Councilman Rios words cannot be undone or taken back, therefor it must be undone by action. The Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce is asking the City Council to do the right thing and request the removal of Councilman Victor Rios from the Collier County TDC and place a qualified representative to reflect your positive commitment to the taxpayers, businesses and residents of Marco Island.

Thank you for your consideration and swift action.

Dianna Dohm, executive director, Marco Island Chamber of Commerce

Response to Councilor Larry Honig’s request for volunteers

I am sure it must be an administrative oversight that I haven’t been contacted to serve the city on the Audit Advisory Committee.

I responded over a year ago to a request for volunteers for various volunteer boards. The selection criteria as I recall was a willingness to serve on a volunteer basis and have some demonstrated civic activity in the community. My background is a certified public accountant with over 40 years of work experience in public accounting as a partner with the big four firm of Deloitte.

Since moving full time to Marco Island I have been active in the Marco Men’s Club as a vice president, a member of the Marco Island Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol as a mission pilot as well as their financial officer among other civic activities.

I was contacted shortly after the November election and asked if I was still interested in serving on the Audit Advisory Committee to which I replied I was. To date I have not heard anything from the city.

I am hoping that one of my other civic activities which was as a board member of the Marco Island Property Owners who endorsed other candidates for council seats would not disqualify me for service to the City of Marco Island. Certainly the transparency that the new council members have claimed would not be threatened by an individual who has dedicated his life to integrity and professionalism or is the council just interested in citizens who have supported them to serve on volunteer committees?

William A. Rogers, CPA, Marco Island

Pristine beaches, yes; sports complex, no

The prospect of a new $60 to $80 million sports complex for our county was discussed recently in an article in the Naples Daily News. Options to pay for the complex would include a “penny” hike in the tourist tax. This sounds innocent enough but understates the real cost.

The “penny” is really an additional one percent of every dollar spent by tourists and actually represents an increase of 25 percent (current tourist tax is four percent). It seems unfair to some hotels that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade their facilities only to have the county make their rooms more expensive to their customers.

The real concern here is that tax money will be diverted from maintaining our beaches to building a “nice to have” sports complex. Total building and maintenance costs of this facility are estimates, but usually these types of estimates are understated. Our pristine beaches are the economic driving force attracting tourists and residents to Marco Island. As a skeptical member of the Collier Citizen’s Council put it … visitors that come to Collier County usually don’t ask “Do you have sports complex: if so I would really like to go there.”

The comment that building a sports complex would be an economic stimulus has some truth to it, but disregards the fact that citizens on average spend money more wisely than government entities. This is a tax and spend mentality which has led to a $20 trillion dollar national debt and can lead Collier County to unnecessary debt as well.

Let’s encourage our county commissioners to stop wasting their time and focus on funding beach re-nourishment projects and reject the sports complex idea.

Maria Lamb, Marco Island

Check insurance

I would suggest that everyone check their wind and hurricane insurance policy for their deductible. If it says two or five percent for wind and hail that means it is five percent of the value of your house.

My house was hit in the March hail storm (pictured in the Marco Eagle) and I just found out that my deductible was five percent of the value of my house.

My damage was about $9,000; which was not covered. I have paid $5,000 per year for the last 15 years and did not realize my new policy was just for catastrophe.

Therefore, buyer beware.

Herbert Jermanok, Marco Island

Make it happen

There are two ideas and hopes that most Republicans, Democrats and independents agree upon that we should and could work together and make them happen.

Sparked by a Feb. 15 editorial on county commissioner term limits, I was wondering what the input of the editorial readers would be on the following:

Seventy-five percent of our citizens want term limits, according to a Gallup Poll survey.  There is a difference in affiliation, but all are in the majority.

Seventy-four percent of our citizens want President Donald Trump, as he promised, to release his tax returns, according to an ABC/Washington Post poll.

Since we, the majority of voters in the United States, have these ideas and wants in common, how do we get together and make this happen?

Is it possible for the Republicans, Democrats and independents to get our political leaders to join us and make something happen together in a bipartisan manner to serve what the majority of their constituents agree upon? Are we willing to call or write our congressional representatives to make something happen?

While these questions are somewhat rhetorical, I'm hoping they resonate with all of us. Together we are better. Yes, we can.

Bob Klatt, Marco Island

Fire and brimstone

As a resident of Marco Island, I was so looking forward to the Easter sunrise service this year, as in the past several years which had been a novelty in the beginning. We didn't have anything like this up North where I came from, but after attending the first year it became spiritual for me, an uplifting, soul-satisfying "Christ has Risen and we'll all be OK" type of thing and I always walked away with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.

It was different this time. The group I was with looked stunned. This was not a soul-lifting, “Christ died for us and today he rose again from the dead, Alleluia, so that we could live.” No. It was loud, fire and brimstone, we all did something bad in our lives and we're going to die, bad.

We should have known something was amiss when it was mentioned at the beginning of the service that there would be a change in the program with the Easter message. A pastor from a college would replace a local reverend. Hopefully, some type of politics aren't in play here.

I normally keep a program from these services as a memento. This time I didn't.

Ann D’Onofrio, Marco Island and Rhode Island

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