Letters to the Editor, August 4
The ‘rollback rate’ on Marco Island
Reading the news that Marco Island will probably pass a “rollback rate” budget again for the next fiscal year prompts me to write this letter.
While City Council is to be commended for exercising fiscal restraint and keeping “bureaucratic creep” in check, I think there are a few other things to keep in mind.
First, I would encourage all property owners to look closely at their real estate tax bills. On my last year’s real estate tax bill, Marco Island’s operating budget only made up about 16% of my total bill. Collier County’s general fund and related services made up 36% and the school districts made up 47% of the total. So as good as fiscal restraint is at the local level, electing fiscally conservative officials at the county level is even more important.
Second, I think being fiscally responsible means more than just keeping the “rollback rate.” It means providing adequate budgets to preserve and maintain our infrastructure while providing all the civil services the taxpayers expect and deserve. The “Paygo” budgeting policy the city has adopted truly means “paying as we go.” I think as much as anyone hates paying higher taxes, we want to protect our citizens and the environment and make sure future generations aren’t unfairly burdened because we have neglected our streets, swales, buildings and especially the water quality in our canals. We need adequate Code Enforcement to keep landscapers and other from polluting our waterways, enforce the Fertilizer and Stormwater Ordinances and to protect our endangered species including sea turtles and burrowing owls.
A 5% increase in Marco’s operating and capital budget would provide an additional $1,000,000 for services. On a residence assessed at about $500,000, this would result in only about a $50 annual increase, or less than a 1% increase in the entire tax bill.
We need efficient government and services, constrained so they do not grow without need, but we also need to get the services we deserve as well as to look to the future and make sure we leave our Island a better place for the next generation.
Rick Woodworth, Marco Island
Vote yes for Marco Island
Dear Marco Island Voters: The August 2020 Marco Island version of the primary ballot contains a question as to whether to prohibit the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana (medical marijuana and CBD Products are excluded) on Marco Island.
It is important to know that Naples has banned marijuana sales completely and Collier County has not allowed medical marijuana within the county. That means that if and when recreational marijuana becomes legal in the State of Florida, Marco Island could very well be the only location where recreational marijuana would be available in Collier County.
The significant increase in traffic and the potential for increased numbers of impaired drivers driving on Marco Island are both very devastating to our quality of life and our "small town ambiance."
So, when you vote this issue, please join the over 2,000 registered voters who signed the petition to get this question on the ballot and vote yes to "prohibit the sale … "
Your vote will let City Council know how you feel on this issue.
Ed Issler, Marco Island
For LoCastro for County Commission
The Republican primary race for Collier County commissioner in District 1 is in the final stretch and, sadly and predictably, it has turned negative.
Rick LoCastro, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a combat veteran with a distinguished military career, is being maligned by a political gadfly who supports one of his Republican opponents.
Unfortunately, that happens when a candidate can’t win based on experience, competence and preparation.
I strongly support Rick LoCastro for the District 1 seat. Even the most cursory examination of the credentials of the candidates should convince voters to support Rick. After a stellar military career, in which Mr. LoCastro was in charge of thousands of troops, he became the principal executive officer for a major health care organization in Collier County.
Only someone who can gain the confidence and respect of the other commissioners can achieve the things important to District 1 residents. Rick will provide the strong leadership we desperately need.
Erik Brechnitz, Marco Island
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No shoes. No shirt. No mask. No service. How simple is that?
Marilyn Bird, East Naples