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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Open Letter to Representative Richter

Dear Representative Richter:

Thank you for your response to my concerns on Marco Island's septic tank replacement program (STRP). I'm afraid your comments suggest misinformation as well as a misunderstanding of those concerns. I'll attempt a brief clarification:

1) Although a court case is indeed pending, it is concerned solely with the issue of bond validation, not the two subjects of my letter ("Home Rule" and HB 749).

2) Your statement that the City of Marco Island, ("City") informed you it considers itself immune to State Statute HB749 was not unexpected. It is that precise position that prompted my contacting your office.

3) That the City "commissioned a study" is only partially correct. What seems overlooked is that the study indicated no need for the forced implementation of a central sewer system.

4) In contacting you I did not seek or expect legal opinion or statute interpretation. I'm sorry if my letter was confusing. However, I do feel it reasonable to ask my Representative and/or Senator for a layman's explanation, applicability and intent of recently enacted legislation.

You're correct in that the question of exemptions for so-called "home rule charter government" is at the crux of an escalating situation on Marco Island. This question is framed by

* City's refusal to place the $135 million sewer issue before the electorate,
* City's inability to produce evidence-based need for the project,
* City's inexplicable rush to approve project contracts even without accessible funding,
* City's unexplained disregard of HB 749's connection time provisions (one year vs City's 90 days).

You have been misinformed, I'm afraid, if you believe any of these issues are in the court system. They are not. Lacking the deep pockets as well as the political influence of a city government, my fellow residents and I obviously have limited options.

There appears to be much on Marco that merits scrutiny from a higher level of governmental authority. We turn to you. Will you help?

H. J. "Russ " Colombo

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