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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Indispensable Services

The candidates vying for the city council should be formulating their respective plans by which to help Marco Island recover from the seeming fiscal mess they are inheriting. No doubt that all services should be evaluated in terms of efficiency. However, such study must also evaluate the intrinsic but perhaps not inherently obvious benefit of every service in terms of the longer term effects to the city’s financial health.

Clearly, none of the declared candidates will opt to jettison police, fire and emergency services as part of a plan to reclaim the island’s wasted wealth. But what may not be clear and therefore become perceptibly easy marks for discontinuation are community programs.

Community programs should not be targeted as dispensable because there is much more at stake. By looking to eliminate community programs as a means to austerity, the recovery could be prolonged or otherwise thwarted.

The onus of the next city council is to re-establish the harmonious community congruous in its zeal for the way of life on Marco Island. Without a community, no fiscal rebuilding plan will succeed. The new council can’t simply rely on austerity measures, forensic audits, prosecution of malfeasance and seeking redress from the contractors’ bonanzas as the strategy by which to regain our financial wherewithal.

Analogously, the new council should not look at the revenue side of the budgetary spectrum as a money printing press – as all governments have the penchant to do – without due consideration as to ultimate source of those funding sources.

Namely, the forthcoming council can not simply address the pecuniary troubles through accounting and policy terms in order to rebuild fiscal sanity. They must be ultimately cognizant that the money roads originate from and lead to …

A community is but a cooperative collective of residents and responsible business entities, the former being indispensable to the latter. It is only with concerned and active residents that the new council will have the financial support and popular mandate to succeed in carrying out their vision for facilitating the transition of making Marco Island a paradise once again.

But because an appreciable number of residents have been driven out, maligned or otherwise alienated due to the spiraling cost of living, or because they happen to disagree with the ruling class, or because they simply became disgusted with the entire governing process, respectively, there must be a systematic agenda by which the most vital part of the community – the people – once again become active and willing participants

We can go a long way to that end by ensuring that the new governing body is an all-inclusive city council, respectful of all points of view and serving the residents and business interests – in that order.

And as an all-inclusive respectful government is essential in reestablishing the cooperative and collaborative spirit, but so are community programs and initiatives, for after all, the latter is but an extension of the former.

An expanded community/activities center with even greater programs is one of those essentials that must be identified. If anything at all ran exceptionally well during the dark years was the Marco Island Parks & Recreation service. Let that function and the related programs and activities expand so as to facilitate the embracing of a greater community – a community that must come together in their diversity of age, wealth and politics.

Also along these lines is bringing to Marco Island a high school for academic excellence. While the majority of those polled oppose a high school, consider the demographics of those being polled. Also consider that a community is made up of seniors, part time residents of all ages and young families with children. And also consider the numbers: Presently the elementary school and the middle school have approximately 900 children. Do we want those families to also flee – as their peers have done in droves over the last two years? We give away somewhere between $55,000,000 and $70,000,000 is taxes annually to the Collier Country School District. How about investing part of this money – our money – in our community? And talk about increase revenues by which to ameliorate the serious financial crisis we are facing? Bring a high school for exceptional education to a community and watch what happens to the demand for quality housing and the economic boon that comes with it.

There was talk of a teen center. Let’s go forward, for we desperately need to broaden the range of demographic inclusion in this community so as to ensure viability and survivability. And to that end, what better teen center is there than a premiere high school? One paid for already, many times over?

Generally it is not the role of non-socialistic forms of governments to provide for community efforts. This is true, affirmed as such by Hamilton, Madison and Jay. But the founders of this great experiment also knew that dire times call for dire measures. And arguably, irrespective of where one stands politically, Marco Island is in such times.

Hence this is a call to identify all of the indispensable services that will remake this community, and to protect them so that we may unite and rebuild in unexpected hours.

3 Comments:

  • Well if you went to last night council meeting you found out who is running Marco. When a councilman asked Moss about $ 300,000 in spending he refused to answer and of cause our chairman never said a word. So when asked how he is going to get this money which he does not have the authority to spend that much he just put up his back and would not answer the question. Nice and good lucky Naples, I can't wait until Jan 2 2008 to say good bye to him

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:57:00 PM  

  • In Praise of Mrs. DiSciullo ?

    At the last City Council meeting when Mrs. DiSciullo announced her retirement from politics she received a number of accolades for her service to the community from various citizens. I have been watching Mrs. DiSciullo's performance at council meetings since her election. Here are some of my observations. First off, she has commandeered the most microphone time of any councilor. She is intent on commenting on every topic...and at length. Her comments seem to show off her knowledge of the subject but do little for the enlightenment of others. She pontificates on subjects that are not her field of expertise. Example, at the last meeting she contradicted a medical doctor on the healthy weight of a newborn baby. Since her baby was six pounds at birth and was healthy therefore six pounds is the normal weight for a newborn. She asked about the weight of a mechanical member of the sewer treatment plant and when she was given the information her comment was, "Wow!" I could go on but here is my point. Mrs. DiSciullo's field of expertise is accounting. Her's was the ideal position to keep a watch on the finances of the City. She should have looked out for the fiscal condition of Marco Island. Instead what I witnessed in her performance at almost every meeting was that whenever she asked about financial matters whatever explanation she received from Mr. Moss or our shifty Financial Planner she accepted as gospel. She questioned nothing financial or, if she did, she changed no minds. She could have been instrumental in preventing the money mess that Marco is in today but she failed to act. That to me is her legacy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 3:20:00 PM  

  • i agree totally.

    now when i went back and re-read my article i realized that it could be looked at as a praise of the councilperson as those topics were two of her issues. but so was everything else as the previous post correctly points out.

    it is by sheer coincidence that my support of the community activities are the same as that legacy.

    fortunately for me i support them for completely different reasons: - 1. as an effort to heal this community from the actions of the majority of the present council and the governance AND 2. as a suggestion to the new council that there are much much bigger problems that they should focus on given that the entire service to this function is 1.7% of the total budget (based on the latest numbers from the present governance).

    the councilperson's reasons were always quite clear - 1) social engineering AND 2)an issue to be branded to.

    and lastly completely in agreement with the previous post - what a legacy - to leave such a fiscal debacle. how tragic.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Thursday, November 08, 2007 5:39:00 PM  

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