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Saturday, January 19, 2008

You Can't Make A Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear

by Ed Foster

In a recent Letter to the Editor, Councilman Trotter made a valiant attempt to defend the record of the present city council, but as my mother always told me, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

1) If we are in such great shape financially, why did we have to borrow $20 big ones from BofA?

2) If we are in such great shape financially, why can't we maintain our bridges and roadways?

3) If we are in such great shape financially, why can't we pay our police and firemen a decent wage UNDER the cap and not propose charging residents a "special assessment" for what are considered ordinary and necessary city-provided services?

4) If we are in such great shape financially, why have our "reserves" practically disappeared?

5) Your statement that taxes have been reduced is disingenuous, and with your PhD, you must be well aware that it is. Council have reduced tax RATES but not TAXES. Every non-homesteaded resident of Marco Island is paying much more in taxes now than a few years ago because property values have grown wildly over the past 4 or 5 years, and council have been able to raise MORE money at a lower tax rate. Every non-homesteaded resident is aware of that when he/she pays his tax bill ... and every resident on the island SHOULD be aware that this council petitioned the legislature to exempt Marco Island from the Governor's tax reduction package. Now that property values are collapsing, the worm has turned. Tax revenues will fall precipitously unless you raise rates. You know it, I know it, and any financially astute person knows it. Why do you insist on perpetrating this deception on the people?

6) The fact that "no Councilors have raised issues of 'over-staffing'" is precisely why we need a new council, one with fiscal responsibility, beholden to no one other than the electorate, and with a modicum of intelligence and experience sadly lacking on the present council.

7) Granted, capital projects have improved some aspects of our infrastructure, but our bridges are in a sad state of disrepair, undergrounding of electric power lines has been cancelled (but not the tax imposed to pay for the effort) and our new ASR wells have not proved sufficient to save us from the same watering restrictions as everyone else.

8) Endorsement of staff by an incoming TEMPORARY City Manager is to be expected. What else can he say? I dare say the new City Manager may have a different opinion!

9) To say our utility has won numerous awards boggles the mind. Is this the same utility whose water eats copper pipes for lunch because no one knew how to keep the chemistry in balance? Is this the same utility that operated the WWTP without a permit for years? Is this the same utility cited by the FDEP for ignoring code? Is this the same utility that continued to dewater without a permit? Is this the utility that the EPA has threatened with fines and possible criminal conduct? Wow, Bill! Where have you been the last four years?

10) Would you care to enumerate the 64 public meetings held on the STRP? Or do you consider any council meeting in which some STRP-related item is discussed a "public meeting." If so, the ones I've attended (and they were legion) were examples of "public meetings" in which public input is ignored. These were not public "meetings," they were charades.

Thanks for the clarifications, Bill. You've made a wonderful case why you should NOT be re-elected.

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