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Referendum vote on stormwater

Letter to the Editor

December 28, 2016
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Referendum vote on stormwater

To the Editor:

The second letter of my Drain the Swamp series regarding Fort Myers Beach town government. Several of the council strongly supported by senior town employees have revived the unpopular "Cadillac" All Streets Stormwater Management Plan.

Let's go back 11 months to the council meeting on Jan 19, 2016. Over 300 residents stormed the council chamber to send a clear message that we are saying NO to the Cadillac Stormwater Plan.

Then council claimed the town owed $2 Million for the Delmar and surrounding streets stormwater construction. We compromised on Jim Steele's (then of the Town Audit Committee) Stormwater Management Plan of building out the three neighborhoods (identified in the original 2007 stormwater needs study) and accepted a stormwater fee of $19.98/mo per Unit for five years. Then, this fee would drop to $9.95/mo for maintenance for the remaining 15 years of his 20 year plan Remember?

Town citizens believed then and now, that we stepped up on a stormwater plan that made "common sense" for Fort Myers Beach stormwater management needs and monthly fees we could live with. We considered that compromise we entered into that day as a "done deal" agreement akin to a public mandate with the council.

Now, just 11 months later council is back publicly pushing Cadillac Stormwater again estimated to cost $34 million ($3.8 million spent to date + Cadillac construction estimate of $30.2 million) resulting in substantially higher monthly fees per ERU out to a 2040 payoff date! Council is clearly maneuvering to break the Jan 19, 2016 stormwater management agreement with Fort Myers Beach's citizens! Council then voted on Dec. 19 to borrow almost $7 Million to restart construction!

During my public comment at the Dec. 19 council meeting, I stated that Fort Myers Beach citizens are DEMANDING that ANY proposed increase in scope of construction or fees over the Jan. 19, 2016 stormwater agreement be put to referendum vote! Several council members then stated "they believed there is a silent majority of citizens out there who want the Cadillac Stormwater system." Do you? Please join me in demanding a referendum vote on stormwater at the March, 2017 election by contacting all the Council Members. Drain the Swamp!

Mike Baker

Fort Myers Beach



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