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Growing government
September 27, 2017

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Growing government

To the Editor:

When entering Fort Myers Beach Town Hall, note the newspaper article from March 1995 posted on the wall in the public nook. The news story quotes those who wanted to separate from Lee County as promising less taxes if they incorporated. Those opposed to Estero Island becoming its own governmental entity are quoted as saying that would not be true, that Fort Myers Beach would end up increasing the taxes over what the county was charging. I believe those opposing incorporation were vindicated last Thursday.

During the Fort Myers Beach council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 21, they passed a budget that increased the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 millage rate greater than the rolled back rate (which would have kept property taxes at last year's rate) and now the budget results in a calculated tax increase of 15.16% for next fiscal year. This is in direct conflict with the promise made by the proponents of town incorporation back in 1995 as noted in the news story above! The council members also included a new position of "finance director" with a budgeted pay up to $75,000 a year. The mayor claimed it was not a new position, but one held by Maureen Rischitelli, whose title is "Director of Administrative Services" according to the town's webpage. So you see how they attempt to justify their actions while increasing the size of government.

Likewise, the news story from 1995 claimed the town would only have a "part time" town manager. Instead, they recently hired the person who probably wanted to be the most highly paid of any of the candidates for town manager, but he might be considered "part time" since he expects the new "finance director" to do his work for him of preparing the annual budget, for which the town Charter holds the town manager responsible, not a "finance director". (Sec. 11.02 of Charter).

Leon Moyer

Fort Myers Beach

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