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New levy on electric bills proposed: Council to consider public service tax Monday

April 26, 2013

Cape Coral City Council is expected to vote Monday on a proposed tax on electric bills....

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Apr-26-13 9:49 AM

They are incompetent don't let them get away with it, VOTE THEM OUT. and two years of the new city manager is enough he is as useless as the last one. fire him

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Apr-26-13 10:42 AM

Why did the city council not in the sunshine discuss the state of Florida Statute as a possibility to reconcile a $20 million deficit.

Why would this city council not want to take a more difficult approach? Are they Lazy? Embarrassed for themselves or even the city? Embarrassed for specific staff members past or present?

Questions like these must be answered be-cause it is not the resident's job to make the city government job easy!

Point in passing prior to the shut down of the Utility Project and completion of the North Water Plant.

The EPA had $23 billion dollars for projects like utility systems and other clean water projects. The Federal Director was interviewed as to what the funds could be used for and what areas of the country used them. Also, a certain president of the United States came to Ft. Myers looking for "Shovel Ready Projects." The city then under the city manager Schwing and then mayor Burche, Bertolini, Day, Tate did not even ask about the federal f

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Apr-26-13 10:55 AM

Carl Schwing then the asst/acting city manager stated after discussions in the News-Press and the Breeze brought up the question as why the city of Cape Coral< Fl did not take advantage of federal grants like "Shovel Ready Projects". Carl Schwing and it is documented in the media TV, and newspapers. "We (the city) do not have adequate personnel to gather the information the federal government needs to go after these grants and there would be "strings attached." The strings would be from what I have learned that were of concern was they overseeing of the project along with the proper accounting of how it was being conducted. This is only another way the residents have been bilked out of millions of tax dollars. Like the utility tax, plus the fire district tax (now recovering 60% from the initial 75% on the $25 million we are paying} it will ultimately leave this city with the ability to run uncontrolled and at the hands of those working for the city.

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Apr-26-13 11:10 AM

As a sidebar regarding the News-Press Editorial that the city of Cape Coral, Fl needs a public utility tax. I notice a new member on the editorial board. Christ Beradi. Chris was on the city council for one term, (thankfully) the second was unsuccessful. More than likely the utility tax will pass, the fire district tax will pass with the city council we have in place today. However it will not stop the illogical spending, your homes won't be even near the state or the county average. But your taxes will be more, and more and more. At monday's meeting ask for the motion to have the city to look at the alternative to TAX and seek the fLORIDA sTATUTE!

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Apr-26-13 4:46 PM

Councilman Leetz seems to think it's just fine and dandy to declare bankruptcy for Cape Coral! He has used that "solution"for himself. It is NOT now nor ever has been the solution for a city...the ramifications are legion.

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Apr-26-13 4:56 PM


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Apr-26-13 6:53 PM

I believe only 4 of the current council are "up for grabs" or election or re-election this November. Stay informed.

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Apr-26-13 6:55 PM

Lightswitch...Can you please provide the Florida State Statute #? It would be easier to find. By the way, I believe the young man's name is Chris Berardi. Give him credit, he stepped to the plate. Have you???

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Apr-26-13 8:10 PM

Mayor Sullivan believes they have not done enough to cut spending and we should wait. Seems he must have had plenty of time in four years to find "cuts", where are they. Bring in the information right now on Monday not 6 months from now after the election.

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Apr-27-13 8:21 AM

I notice how they want to slam this thru before the new grand list is announced. This group is wild spending cowboys. Why a fire service charge when the firemen use a 700,000 truck to go out to lunch. Or they get paid (some time and 1/2) to shake the boot for mda yes they are ON THE PAYROLL. the managers of this city are so in tune to 04-05 spending they cry every time someone says reduce their spending. enough!!!!!!

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Apr-27-13 9:05 AM

The insidious argument that what we enjoy in Kape Koral only flows from the local gubmint’ is insulting and shallow. As if, a park is not a park unless it has a paid city employee hanging around the restrooms. As if, public safety only flows from a squad car or a fire hose. As if, the sun won’t shine and the bugs won’t bite unless we spend tax dollars. No my fellow travelers, we have a good community because we have honest, taxpaying, law abiding, good citizens. Don’t be swayed by the propaganda. A hundred less redundant city employees or five year old police cars won’t change our lives in Kape Koral.

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Apr-27-13 10:09 AM

This Ordinance is poorly written and poorly conceived! No where is an exemption given for our disabled veterans of war. As it stands right now if they are disabled veterans they do not pay property taxes because of their war related injuries. Conversely they would be required to pay the PST! If they cannot get it from your right hand they reach for your left hand!

No where in the Ordinance do I see that the first 500 KWH are not counted as was stated at the meeting.

There was no research into the increases in property values that ultimately will bring in tens of millions in additional revenue to the City.

This Ordinance should be tabled until more research is done!

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Apr-27-13 10:40 AM

What about families that use more electricity because of kids in the home and are just getting by? What about people that own older homes without all the energy savings features of a newer building? What about all of our residents on fixed incomes that just don't have another dollar to spare?

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Apr-27-13 11:50 AM

Lynn Rosco you are 100% correct in stating the preparation for the Utility Tax was not properly prepared.

Even today McGrail is fumbling around trying to make a case for this tax. He was not prepared when he spoke and brought the next week 1 electric bill.

It only confirms more and more how the city disregards any budget it might cobble together.

McGrail is not the person to put in charge of legislating what is to be done for this city.

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Apr-27-13 3:29 PM

Why was this brought up at the 11th hour? I'll tell you why. The ones on council that support this don't want you know exactly what is in this new tax. There is no guarantee in the ordinance as to what the money will be used for. It must be earmarked for specific use, otherwise it will go to pet projects of the council members that support the pet projects. Either put this ordinance on the Nov. ballot and let the people who vote, vote on it, or table it until it can be thoroughly thought out. Not put together with bubble gum.

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Apr-27-13 6:59 PM

I don't disagree that we need to diversify revenue BUT, this package is unfair. How is it that the Fire Assessment tax has double the rate on the lower property values than on the higher property values? How is it that the NET cost per homeowner is more than THREE TIMES higher (when calculated as a tax rate compared to property value) than the high value homeowners? This tax will take most of the money from the Average and Low value homeowners who are the one who spend the most in businesses in Cape Coral. So, the tax is really just shifting the burden from the high property values to the average and low property values. In the end, most of the 20 million in additional revenues will come out of the lower half of the property values and, in turn, most of that 20 million will result in lost revenue to Cape Coral's businesses. Slow down and take another look at how you have shifted the tax burden and come up with a better way that has less negative impact on citizens and businesses.

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Apr-28-13 12:31 AM

Well, looks like the Slick Six aren't any more intelligent or imaginative or creative than the last bunch that warmed the seats on the dais. But, hey, when only 18% of registered voters get up off their duffs and vote, this is what you get.

Here's a suggestion: Fix the problem that's going to bankrupt the city - PENSIONS and BENEFITS. I know the city workers will rant and rave and cry and scream, but until we face reality and fix it, we'll keep seeing more taxes and fees and threats of no service, blah, blah, blah. You can tax and assess fees and add percentages to the ad valorem rate, but until you address the elephant in the room, it's just spitting in the wind.

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Apr-28-13 7:58 AM

Ah, it's election season. All the usual suspects are now emerging from the shadows after a long hiatus.

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Apr-28-13 7:59 AM

How about consolidating expenditures, rather than diversifying revenue!

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Apr-28-13 5:54 PM

Where are all those people that were for, getting rid of the last council? They said we would be better off once we put these union people in there and this new manager. I can't seem to find any of them. I remember seeing and hhearing them on the news press and anywhere else that they could spew their hate and discontent. How come they are not out here talking about how great it is to have all these new taxes and how great this new council and manager are? Come on now, we know who you are and you still live in the Cape. Let me guess, the cat has got your tongue.

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Apr-28-13 6:20 PM

This tax rewards large land owners, seasonal residents, real estate investor who bought up 100 foreclosed homes at a time, and the rich who have energy saving solar etc. It penalizes the single parent, widow on social security, under employed, familes and business in our City!

Shame on Council! Join the Recall Movement of the Council that vote for this tax! City needs a one time assessment for each item they over spent, we need to see what we are paying for!

Shame on the City Manager for hiring a snake oil salesman from out of town "Burton" to educate us! That is your job!

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Apr-28-13 11:06 PM

Tonight sun 4/28/13 Council person Rhana Erbrick states, "this tax has to \be put in to smooth out the revenue so we won't have this problem next time."

Next time will be next year if this tax is put through, along with the fire district tax and a bump in the manipulated millage rate they say will drop 2 pints. This is BS because she McGrail, McClain, Nesta, Carioscia Donnell, have never worked for the residents and are not to be trusted. The logic that a home will sell if the potential buyers are aware of the high millage (even if it is dropped 2 pts) along with the 10% Utility Tax even if they drop it to 7% along with the fire district tax to recoup 60% (it was going to be 75%) will cause a person having to sell to discount the price even more to move it. This is becoming an ethics issue! No municipality has the right or good conscience to do what is being done to its homeowners.

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Apr-29-13 9:41 AM

Lightswitch....Still waiting for the Florida Statute # you alluded to. Really wanted to research your suggestion before the meeting. Are you still here???? Please provide the information to research your suggestion.

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Apr-29-13 3:57 PM

Jim Roach the reason for revenue diversification is due to the over zealous management structuring the city has done and the many years of spending betting it would be an endless revenue. That is why the Homestead Exemption with its 3% cap was put in place. However the city spent beyond what that brought in with its unbridled Utilities Projects. The financing of general obligation bonds to just run the city. I want to know how we are so strapped for cash yet we can afford to pay a 5% BONUS (?) to the Police Dept. in TRADE for a $93 million savings over 25 years? It equates to $3,720,000 a year EXCEPT THE SAVINGS DO NOT MATERIALIZE UNTIL THE LATTER END OF THIS DEAL? This council should be imprisoned if this is put through! THE WHOLE POINT IS THE CITY NEEDS CASH NOW! ALSO THE BUDGET THIS COUNCIL LET THE SCREWBALL CITY MANAGER PUT THROUGH AND WHICH WE ARE WORKING WITH NOW WAS FLAWED!


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Apr-29-13 4:04 PM

LEETZ you brought up last week at the council meeting that there is a solution.

I believe you indicated the council had not considered it. You called it the Florida Emergency Statute. TONIGHT YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO IT AND INFORM US ON WHO< WHAT< WHEN AND WHY?

IF you were spouting BS than you need to be replaced as well!

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