To the editor:
I was disappointed in Councilman McGrail's doom-and-gloom description of Cape Coral, the desperate situation he feels we are in, and his proposed no growth tax plan. He uses scare tactics to justify cutting services and/or add new taxes. Economic growth and a rebounding economy are the answers. As one of our City's leaders for the last four years, I would expect him to have a more positive view of our future.
Mr. McGrail described the economic downturn as, "When the economic downturn hit and knocked us down in 2008, we were unable to get up." WE ARE GETTING UP! Our economy is coming back, construction is returning, real estate is selling, businesses are coming back, and our future is improving. The City is emerging from the economic downturn. Our lights are still on and we still have the same City services and programs we had prior to the economic slide.
Mr. McGrail asks how Cape Coral is going to sustainably finance our City going forward. He referred to many upcoming layoffs, including contract personnel. He suggests that Special Populations and seniors programs will need to be shuttered, along with the demise of our Parks and Recreation Department. That's just scare tactics. It's way too early to conclude that we can't find equitable, alternative solutions to keep some form of special programs going that are so vital to many in our community.
From my perspective, I think we need to address our future through smart management, tough decisions and economic GROWTH. I am convinced everyone will be quite surprised when the actual growth numbers are released by the Assessor's office.
I'm opposed to any tax increases or additional taxes at this time, especially the proposed Public Service Tax. I feel it is an unfair burden on full-time residents
The budget situation just takes will power, more study, hard decisions, and a willingness to look at other alternatives. Mr. McGrail is threatening elimination of programs that people rely on. I would look first at temporary reductions or modest user fees for some programs. I am confident we can find more intelligent, user-friendly solutions than broad-brush tax increases. If we can simply reduce some of the services and ask the users to share in the cost of providing those services, we should be able to more ably fund the maintenance of our capital assets in the short term as the economy rebounds.
We should not create new permanent taxes like the Public Utilities tax and Fire Services fee to solve a temporary problem since we all know that regardless of what is said, taxes don't go away. Growth and penny-pinching over the next few years will solve the problem.
I've attended the same financial workshops and meetings that Mr. McGrail has attended and have seen the same presentations. However, I have a much more positive outlook on our City's future. Cape Coral is moving forward, and it is a time for optimism. The challenges yet ahead are significant, but we need a good tax policy that is based on economic GROWTH.
NO growth, NO answers, and HIGHER TAXES are the wrong approach for Cape Coral's future.
Candidate for Cape Coral City Council,