To the editor:
Isn't it interesting to read about our City of Cape Coral elected officials making comments and recommendations concerning spending and city charter changes? So we understand the source of our information; it is from 'The News-Press, dated May 15, 2014 and the second is the Cape Coral Breeze dated May 27, 2014.
As I previously wrote concerning our Mayor's out-of- town trips, the most recent trip to San Antonio, Texas and the project she wanted to introduce was eye-opening. Let's redevelop the downtown area of the City of Cape Coral at a beginning price of $30 million dollars. And that cost is only an estimate to dig a trench in the downtown area. Interesting. Very interesting.
Let's seewe didn't have enough money budgeted to pave roads. We didn't have enough money to finance our fire and rescue -which resulted in an increase in our expenses for which each property owner in the city was billed. In fact, we the property owners of Cape Coral, Florida were coerced through a City Council vote to pay the bill or have our properties levied by the City if we didn't pay.
Where in the world would this new funding come from to dig the hole? I understand that several on the council rejected this project submission - but, we the citizens and the property owners of the City of Cape Coral need to hold on for the next tax increase ride our Mayor, City Council and City Manager have planned.
Land owners and voters in Cape Coral - yes, even those of you who do not own property but rent property in which to live or occupy - all of our expenses are going up due to these small and frequent tax or assessment increases. For those of Cape Coral who rent - our rents will go up over the next several years so the owners can re-capture the added expenses due to these new assessments and taxes.
Oh and our veterans within the City of Cape Coral. We just celebrated Memorial Day and I was present at several events which our Mayor was appreciative of the service of those veterans who served and paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. I wonder if our Mayor or even our City Council were as appreciative of those veterans who have served and lived through war. Yeah -they appreciate the living because they can pick those veterans' pockets because they are alive. Oh, they say they are prohibited from providing relief to our veterans because Florida Law doesn't permit it. Wrong! We weren't born yesterday - we understand that they could - but, they won't relieve our veterans' tax burden because that would impact the City Government from collecting the revenues they required to purchase land we'll never use, or propose projects that will never see the light of day at the budgeted numbers they expect it to cost.
But we can travel the country from the east coast to the west coast and ponder our fuzzy navels with grandiose plans to dig holes at the cost of $30 million dollars.
Let's use some common sense here: The money tree that is growing in every City of Cape Coral citizen's backyard hasn't yielded not one red cent. However, the limited monies available to our citizens has decreased proportionally to the amount of assessments and taxes the city council and the city manager have levied upon us. And don't forget, we paid a consulting firm an outrageous amount of money to come up with these fanciful ideas to pick our pockets. Yeah, we paid for the consultant, not our public servants. Couldn't that consultant money we paid been used to provide our first responders some additional income, education, or even equipment?
Hopefully the apathy of the City of Cape Coral Citizen will no longer exist. Hopefully, our continued written expressions of outrageous City Manager, Council and Manager feats of increased revenues for the city to waste on exorbitant projects will end,
Oh, yeah, we've been told that we don't have any of the real facts. Well, some of those facts were communicated in a letter to the editor in the Cape Coral Breeze dated May 16th, 2014, titled: "Less spending, not more taxes, is what's needed," by Mr. Bill Deile. Yes, yes, yes, I know there are some of you who would tell us that Mr. Deile was once part of the City Council in previous years. I'll take that into consideration. However, he does make a real point of critical analysis and the use of "due diligence" in researching what is going on prior to enacting new city legislation. (i.e. increased spending and taxes).
Here is my question to the current City Council: What decreases in spending have you requested? And if no decreases have incurred, why hasn't there been decreases demanded?
We are at a crossroads within the City of Cape Coral. We have a City Charter that is not really that responsive to the citizens. There is a move afoot by City Councilmember Rana Erbrick to organize a committee to review the City Charter. And there is also a move afoot within the City of Cape Coral to petition our local government through the vote on what is being referred by several citizens as "The Freedom Amendment."
Both initiatives are strides to move forward to make our local government more responsive to the citizens of the City of Cape Coral. There does need to be a change in the City Charter, and that change should be citizen driven. Granted there are a few who feel the proposed "Freedom Amendment" could impede the City Council in levying taxes upon the citizens. In fact, quoting City Councilmember Erbrick - "such an amendment could result in numerous referendums being put up to vote every local election year and that could hamstring the city and its ability to collect revenue." Collect Revenue??? HmmmmmCollect Revenuecollect monies to spend to dig $30 million dollar holes, purchase $13 million dollars' worth of property that won't be used, concoct exorbitant contracts that exceed $8.5 million dollars (i.e. RO Plant - but will we ever know what the actual cost expenditures will be?), purchase a golf course for I don't know how many millions of dollars, purchase a $500,000 fuel monitoring package. We could list so many others.
Yes, citizen-driven and demanded through an election by the City of Cape Coral Citizens. A citizen of the City of Cape Coral has requested the City Council enact the amendment so they wouldn't require it to be on the November ballot. The City Council has not responded.
Right now there is a millstone tied around every City of Cape Coral citizen's neck and that is the non-responsive City Council. A City Council that wants to tax and spend, TAX and spend, tax and spend. Where are the cuts in spending? Don't we want citizen participation? Don't we want to show how our form of government operates starting at the local level?
OK, some of the council members don't like the manner in which the "Freedom Amendment is written. Have any of the City Council members requested that this citizen work with them to review and modify the amendment? That answer is a resolving "no"! They want no part of that amendment; it seems that our local government would rather "rule" the citizens of Cape Coral, rather than, collaborate and provide a collaborative environment to review and make changes for our City.
Yes, Councilmember Erbrick, if there isn't "citizen apathy," there could more than likely be a number of issues on the ballot for the City Council to consider after each Nov. 5. And it is this what makes our great system of government great - responsiveness to all the citizens, not just a select few.