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Preserve paradise

July 6, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

My name is Bill Taylor. I am running for Lee County Commissioner for District 2 focusing on issues that are important to you.

First, clean drinking water. Southeast Lee County where we get the majority of our clean drinking water is being decimated by helter-skelter growth.

Mining companies are now lining up to consume and destroy these sensitive areas. Studies have shown that mine expansion is not needed until 2038. It is not necessary to add thousands of dangerous dump truck trips onto our already crowded roads. Lehigh and Gateway residents who are getting a newly expanded State Road 82 do not need the traffic hazards these mines will add.

Protections and density limits must be enforced before we destroy our most valuable clean water resource. It is better policy to manage growth now than attempt to fix the damage later. Our future environment and quality of life depend on the decisions we make today.

I'm not against growth as long as it is done responsibly and intelligently. It is incumbent on us to preserve our vital resources! Let's make a sensible plan for land use and development not only in our crucial water resource area, but throughout the entire County.

Second, The Conservation 20/20 land acquisition fund that 84 percent of voters reapproved in 2016.

Millions of dollars had been diverted from Conservation 20/20 into the County's General Fund. The commission voted to take the County's original 0.5 millage tax rate for 20/20 and shift it into the General Fund back in 2013. Since that time not one penny of your tax dollars has been added to the acquisition fund. Not one penny. They raised your taxes without telling you and stopped funding land acquisitions from Conservation 20/20.

The 0.5 millage rate originally designated for the 20/20 fund would have brought in $30 million dollars a year from 2013 to today. That is over $150 million dollars that has been taken from Conservation 20/20.

Lastly, every five years the county is required to hire experts to report that impact fees are in line with the public infrastructure costs associated with development. The commission decided to ignore the information provided by the experts. Lee County now charges only 45 percent of the allowable rate for impact fees for education, parks and roads. Just 45 percent for education! Is it any wonder the Lee County School Board is begging voters to approve a half-cent sales tax? Forty-five percent of the allowable rate will NOT address our clogged road system and crowded underfunded schools. Maybe you won't have to sit in traffic so long if we fund infrastructure properly?

It is being argued that raising impact fees to the allowable rate will keep middle- and low-income families from building new homes. Not if we create an impact fee deferral program for new single family building permits and for workforce housing. This voluntary program would allow fees to be deferred so that families can purchase their home without a large upfront fee and provide them with their well-deserved slice of the American dream.

I grew up here, in paradise. I love it here and I'm frustrated that the people who are supposed to be representing us aren't doing everything they can to preserve and maintain the place where we live, work, and play.

Please vote in November.

Bill Taylor

candidate for Lee County Commission, District 2



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