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Why rush a referendum?

January 25, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Do we still have an active Town Council? They are seldom heard on issues! With the town manager seemingly in control, maybe TC Members aren't needed. Am I kidding? Should I be? Maybe just making a point as to why residents are left in the dark regarding the upcoming request for a referendum.

The town manager's article gave little to no information about the needs for a referendum that he is asking residents to approve on Jan. 31. All $7 million dollars worth. Election is just 3 weeks after this issue first appeared in the local news, Jan. 11! WHY THE BIG RUSH? Give the people a chance to think!

Several questions occurred during my reading of this introductory article - only to have the answers to occur on a different page supplied by the FMB Civic Association Board of Directors and their president! AND, after reading that article, did any of you understand the manager's case as presented? Little time and effort was obviously spent in preparing explanations of why, where, when, or how that large amount of money is needed. (Yes. I know, a Town Hall). Why not ask the taxpayers for $10 million or even $12 or maybe just $3 million? Either way, taxes will increase considerably. Besides, the Town Charter states that 3-years maximum for loans, not 30 years as will likely be the probability. That is why folks, they need you, the taxpayer. Maybe Town Hall thinks that you are not listening!

I would like to say that this is an ill-conceived plan, except for one fact: 'No Plan was presented.' The request is unacceptable. Maybe the residents will - JUST SAY "NO."

One other quick note: Why haven't the Residents been asked to vote approval of 'Whisky on the Beach' Issue? Why do Council members want the sandy white public beaches along our town to be legalized so that all bars can serve all types of alcohol - whisky mixed choices, beer choices, and foods on the front sandy beach of these bars and saloons? That effort is in full swing by LPA (voted 5/1), the town manager (100%), town staff (100%), and members of Town Council (appears a high-count).

Members of Council, legalizing serving of Alcohol on the Beach, has nothing to do with property ownership. ZONING IS THE ISSUE. That property is not zoned for extended serving alcohol onto the sandy beach!! (period).

Unless you, the residents, come to Council and speak up, you may be embarrassed to walk along the Beach with your children, grandchildren, your older youth and your visitors. Make a real effort to attend every Council meeting during the next 2-3 months or until the issue is dropped. Let your concerns be heard. Keep the family concept in our community. Keep the serving of alcohol inside the Licensed Bars. Thank you.

Garr Reynolds

Fort Myers Beach

(Reynolds is a long-term resident (22-years), former Councilman, Vice Mayor, and Mayor of the Town of Fort Myers Beach.)



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