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Library beats Dow Jones

March 28, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

What if your investment returned 11 times more than you expected? Want the name of the financial adviser?

How about the Beach Library? Three years ago, the Library Board approved $14,900 in expected income from interest on savings. The actual return was $165,000 or more than $150,000 expected! Was this an unexpected fluke? Not really since the Library had millions of dollars in CDs accumulated from years of surplus budgets. Over a five-year period, interest income exceeded the expected budget amount by more than $500,000. These are excess dollars that would not have had to been collected from taxes to balance the budget, but the Board needed to amass $9 million for a new building. Instead of correctly budgeting expected interest income and showing a building fund in the budget, the Library website told taxpayers funds for the new library were coming from "donations, savings and debt service [loans]."

Why the subterfuge? Surely some Board members questioned the budget process and requested more transparency... didn't they? Where are the independent Directors who will stand up for the taxpayer? In fact, there appears to be only one who will make an effort to buck the silent majority.

In the words of former Mayor Garr Reynolds speaking to the Town LPA, "'s impossible that seven people are going to agree 80 to 90 percent of the time. Where is your individualism?"

The Library needs more independent thinkers that will bring fresh ideas and a pledge of greater transparency. For the first time in many years, a contested election in November will provide you the opportunity to select candidates who are taxpayers with a business background and a desire for financial accountability. Take a look at Peter Reid and Jim Stevens. I think you'll like what you see.

Bob Miller

Fort Myers Beach



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