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Library Board candidate responds to two letters

September 26, 2012
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Mr. Carter apologies for his mistake being .016 low in his millage rate comparison but thought it was close enough. For the tax and spend mentality of the library and its friends, it certainly is close enough as it represents a paltry $47,200 of tax. He tells us that over the past 10 years the Beach Library tax has totaled 37 percent below the county. Let me try to help his muddled thinking here. Lee County has 14 libraries supported by tens of thousands of taxpayers so our total TAX would be much less than 37 percent of theirs. I assume he is referring to a comparison of average millage rates. If the figures in the Library's FAQ website regarding the expansion are to be believed then for the last 10 years, the County average is 0.56382 and our Beach average is 0.46578. So we are 21 percent lower, not 37 percent. This is a selective comparison. If we look at the last six years the County average is 0.35728 and ours is 0.5269 making us 47 percent higher!

I am a fanatic according to Mr. Carter, hurling the same false claims that the way the expansion was funded was misleading. Well I ask him to look at the incontrovertible evidence contained in the library's own audited budgets. I will limit myself to just four of the very many examples.

- 1. Obviously the library had to raise revenue for building. This should have been called a building or expansion fund. In the five years from 2007 to 2011, none of those three words appear in the budgets. Instead the building fund was called Debt Service Principal (this means paying off a loan) and was listed as expenditure but there was no loan to be serviced until 2011. This "expenditure" brought in $4,866,499 in those five years.

- 2. That income and previously "saved" cash of $3,227,000 generated considerable interest income from CDs, the total amounts of which could not difficult to calculate. However interest income was under stated in the budgets by $525,026 in five years.

- 3. Wages were overstated by $393,000.

- 4. Insurance was overstated by $272,599.

The huge surpluses thus generated in 2, 3 and 4 were conveniently available for building. I would ask everyone to please look at these facts for yourself, do not take the words of other people. Make sure you understand what the figures mean.

Mr Light, my first library card was around '97 or '98. Your question infers that only holders of library cards should have the right to be a library board candidate. The actual requirement is to live in the district and pay taxes to Lee County. That is also the definition of an owner of the Fort Myers Beach Library.

Finally, I have a question for Mr. Light. If you have to explain to us that your letter about hookers at the Republican Convention was satirical, should you give up trying to write satire?

Peter Reid

Fort Myers Beach



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