Candidate Guest Opinion

44

Larry Kiker
Incumbent for Lee County Commission
District 3

It has been my privilege to serve as Lee County Commissioner for the past four years. If you recall I served on the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council. Five of those six years as Mayor.

In my time as Mayor we had a balanced budget and built our reserves for major projects throughout the Great Recession without raising taxes or increasing fees.

However, during that same time span in Lee County construction was at a standstill, the tourism industry was in decline and unemployment was on the rise. The county was spending more money than they had with no investment in our infrastructure. The needs of Fort Myers Beach were largely ignored.

Instead Lee County was spending millions of dollars on companies like VR Labs, Algenol and on building baseball stadiums for multi-billion dollar sports organizations. All the while thrusting the county deeper into debt.

That all changed in 2012. Since then, not only have we stopped overspending, Lee County has had a balanced budget for the last 3 years. We have just invested over $170 million for infrastructure projects including, at long last, the complete re-do of Estero Boulevard. We reduced our debt by $167 million and provided additional resources for the Sheriff’s Department as a commitment to public safety.

When I campaigned I promised that the 2020 program, which failed to go to a scheduled 7-year referendum, would go back before the voters. You will have a chance to vote to continue that program with enhancements to strategically target water quality projects.

Over the past 10 years I have been to Washington and Tallahassee numerous times to address water quality issues that affect our area as well as contest the FEMA flood insurance that is traumatic to our residents and businesses.

There are major developments being planned all over Lee County including FMB downtown area and San Carlos Island. I have introduced a different business model concept to look at the accumulative pressure that may bring to our environment, transportation, industry, etc. They all affect the quality of life to those communities.

I ask that you consider my 10 years of results and be careful of those that have never been engaged that suddenly appear claiming they have all the solutions. With so many important projects and quality of life issues going forward, I ask for your continued support so we can finish what we started.

 

Larry Kiker
District 3 Lee County Commissioner