Consider Charter Amendments Carefully

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I would propose an alternate point of view to the “Vote No To Changes” letter. (Island Sand Paper, February 12, 2016) I attended a meeting of the Condo Association of Fort Myers Beach a couple of months ago when Mayor Cereceda addressed questions relating to the 21 proposed charter amendments. She stated at the outset that she was there not to advocate approvals, but only to explain the intent of each proposed amendment and answer questions. The following is what I took away from that meeting.

Extended term of office – bringing our town elections in line with county, state and federal elections is a money saving tactic. We are currently imposing upon the residents of FMB unnecessary costs by having elections that do not coincide with those other elections.

Removing long term financing limitations – limiting our council to 3 year agreements only ties their hands from gaining more favorable terms and costs on contracts that are known to be needed long term.

Eliminating term limits – Let’s talk about proficiency of our elected officials first. We all know that there is a learning curve in any profession. The more difficult/complicated the position, the higher the learning curve. Do we really want to lose a candidate who may be at the top of that curve? Do you as a voter want to have your choice taken away because of an arbitrary pre-imposed limitation?

Lowering the requirement for resident initiatives – lowering the percentage from 25% to 15% is very reasonable. If we can only get 25% of our beach residents to vote, how could we ever get a good idea off the ground trying to get a 25% initiative?

After reviewing the proposed amendments, it’s obvious that the volunteers on the charter review committee placed a great deal of time, effort and thought into these proposals. Many are simply clarifications, but some, including those questioned by Ms. Cooke, require careful consideration. I’m a “yes” on all but 2 and “on-the-fencepost” on those 2, so I’m looking forward to more opinions that perhaps may sway me.

Mike Martin

Fort Myers Beach