Debt Comments Wrong


I am responding to an assertion made by Mr. Mike Baker in a letter, “Charter Questions” published Feb 26 in the Sand Paper. Mr. Baker stated that the “Debt Management Policy passed allowing the City to go as much as $28.8 Million further in debt WITHOUT voter referendum.” Mr. Baker is referring to Article 16 of the Debt Management Policy. This article sets a debt limitation on General Obligation Bonds at 1.0% of the value of taxable property in Fort Myers Beach.

As the taxable value of property of the Town is $2.88 billion the limitation is set at $28.8 million. This a limit. It is not an authorization to spend. General Obligation Bonds are financed by the taxation on property.

Under Florida Statutes, General Obligation Bond financing MUST go to voter referendum. Mr. Baker is just plain wrong.

Mr. Baker has also gone wild with a further assertion that the “New Debt Management Policy gives the CITY complete freedom to run our City debt to unlimited levels.” The Debt Management Policy, which I drafted, sets the policies on the mechanics of debt financing based on Florida Statutes. There is no such reference to unlimited spending. Again, Mr. Baker, is just plain wrong.

James A. Rodwell

Fort Myers Beach