Library Solar Project Irresponsible

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Fort Myers Beach Library Director Dr Hommerding’s irresponsibility surfaces again. Five years ago it was spending almost $9,000,000 to more than double the size of the library, hiding funds for years to do so under “Debt Service”. Our library was already double the size considered “exemplary” to serve a population our size. And he and the Library Board refused to take a time out requested by hundreds of petitioners to determine if the voters in this independent taxing district wanted to spend that huge sum of money in effect to build what many believe to be a social club and monument to Dr. Hommerding.

per your paper this time it’s a proposal to spend $744,000 for solar panels. Stated electricity savings are $30,000 per year, Wow, a 24 year payout! Any manager of a for profit company making such an optional investment proposal with such a long payout would be fired on the spot. And even $30,000 savings are way overstated when maintenance costs and replacement reserves are properly budgeted in. Per websites I just visited the average life of panels is 20 to 25 years; they also lose output with time. So it’s possible annual budget costs for reserves and maintenance would actually exceed the estimated annual electric costs savings, so we could have not only have needlessly spent  $744,000 but also increased the FMB Library annual budgets as well.

FYI I’ve emailed this letter to the Library Board directors and Dr Hommerding. Maybe with this input they’ll can this project. If not I’ll consider their action gross fiscal incompetence and follow-up as appropriate.

Paul Martin
Fort Myers Beach