Local Government Fails


At the Fort Myers Beach council meeting on the 21st, the budget they approved for the upcoming year allowed for an increase in ad valorum property tax revenues over this year’s (roll back rate) by about 15 %. The current year rolled-back rate is .7555 mils. The tentative operating millage rate is 15.16 % greater than the rolled-back rate. So the council imposed a higher mill levy of .87 over this year’s budget mill levy of .80, at the same time most property taxes increased in assessed value on the Island, giving income of $2,776,842, not counting other tax sources.

There is a newspaper article from March, 1995 hanging in the public nook at Town Hall in which local folks expressed concern that incorporating the Island would result in higher taxes than were being paid under County operation. Those folks appear to be vindicated by Council’s recent budget passage, which includes a new position for Finance Director receiving up to $75,000 a year whose job it will be to prepare the budget. That same newspaper article reports those in favor of incorporating Estero Island in 1995 promised to only have a “part time” city manager. Well, maybe this newest town manager is only working part time, because it is his responsibility under the Town’s charter (Sec. 11.02) to submit the budget to Council, not a “Finance Director”.  This is only one of several examples of how your local gov’t is failing to be “gov’t lite” as promised.

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Leon Moyer
Fort Myers Beach