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NFM Civic Association: To Tax or not to tax?

By Staff | Oct 4, 2018

The next Civic Association meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 9. at 6:30.

And yes, I am positive.

The meeting will be devoted to discussion about the Lee County School District and the half-cent sales tax on the ballot. The speakers will be Dr. Greg Adkins, Superintendent, and Chris Patricca, School Board member. They will have a 45-minute presentation. There will also be a question-and-answer follow up.

Why the half-sales tax increase? The School Board is asking for the money to build new schools and for maintenance of existing schools. Not for raises, or office supplies (many teachers pay for them out of their own pocket), or travel, but to build new schools. Some facts to think about: Lee County School District is one of the fastest- growing school districts in Florida if not the country. The Board has said that it adds well over 1,000 students a year. The legislature reduced the property tax millage rate which effectively cut the School District’s budget by $200 million dollars (13 percent). The District’s rankings among Florida school districts has risen dramatically.

These are some of the facts the Board argues in support of the need for the half- cent tax which would generate $50 to $60 million a year. The proposal on the ballot would have a sunset provision in 10 years. That means the tax would automatically end.

There are other arguments for and against the tax. I just want you all to start thinking about the issue and not wait until you’re at the polls, in the booth, on Nov. 6. We all hate taxes, but we all support our schools. So please come, listen and ask questions. Everyone will come away with a better understanding of our District. Remember, the quality of the school district directly effects our property values. So, please come out on Oct. 9.

On to other things. We had a great Candidate Meet and Greet. Eight candidates were each given 10 minutes to talk about themselves, their platforms, and answer questions. And before the presentations there was a 45- minutes meet and greet with all the candidates. Each had a table and literature. Some had candy, pens, and chips. Thank you, Al Giacalone of the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, for organizing and Doug Dailey, our Civic Association President, for joining in the effort.

Don’t forget, you can always google the names of the candidates to find their websites and check out their backgrounds and policy positions. Some are detailed and thoughtful, others are just sound bites. You need to sift through them to make a choice.

The Civic Association Board had a special meeting regarding the Wiffel Ball Tournament. They discussed potential sponsors and interested teams. The Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 9 and 10. Please go to our website for more information, www.nfmcivic.com. It will be a lot of fun for players and spectators.

Doug Dailey never stops promoting the Association and North Fort Myers. He was asked this past week to represent the Civic Association by the Vandyke Mortgage Company and speak about the history and future of North Fort Myers for their web-based marketing series. Doug has been here 50 years! So, he has the knowledge. The presentation was taped and will be on YouTube, featured on their Facebook, and website as well. The videos reach upward of 10,000 viewers. We will see if the Civic Association can post the video on our website.

Attention, Tara Woods and all points north of the Shell Factory. We are moving forward getting the Lee Tran bus route extended 4 miles to service over 8,000 residents of several communities along Tamiami. Danny Ballard, our 1st Vice President, spoke with Lee Tran regarding the North and East Bus routes for NFM. Lee Tran will meet with their planners and let us know what can be done. We will continue our lobbying efforts.

One last item. Board member John Lightbody has sent a letter to Lee County Code Enforcement regarding the potholes at the Hancock Square Plaza. There will be follow up. Let’s see what transpires.

The Lee County Code Enforcement web site list items subject to code enforcement are items not subject to code enforcement. Sadly, potholes are nowhere to be found. Not under either list. They are in no man’s land.

Hopefully we can stretch the “zoning” and “building maintenance” requirements to cover potholes. Stay tuned and keep at it, John!

So, as I said to begin, Tuesday Oct. 9 at 6:30. Same place. 2000 N. Recreation Way, the North Fort Myers Recreation Center. Coming to our meetings you can’t help but see the new library going up. Monthly progress is fantastic. It is worth coming just for the chance to watch it go up.