Thursday, October 28, 2021

Letter to the Editor



Larry Honig Running for Re-election Announcement

I’m running for re-election on a positive platform to bring back a sense of community on Marco Island through a less intrusive, more respectful government. Here’s what I want to accomplish:

1. Get back local control of our community. We need fewer government regulations. We should reduce our use of consultants and lawyers who don’t understand our community – there are plenty of good people right here in Collier County that we can use. We can streamline government services – for example, I’d like to see faster review and approval of permits.

2. Create a parking solution for the Island. We should re-think enforcement of overnight parking restrictions. Working families deserve relief from unfriendly rules. As for parking hot spots, we can work with businesses to resolve them – it’s the perfect place for public-private partnership. And let’s hold the city to the same rules citizens have to follow. There are clearly double standards – for example the city’s “no parking” signs are covered up for some selected events, but not for other special events elsewhere on the Island. If we want to encourage special events, we shouldn’t be handing out parking tickets to those who attend.

3. Get the water-sewer utility in better balance. We must implement a plan to reduce utility rates and debt (which go hand in hand). Our utility debt per household is among the highest in Florida, as are our rates. I want to stop using expensive consultants to do endless rate reviews – all of which in the past called for increased single-family home rates. We don’t need a rate review. We need a professional review of the utility’s efficiency. The utility budget dwarfs the rest of the city government budget, but it hasn’t been studied by experts for years. And let’s look at creative options. Maybe we should sell the utility. Maybe we should buy water from the county. We need to examine alternatives – openly, with open minds.

4. Build a strong relationship with Collier County. Right now, the relationship is tense and unproductive. It doesn’t have to be that way. The county commissioners can help us immensely. We deserve our share of county funds. We need to get our ambulance certificate – and then work hard with the county so that we don’t have to use it. The county should continue to provide and fund our ambulance service, including more service if we need it, because we will pay for it through our county taxes anyway. And we ought to turn Goodland Road over to the county. It’s a huge headache, we’re letting down the citizens of Goodland, and it will cost us a lot of money to fix this road 5 miles outside the city’s boundaries.

5. Install a collegial city council. We need to make it so that people want to run for council. We can start by making sure the community can discuss important matters in a timely, relevant way in city council meetings. We should bring key actions to the forefront for discussion, rather than keeping them buried inside city staff reports. Council needs to toss out its overly complicated rules of procedure that stifle discussion, discourage action, and often silence minority opinion.

6. Support a well-trained, empowered city staff. We could benefit from focusing on priorities such as the cleanliness of our beaches and the protection of our environment. I’d like to see more frequent updates of our progress against the budget. Finally, city staff should be empowered to act within city code. Too many routine items are brought to city council, which wastes time, frustrates citizens and demeans the staff.

I ask your support in helping to restore the Marco Island paradise that led so many of us to move here.

Larry Honig

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