While most of us are going to primarily focus on the major races this election cycle, the vote for the next Marco Island City Council is just as important to your personal interests and wallets.
Of the nine candidates running for the four open seats, three have openly expressed a bias against the “Condo Owners” of Marco Island.
Larry Sacher was the founding Chairman of the Marco Island Homeowners Association, now called the Marco Island Property Owners Association, which is now trying to appeal to a broader group of citizens beyond the single-family homeowner. In their founding document which describes why they are starting their group, he says “A number of people have felt that the master-metered condo interests are overtaking those of the single-family homeowners”. He then goes on to say “Our Members could individually choose to support candidates who might be more inclined to wish to protect the interests of single-family homeowners rather than some of the existing Council who demonstrate a greater emphasis on behalf of Condos”, etc.
His obvious motivation in starting the group was to set himself up to run for Council and represent the interests of the single-family homeowner vs. what he describes as the “Condos and Business Interests” who he believes have controlled Marco Island. This logic manifested itself in the STRP (Septic Tank Replacement) program and continues today through the latest independent water/sewer study that proposed unbiased cost based rates equitable to all Marco Island users. If elected Mr. Sacher would work to have the condos pay more and the single-family homeowners pay less, which he believes is “fair” even though there is no independent study to justify his claims.
Honecker and Petricca come from the same background. Both were influential members of the City’s Utility Advisory Board with Honecker as Chair and Petricca as Vice-Chair. Their recommendation to Council was for a 20% reduction in single-family water/sewer rates with a 12% increase for Condos. Because their work only included the sewer side of the issue and was so obviously biased, the City Council was forced to spend $100,000 on an independent study of both sewer and water rates.
The independent consultant’s final report adopted by Council called for an approximate 9% increase for single-family homes with much smaller increases for master metered condos and for individually metered condos a decrease. The consultant’s report was complete, unbiased and fair to all classes of users on Marco. If Honecker and Petricca are elected they, with Sacher’s support, will move to rescind the consultant’s report and go back to their original recommendation favoring the single-family homeowner. You should know that a new Council can change the utility rates scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year, and reuse water rates could double for those properties that use it.
One other interesting point relating to Honecker and Petricca. They don’t like the independent consultant’s report because in their words it is biased against the low volume single-family homeowner. They want the rates redistributed so higher volume users pay a higher rate and the low volume users pay less.
Guess What? Both Honecker and Petricca are low volume users of water, 2-3000 gals per month. Do you want people on your City Council who represent their own personal interests above those of all of our citizens?
So who to vote for? Of all the candidates running, Gibson, Honig, Meyer and Recker will represent all of the citizens of Marco Island. No one can promise you they will vote the way you wish. But what can be promised is a group of individuals who will listen, analyze, and vote in the best interests of all the citizens of Marco regardless of where they live.
So it boils down to asking our citizens to be sure to vote and elect those individuals who will be fair, not those who only want to get even.
If you’re not on Marco, Absentee Ballots will start arriving in a few days, vote quickly and mail it back before you forget. To get an absentee ballot, call 239-252-8450. It’s an important election for all of us.