The beach and other issues

Guest Columnist

For the past six years,we all have observed an entirely different mind set from your elected officials.

This is not a unique development, the real estate crash upset a lot of minds and chaanged some accepted presumptions. Think of theTea Party as an example.

Although Longboat Key was never really caught up in the major asset demolition derby, it did result in a complete turnover in attitudes in the local electorate.

Things that were taken for granted, (the town was a retired residential community with enough commercial activity to satisfy the needs of the residents), were thrown aside and you were led to believe that a renewed tourist and commercial rebirth would lead you out of the wilderness into the  promised land of higher housing prices.

As long as this bias was confined to planning for projects that would never happen, it was relatively harmless. Any sensible observer knew that the Loeb organization was never going to build a 450 million dollar enterprise, the Hilton is not going to rebuild and add 100 rooms, the mom and pop tourist cabins are not going to remake themselves into luxury inns and the Whitney Beach Shopping Center is never going to be a thriving market place.

However, in the last year, the commissioners still caught up in this commercial phantasy are starting to do things that would really hurt the Town.

I wrote earlier about the situation in the Fire Department and it’s obligation to provide emergency services. Without the enticement of higher compensation, we had a fifty percent turnover every year. Older people moved off of the island because they felt they needed to be closer to the hospital. That was all changed and at one time Longboat Key had arguably the best emergency health services in the entire state. With the new pay package, that will all change back.

Now, the new attitude is working against the premier attraction of the Island, the beach.

In their desire to demonstrate how resourceful they were, they fired all of the people who remembered the past errors so they could repeat them without anyone calling attention to the history that created the rebirth of the beach in the first place.

After more meetings and more shouting that I heard in my previous lifetime,  the Town Commission finally banged out the compromise that has held the Town together for more than twenty years. Separate taxing districts.

The Districts were created to spread the cost over a period of years, not just when the money was needed. By letting collections cease, they have now endangered the entire project and recreated a political dialogue that was fought over and decided more than five years ago.

It is very simple, if you live on the beach you pay 3/4’s of the cost to maintain it and if you don’t, you pay one quarter and All commercial properties pay the full boat.

Believe me, this was the Missouri Compromise squared and these commissioners who want to show off by showing how they can lower your taxes are tearing at this decision by not living up to the funding obligation If this policy isn’t turned around at once, the funding controversy will resurface and the entire beach will come into question.

Without the beach as you know it, the crash in local real estate values will make the past history not a crash but a blip. Pay now or pay later.

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4 Responses for “The beach and other issues”

  1. z says:

    I am a new resident. what attracted me was the ambience and security of the island. the current administration appears to be undermining both of these features to the benefit of greedy interests.

  2. Georgie McFarland says:

    Why does Mr. Green put his two cents in this newspaper? Can’t he find something to blabber about in State College, Pa where he lives?

  3. Willian Kary says:

    Mr. Green does not even live here. A voice? Why? He never made any sense when he did…

  4. Ghostrider says:

    Your replenishment program will be having people paying now AND paying later.

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