To the editor,
Including reserves, Sanibel's 2012 proposed budget is $50.2 million, an extraordinary sum which on a per capita basis is higher than New York City's budget. Sanibel's debt is $44.8 million.
One non-essential project is debris removal from the Sanibel River. A former council member has been paid $500,000 since 2004 under a no-bid contract to perform this task. While debris removal was necessary in 2004 after Hurricane Charley, the river did just fine on its own prior to this storm.
Excepting the sewer system, Sanibel's largest debt is $7.5 million for the new Recreation Center. The old Rec Center was dilapidated, but could have been replaced at a significantly lower cost. While Lee County and Schools funded a small portion of this project, Sanibel's total cost will be $14.8 million in bond principal and interest. The bonds will be retired in 2036.
I urge council to eliminate non-essential projects and tap its millions in reserve funds to extinguish this debt. Lower millage rates would result.