Everyone wants to live in a nice neighborhood. Cape Coral
, a municipality located in Lee County, Florida, United States is faced with a problem on how it can improve its crumbling infrastructure and other operations. Mark Alexander of news-press.com says in his report that the majority of Cape Coral residents are now retirees.
They are living on fixed wages and any tax increase that will be imposed would makes it harder on the residents.
John Szerlag, Cape Coral City Manager met with local business people in the health care sector to ask their opinions on how they can improve the city. Those who attended the discussion are COO of Lee Memorial Health System, Lawrence Antonucci, MD; CAO of Cape Coral Hospital, Scott Kashman; Sandra McDonald of Pro-Med Instruments, Dr. Louis Scoma and other city staff, which includes Dan Burnett, Economic Development Director. The said discussion was held at the City Hall on Feb. 13.
According to Alexander, the meeting reached a conclusion and it was demonstrated in a simple analogy. He said in his report, if Cape Coral can keep up with the needed maintenance, even if it means a slight increase in taxes, it will maintain quality of life, which the residents will then benefit from. It can also attract investors and would lead to the city's positive growth in the future.
Another problem Cape Coral is experiencing is that the city is too big. When one small part needs improvement, those living in another part of the city may or may not agree to support the repairs because for one, it is not their neighborhood. When it comes to cleaning other people's problem, many are hesitant to help because their focus is on their own backyard.
Years ago, Fort Myers faced this similar geography problem when Mayor Bruce Grady was still in office. Dr. Robert Brueck led a group of property owners, who call themselves as “Central Fort Myers Property Owners Association.” They complain to Mayor Grady about the crumbling conditions in central Fort Myers, which is approximate to the Edison Mall.
To address the concern of this group of concerned citizens, the city sent ballots to all property owners, both residential and commercial within this Winkler District. The city asked them to vote. There are three choices available. First is to fix all things outlined by the Central Fort Myers Property Owners Association. The second option was to fix just half of all things outlined. The last choice was to do nothing. The result of the vote was the beginning for the creation of the TIFF or tax increment finance district.
The city of Cape Coral may want to think about implementing the same tax increment. It would be better to seek also the opinion of Cape Coral's property management officers and property owners just like what Fort Myers did.