To the Editor:
The opinion survey distributed by GIBA asking for a preferred split between taxes and tolls to finance the bridge replacement reflects the bias of a board which favors taxation. Voters who believe that users of the bridge should pay for the bridge based solely on their usage had to say NO to both the .30 and .55 mil options. There was no line to indicate the respondent’s preference for a zero mil tax increase, even though that is an option discussed in GIBA’s accompanying letter and chart. Hopefully in November the ballot can be made clearer.
The argument that homeowners should pay more in property taxes to subsidize others’ bridge tolls simply ignores reality. Every property owner who employs service personnel, hires contractors, shops and dines locally, frequents the local watering holes, or partakes of any of the many goods and services that island businesses and organizations offer, is already subsidizing their bridge tolls and will be subsidizing their increased toll costs through higher prices in the future.
We’ll all pay, every time we pass through the toll booth, and every time we pay elevated prices for island goods and services. That’s only fair - the consumer should pay the cost of what he consumes. Both merchants and consumers can agree on this. But that applies to all consumers.
To those who extol the benefit to us of subsidizing “affordable” casual bridge traffic, I say, “Really?”
The relaxed, laid-back ambience of Boca Grande is what has set it apart from most Florida communities and made building and living here desirable. Voters who don’t see that underwriting increased traffic volume is a problem in the making might want to take a closer look at St. Armand’s Circle, or Fort Myers Beach, or Manasota Beach, or Sanibel. Has anyone heard a convincing argument that a steadier stream of vehicles crossing the bridge will add to property values or enhance anything that prompted us to buy or build here in the first place?
I’d rather take my chances on appreciation fueled by the preservation of what has made Boca Grande special. If that happens, of course, homeowners may all pay more ad valorem taxes, but at least for an acceptable reason.Robert YoungBoca Grande
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