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Sanibel in a financial crisis? Not true!

By Staff | Feb 26, 2009

I was aghast at reading the COTI ads in the Island Sun claiming that the city was in financial crisis. It just isn’t so. I sit on council with Mayor Denham, Vice Mayor Ruane and Councilmen Jennings and Pappas, and we all know that Sanibel is financially sound.

If you want to verify that statement, just go to the city Web site (www.mysanibel.com) and read the recent letter from City Manager Judy Zimomra, where she reports the City of Sanibel’s First Quarter Financial status for this fiscal year. As a matter of fact, all other governmental units, including the Lee County School system, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach and the County Commissioners wish that they were in as good financial shape as Sanibel, especially during this current worldwide recession.

Why then would a local political action group -COTI – who are backing two of their former executive directors David Burger and David Bath claim we are in a financial crisis?

Some have said that they are mean-spirited and wish to create fear in order to elect their handpicked candidates for City Council. As we all know, fear and innuendo have been used as political ploys in the past. Actually, I think that they are just uninformed and inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the current situations, fiscal and otherwise.

Our present City Council is comprised mainly of people who understand business and what proper fiscal management entails. In these turbulent economic times, we need seasoned professionals to keep us on sound financial ground. I can assure you that this council has the talent, training and knowledge to weather any financial storms that may come our way. Just look at the results of our first quarter of this year. Believe me – our beloved Sanibel is in a very strong financial condition right now, and for the future.

Sanibel is a big business, highly regulated by the state. As other businesses, it needs a good product, good management, good employees, good customers and good information in order to thrive and be successful. Sanibel has all of those qualities. Sanibel itself is a great product, in a great location, known all over the world. Sanibel has an experienced, effective and successful City Council. It has an outstanding, knowledgeable and effective City Manager and staff of employees. Sanibel follows the regulations of the state, and good business practices, and ensures that the city – even today – is fiscally sound by any and all standards. For example, Sanibel’s city payroll is within 1.5 percent of the national average for wages and benefits.

Even if the economy declines and we all hope that isn’t the case, the future of Sanibel is safe and well protected, unless inexperience is added to the mix and undoes all the good work that council, city management and an involved citizenry have accomplished.

No matter what anyone says about returning to “the good old days” when things were simpler, we live in a world that is constantly changing, and our job as citizens of Sanibel is to all protect the future of Sanibel as a unique city of people who have chosen to live in harmony with nature and our environment, and with one another. With over $13,000,000.00 in reserves, more income than expenses due to council’s fiscal restraint, our Sanibel is well positioned to weather this national economic storm.

Friends, do not let fear, innuendo and inaccurate generalizations influence your vote on March 3. It’s time to speak the truth. Sanibel is in better financial shape than all other cities I have checked, so let’s keep it that way for all our sakes.