There are many reasons to vote against annexation. Here are a few:
- It doesn’t pass the smell test. Why has Bonita Springs paid WCI $1.2 million already and another $500,000 upon a successful annexation vote, as the Mayor said among “other considerations” (i.e. backroom deals on future development?)? While these payments are in the form of credits against future impact fees, they are as good as cash to an active developer such as WCI, and according to news reports these credits are transferable. The Mayor recently downplayed these payments to WCI as merely being impact fees, but impact fees are paid by a developer, not to a developer!
- Bonita is also taking over WCI liabilities (responsibilities for maintaining the two older roads that Bonita “bought” from WCI) and paying the $1.7 million for the privilege. This seems like reverse logic.
- Bonita harps on the benefits of having one community, a greater voice in Bonita affairs, avoiding split neighborhoods, etc. These arguments are wholly made up by Bonita. There is really no significant impact, and probably a benefit in having Pelican Landing split into, and being able to seek assistance from, two cities, not just one. In fact there has been no real impact in 14 years and most residents weren’t even aware of this “issue” until this annexation move by Bonita Springs arose.
- There is no real adverse tax consequence and perhaps a minor tax benefit to becoming part of a future Village of Estero, despite all the junk mail emanating from Bonita. When Bonita became a city it used the argument: that a city government would be more efficient than county government. But in addition to the WCI payment, Bonita has spent a fortune on mailers and other expenses in support of annexation. And the Mayor claims to run an efficient administration, spending the taxpayers’ money wisely?
- PLCA, WCI and Bonita Springs are in an alliance, leaving the little guys – the taxpayers – to fend for themselves. Does anyone think that Bonita will be our friend if our board oversteps its power, whether in policing Pelican Landing, or otherwise, or if WCI files for new development approvals or revisions of existing agreements? The taxpayers need a counterbalance to the “Triple Alliance” of Bonita, PLCA and WCI. Hopefully Estero can help perform that function.
- The PLCA Board of Directors has met at least twice (once last year to “authorize” the annexation vote and once this year to authorize its consent to the annexation), without any notice or meeting of the members, to take action promoting annexation. Why is it promoting annexation so aggressively? Fear of oversight by an incorporated Estero?
- In addition to overpaying WCI for the decaying marina (taking title to a cash-draining WCI liability and paying $700,000 for the privilege), PLCA consented to the transfer of WCI development rights that WCI wasn’t ever going to use in the Colony to WCI property north of Corkscrew. WCI has already voluntarily joined its 130 acres referred to as “conservation lands” to Bonita, but WCI has hundreds of acres that it can still develop, not to mention seeking new approvals on the 130 acres. Will WCI be able to join all the other acreage to Bonita if the annexation fails? Estero is the only hope for some citizen control over future WCI development.