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Editorial 635

Missy Layfield - Editor

Stay Involved

As many of our seasonal residents pack up and head north, our island’s issues and challenges will remain. Whether it’s Estero Boulevard or noise issues or water rates – while it is tempting to think that life pauses here while seasonal residents are away, it does not. The issues and full time residents are here year round.

There are those who complain whenever a hot topic is brought up at any time other than January through March. But our Town exists 12 months of the year and deserves 12 months worth of effort and input, not just three.

Just as the issues in many of our resident’s northern hometowns continue while they are here for several months, our issues continue while our seasonal residents are absent.We wonder if any northern towns ever have residents who complain that their northern town’s government holds meetings and makes decisions during the winter when they are in Fort Myers Beach. We suspect any effort to demand that local government there put critical discussions on hold until summer when they return would be met with laughter.

Yet it happens here fairly regularly. I can assure our readers that the Sand Paper’s staff attends more local government meetings than anyone and we’ve never seen any effort, subtle or otherwise, to manipulate an issue so that a public hearing or discussion occurs during the off-season in order to limit public input.

So, life goes on here on the Beach year round – and that includes government. The Town, Library and Fire District all continue to meet on a regular basis. All of them welcome public comments.

It is easier than ever to stay tuned into what is happening on Fort Myers Beach.The Town has a website and posts not only the agendas of upcoming meetings, but provides links to background information on agenda topics that can be downloaded. There’s no reason to not be informed of what’s happening in Town government whether you are just down the boulevard or a thousand miles away.

Another way to stay informed on Island issues is via a Sand Paper subscription.We write about government meetings year round. The Sand Paper is available via mailed paper subscription or via online subscription. Use us to keep in touch with Island events year-round.

Want to share your opinion with local officials? They’ll welcome your input. Our community has a tradition of being open to all opinions, whether they come from a 40-year resident homeowner or a first time visitor. All voices are welcome here. You can share your opinion with Town Council members or our Town Manager via phone, mail, fax or email. All those contacts are available with a single phone call to Town Hall 239-765-0202 or on their website.

Town Hall is not the only local government that welcomes your input. The Fort Myers Beach Library and Fire Control District also offer online access to agendas, budgets and contact information for board members.

Your voice is important. We want you to be a part of our community. Let our elected officials know what you think whether it’s during a Public Comment session at a local meeting or an email sent to board members.

Whether you choose to participate in local government or not, please realize that the decision-making goes on whether you add your voice to the conversation or not. And it certainly will not pause until you return from your northern home.

Whether it’s a six-week trip to visit friends in the summer or a six-month stay at a northern home-many Islanders do not reside on Fort Myers Beach 365 days of the year. This is the type of community we have. But that kind of transience comes with the responsibility to stay informed of what’s happening in your absence. Or acceptance that things will change in your absence – which is OK with many visitors.

But some will complain if anything is brought up in the off-season, which can be defined as April-December or June-October or anything in between.

So, here’s your fair warning. Important topics will come up. They’ll be debated and discussed. The public will offer their opinions. Decisions will be made. If you want to be part of the discussion, you are most welcome, but it’s on you to get involved. Our community will not be putting every important topic on hold for the next 6-9 months.

We are moving forward, come with us!

Missy Layfield­­