say they need more information before forming opinion
concerning the proposed sewer system.
Public debate is getting out of
control over Marco’s proposed sewer project. Residents
are wary whether officials are making the right decision for
There have been several surveys
conducted over the years showing that the majority of
residents favored an island wide sewer system, it seems many
people have withdrawn their approval and now are either
against the project or just don’t know what to think.
Many appear to be confused and
started over the big price tag of $20,000 and would like to
see the cost absorbed by the City.
I don’t think there’s enough
information presented yet to decide if it’s necessary,”
said Ronald Groenke, a resident of the Tigertail district who
opposes the project. “They kind of decided on their own and
are trying to sell it.”
“It’s not a topic that you can
get people all excited about,” said Dan Reiley, a part-time
resident in favor of the project. “Nobody is happy about
paying for (the sewer) ... but the cost is going to increase
each year that it’s postponed.”
For many, the price tag to connect to
the sewer keeps them from supporting the project.
“I could support the issue better
if the cost were less,” Groenke said.
Ralph Wahl, a resident of the
Copperfield district, said the city should cover the cost.
“It’s extremely expensive,” he
said. “If they’re going to do this sewer project, they
should pay for it out of taxes because it will belong to them,
Generally, people just want more
information. Some contend they don’t know enough about the
issue to make a fair judgment and think the city could have
done a better job of informing people.
“I guess I really don’t know too
much about it, but my opinion would be that generally sewers
are better,” said Jim Halbert, a part-time resident in the
Tigertail district. However, “the city hasn’t done such a
hot job” of communicating with residents about the project,
“I’m not totally against it,”
said Eugene Stillwell, another resident of the Tigertail
district. “And the reason is that I don’t think all of the
facts have been brought out on all sides.”
The local political action committee
that opposes the project, Citizens Advocating Responsible
Environmental Solutions (CARES), has highlighted many of the
questions residents have, such as the difference in quality
between septic tanks and sewers. The group maintains that
well-maintained septic tanks are a better option than a sewer
“I think they have some very valid
points,” said Walter Jaskiewicz of the South Barfield
district, referring to CARES. “I would like to see more
information about how septic tanks can remain and be very
workable. ... The city has a very good representation of what
sewers can provide, but it’s very hard for a citizen to
explain the value of septic tanks (at a City Council
City Manager Bill Moss acknowledges
that officials may not have done the best job of informing
residents about the project.
“We were behind the curve in public
education,” he said Dec. 20, saying city staff realized
there was a problem in August during a public hearing
scheduled for residents of the Tigertail and South Barfield
“Most of the people at the hearing
weren’t from those districts,” Moss said later. “Up
until that point we were communicating only with people who
were immediately affected.”
Now the city has initiated an effort
to release more information to residents about the project. In
addition to participating in a public forum with CARES this
month, the city will distribute fliers and brochures in the
coming weeks that will explain the program, the construction
schedule and why the city chose sewers over septic tanks.
Regardless of their opinion of the
project, many residents agree that sewers will have to be
"It appears to me that it is
something that has to be done for the good of the environment
and water quality of Marco Island. I have spoken to my
neighbors and they all agree that it should be done, and a
taxing district set up to cover the costs over a 10 year
period." said Tom Power.
“In the very, very long run, it
will probably be a good thing for the island,” Stillwell
Another resident present said that the whole thing stinks and
should just be left alone, the water quality is fine.
This person who wished to be anonomus said that perhaps the
hook up should be paid for or completed when a house is
built,or, if a tear down or addition is add.