The McKechnie Field scoreboard pushed me over the edge from frustrated to incredulous.
By all accounts Manatee County is in a “looming” financial crisis. Record-breaking tourism and massive development (endlessly touted as bringing millions/billions into our economy) have stressed our services (EMS, sheriff, medical, water/sewage, parks, etc.) and our infrastructure (crumbling, inadequate for ever-increasing traffic). Additionally, we are paying urban planners to tell us how to cram into “urban corridors” as many businesses and people as possible into as many high buildings as possible (increased density and intensity).
Many Florida communities are crippled in their abilities to deal with their problems due, in part, to over-regulation by Tallahassee, where tourism and development industries rule. Specific examples of lethal state meddling are: the Bert Harris Act, evaporation of home rule (especially with regard to short-term vacation rentals) and the limited discretionary spending powers of TDC’s — placing spending decisions into the hands of self-perpetuating bureaucrats.
Since no political entity representing the average Florida resident seems willing or able to change these regulations, we in Manatee County have been presented a choice: a sales tax surcharge (county and school board) or face higher property taxes. Either way, residents are paying for the very things that are destroying forever our community cultures, our right to rule ourselves and our fragile ecology.
Last week the Herald announced Tourist Development Council plans to give McKechnie Field $1 million for a new scoreboard. How reassuring, how helpful.
Nancy R. Deal