Some people in Estero are pushing again to become a city. They believe Lee County is not delivering the services and attention that are needed for the wealthy enclave in the southern part of the county. Others oppose the move as a wasted layer of government.
"The best government is the local, the closest government, so we know who is making decisions, instead of relying on strangers," said Mike Maloney, leader of a group called Vote Estero. He will ask Lee Commissioners to put a non-binding referendum on the November ballot.
"We could do so much better at lowering taxes and putting money into reserve. Lee Co. does not really give us the services that we pay for," said Maloney.
Bad timing for this idea," responded Don Eslick, a long-time activist in Estero and a member of the Estero Council of Community Leaders. "I question the budget assumptions they are making, especially at a time of dropping property values. Look at all the cities in our area, that have trouble balancing their budgets right now."
John Russell of Estero agrees. "Just another layer of government. We do not need it," Russell said. "Why fix something that is not broken?"
The process to become a city is complicated. First, commissioners must agree Tuesday to put the non-binding item on the ballot. If voters say yes, then the legislature must approve cityhood.
Then, the issue comes back to voters for a binding referendum. If they say yes, then a government could be formed. Estero would be the 6th city in Lee County.