LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- Some people in Lehigh Acres are lobbying to get about $100,000 from Lee County government, to conduct two studies. The Lehigh Economic Development Board says it needs the taxpayer dollars.
"One study would document that Lee County has not given Lehigh its fair share of public money over the decades. The other would map out a future with more retail and commercial development for Lehigh," said Michael Swords, head of the economic board.
"We lag 20 to 25 years behind the rest of the county. I hate to say that is intentional, but when you look at the cut of tax dollars and economic development over the years, there is no other way to desribe it," said Swords.
"They have treated us like, ah treated us very, very poorly," said Lehigh resident Patrick Bobb. "I am fed up with the entire situation," he added.
WINK News asked: why would commissioners give the group money, to prove that commissioners are guilty of short-changing Lehigh?
Swords answered with a warning to those who oppose Lehigh and its requests. "Those who oppose us will face the voters, some as soon as next year, and those commissioners may find some upsets at the polls," said Swords.
Some taxpayers don't like the requests. "There's got to be a better use for that money," said James Riley, who lives in Lehigh. "How about helping poor people?", he asked.
Star Lauer told WINK: "Help the homeless with that money. Don't spend it on a study."
Lee Commission Chair Frank Mann believes the Lehigh group has a point. "They have not gotten their fair share. I support their efforts, we have to do more to get economic development and jobs there," he said.
Commissioners likely will get to vote on the money request, sometime this fall.