COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A regional planning group that is funded by taxpayers and grants, could become obsolete. Even members of the group are suggesting it might be wise to abolish the SW Florida Regional Planning Council, and start anew.
"I think the group needs to re-focus, and then really prove to members and taxpayers that it is worth the money," said Collier County Commissioner Jim Coletta, who suggested abolishing the group and starting up again with a new mission.
"I agree that it might be a good idea. I believe we need to get a handle on the financial issues and get a fresh start, otherwise there will be no future," said Lee Commission Chair Frank Mann.
The group has members from elected government bodies all over southwest Florida. Local cities and counties pay dues to support the group, along with federal dollars and some grants. The group has done studies on issues of regional importance. However, even members of the council told WINK News: they had a hard time thinking of a major local issue, in which the council has played a high-profile role.
Lee County, for example, is paying about 150-thousand dollars this year to support the Regional Planning Council. That includes the 48,000 that Cape Coral is refusing to pay.
"We will not support this council until they show us an advantage to any financial support. I have to answer to 154-thousand constituents, and if there is no advantage to being on a committee, I don't belong on that committee," said Mayor Sullivan.
The group is looking for a new executive director. One taxpayer told us, it probably is time to just do away with the council, or make it much smaller.
"It's a waste of money, they should condense it," said Ray Allen of Ft. Myers.