LEE COUNTY, Fla.- One of the main supporters of consolidating the Fort Myers Police with the Lee Sheriff's office has new figures on estimated savings. He says: taxpayers could save $3 to $5 million a year.
Earlier, supporters had tossed around estimates of 25-million dollars in savings.
Phil Nichols says, the city will still have to pay the under-funded pension plans of officers, even if Amendment One passes.
It asks voters whether the police dept. should be dissolved, and within a year, the Lee Sheriff would provide police protection for the city.
The city of Fort Myers estimates, the take-over by the sheriff would cost taxpayers $925,000 a year.
And now, Lee commissioner Frank Mann is warning, the county has no extra money to help the city hire the Sheriff for law enforcement duties.
"The money is just not there. They will have to pay the costs themselves," says Mann.
Bonita Springs contracts with the sheriff for police protection. It currentlyuis paying just over one and a half million dollars, to the sheriff. That comes from an operating budget of about 13 and a half million.
Nichols says, the rationale for the amendment is that the police in Fort Myers cost too much per officer. "We need to have spending that we can afford in this city government," Nichols argues.