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Collier Libertarians save county taxpayers $4 million

Jared Grifoni of the Libertarian Party of Collier County reasons with Collier County Commissioners.
Jared Grifoni of the Libertarian Party of Collier County reasons with Collier County Commissioners.

After a five-month long battle, the Libertarian Party of Collier County (LPCC) was able to save approximately $4 million in debt from being added to the Collier County books yesterday, May 14, 2014. The LPCC has been fighting the issue of using taxpayer money to pay for a private seawall since earlier this year.

The LPCC has been fighting the creation of the La Peninsula MSBU (Municipal Service Benefit Unit) since December 2013. After conducting significant research into the issue the LPCC filed a petition with the BCC in early January demanding that the board rescind the MSBU approval based on the unconstitutionality (Florida Constitution, Article VII, Section X) of utilizing the state's taxing power via special assessments to aid a private entity in repairing/replacing a private seawall.

The LPCC has attended multiple Board of Commissioners meetings to petition the BCC to rescind the ordinance and resolution that created this unconstitutional government over-reach. LPCC leaders Chair Jared Grifoni, Vice Chair Peter Richter, and Libertarian candidate for US Congress Ray Netherwood spoke at the meetings. Secretary Elsa Martinez was a key figure in conducting the research and organizing the Libertarian opposition to this issue. In addition, LPCC members attended several MSBU Advisory Board meetings at La Peninsula to encourage the residents there to seek a private sector solution rather than getting sucked into a government bailout.

Despite strong support of incurring the additional debt via the MSBU process from Commissioners Tim Nance, Donna Fiala, and Fred Coyle, which was to be paid back over the course of ten years, the Commissioners were left with little alternative except to accept a delay due to the facts presented and argued by members of the community, led by the Libertarian Party of Collier County. The board voted 3-2 yesterday, May 13, 2014, to hold the MSBU in abeyance while the community pursues a private funding mechanism (which they have already secured from at least 2 lending institutions). This has effectively removed the $4 million in debt from county books until and unless the private funding for the project falls through. It is also a fact, confirmed by the county auditors at a recent BCC meeting that the MSBU money is considered county debt until it is repaid. Had this MSBU moved forward, the debt would have been added and the county would have maintained the debt on the books for 10+ years until it was repaid by the community.

Grifoni said today, "Prior to yesterday's decision, the community was locked in and forced to utilize the county funding mechanism. Now they are free from the chains of the MSBU program and can handle this project through the private sector without public funds. This is a great victory for everyone in Collier County, as this measure would have set a very dangerous precedent. We are so thankful for all the support we've received from all over the county in this fight and are very happy to see this financing go to the private sector where it belongs."

The LPCC is very passionate about fiscal conservatism and accountability and works very hard to hold government's feet to the fire based on these principles.