Bill McDaniel was very kind to meet with me and answer few questions, below is a brief recap of our conversation.
1. Does collier county “live within its budget”? How important is it to have a balanced budget?
It is important that we live within our means. I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The apathy of the voters allowed special interests to take control and government became “not for the people” as much. Local government has responsibilities: keep the community safe, provide infrastructure/roads, provide quality of life/recreation. Collier County lives within its means, but perhaps we overspend on extraneous priorities.
2. What is your position on the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico?
From the standpoint of global economics, we are a petroleum based industrial society. In the future, perhaps in the next 50 years, the informational age will take over with its clean energy and new technology. However, it is not sustainable today. Oil, natural gas, and coal are important resources now. That said, I’d rather not see the off shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, it is harder to fix problems when we extract oil from under the water. We can manage these regulations in favor of more onshore oil and gas extraction.
3. How important to you is to protect our environment? There are more harmful chemicals allowed in the drinking water.
Humans are the dominant species of the planet. It is our duty and obligation to protect the environment, but not at all costs. How important is it to protect the environment – very important! Water is the substance of all life. We are doing a good job; collier county residents have clean and up-to-standards water.
4. What is your position on the big farm polluters and the ensuing red tide problem?
We had a noticeable red tide problem last year due to few months of unprecedented rainfall (19 inches). It caused the fertilizer from the land to drain into the water. The problem was not so much the farms; although, we do need to take care of the quality of water up north that drains into the Kissimmee River which feeds into Lake Okeechobee. We also need to build the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to curb discharges in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.
5. What do you do to create more jobs in Collier County?
We make Immokalee the economic epicenter, expand the airport in Immokalee and build the necessary infrastructure. We also need to connect SR 29 with SR 80. We want to move away from relying on natural resources to relying on our greatest resources – our people. With a good education our people can manufacture goods and services right here in Collier County and with good infrastructure we can ship our products everywhere else. We must stimulate non-construction related industry.
6. If the small businesses are the largest job creators how do we protect and encourage small business growth?
Government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Lately, the government hasn’t been for the people. We need to reduce regulations to help small businesses.
7. The rent keeps getting higher, the salaries are not keeping up. How do we insure affordable housing for the workers in Collier County?
There is always affordable housing available, but a lot of times people just don’t want to live in that location. We want quality wine on a beer budget. It just doesn’t work that way. Government should not be in the business of subsidizing the affordable housing. What we can do is to reduce regulations and the expenses to the developers and builders so they can make housing less expensive and more affordable to the residents.
8. How do we keep our taxes low?
We will be able to maintain our very low tax rate, if we adjust our priorities to those outlined in #1.
9. How do we reduce crime in Collier County?
The sheriff is doing a good job. The crime rate in collier county is down.
Bill McDaniel was very helpful and he definitely has my vote!