More than 300 people packed The Polo Grill and Bar Fête Ballroom last month for the East County Observer’s first Lakewood Ranch Incorporation Debate. The debate served as the first public meeting between the Lakewood Ranch Incorporation Study Committee and the Friends of Lakewood Ranch.
But, although the debate featured questions from The Observer, our readers and debate attendees, the event raised as many questions as it answered. Representatives from both sides said they wanted more time to present arguments, and many attendees said they still left without full clarity.
In response, the Observer will launch a summer-long incorporation series. Each week, we will investigate, analyze and report on a variety of topics regarding incorporation. Our goal is to arm you with enough balanced information for you to know where you stand on this issue.
The series will begin in the June 30 edition and continue through August — when the study committee plans to conduct a straw poll vote. We will examine everything from tax and government structure under the proposed charter to government accessibility and examine economist Hank Fishkind’s other feasibility studies and their accuracy. And we will examine similar Florida cities and what they have learned from their own incorporation processes.
As always, we invite readers to submit questions and ideas. You may contact Executive Editor Michael Eng at [email protected] or by phone at 755-5357.