EDITOR'S NOTE: The Santiva Chronicle publishes opinions and letters on topics that are important to Sanibel and Captiva. They may be submitted via e-mail at news@santivachronicle.com.

Thanks to your many letters and phone calls this last month the Lee County Commissioners are ready to vote provisionally for placement of a referendum establishing a Children's Services Council on the November Ballot.

This Council would greatly benefit all of Lee County’s children and their families. The initial vote will be at their meeting on April 17 beginning at 9:30 AM in the Old County Courthouse Commissioner Chambers, 2120 Main St., Ft. Myers 33901. We encourage all of our citizens who care about the future of our children and a more prosperous Lee County to join us at the Courthouse.

Established in 1945, Children’s Services Councils already exist in eight Florida Counties and serve as umbrellas of leadership, coordination and oversight greatly enhancing the quality of education and health care available to all children. The cost to Lee County citizens will be minimal, most likely very much less than the maximum of $350 per annum ad valorem allowed by State Law.

And how do we know the value of a CSC? This is very apparent in all the eight counties with CSCs which have quickly moved ahead of Lee County in creating economic prosperity for their citizens.

How is this occurring? Because profitable companies seeking to relocate in Florida have discovered a higher ratio of well educated and energetic students ready and willing to join their companies due to years of quality support provided by their CSCs.

Already two of the five Commissioners serving Lee County, Frank Mann and John Manning, are eager and ready to vote “yes” to placing the CSC referendum on the November ballot. As the law stands we only need one more Commissioner to make this happen. First your presence at the Courthouse on April 17 is vital.

In addition, it is hoped that everyone will take the time to phone the three Commissioners not yet ready to finalize their positions. (Past experience has shown emails are not effective.). The phone numbers are: Larry Kiker 239-533-2223, Cecil Pendergrass 239-533-2227 and Brian Hannan 239-533-2226. You might also want to call and thank Frank Mann 239-533-2225, and John Manning 239-533-2224 for their keen understanding of the value of the CSC and the leadership roles they are now playing.

On behalf of Lee County citizens let us not allow this unique opportunity pass us by as we seek a better more productive life both for our children and ourselves.

Jill Dillon

Sanibel, FL