The MCTA has a question for the Board of County Commissioners. Why does the
county operate the two cafés at the beaches and is looking for a private operator to run the clubhouse at the revamped golf course?
We are not advocating for the government becoming more involved in private
enterprise. On the contrary, we want them to do less of it. MCTA believes that Martin
County has lost all sense of what the function of government should be. Our elected
officials have yet to be concerned with how far they have strayed from their basic public
The BOCC and staff argued that the cafés were not being maintained by the private
operators. It is true that neither operator maintained the properties.
However, the responsibilities of each party were clearly spelled out in the leases or
When that happens there are remedies. The county could have forced the vendors to
live up to the terms of the agreements or seek to remove them. It does not mean that
the county needed to take over operation of the facilities. That would be analogous to a
property owner in the private sector operating a restaurant because the last tenant in
the space did not follow the terms of his lease.
Government should only perform those functions that the private sector refuses to
perform or cannot. Operating cafés, snack bars, and clubhouses are things private
businesses do better than a government bureaucrat or a county commissioner.
Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Martin County, far too often commissioners believe
they have the right to use public dollars as they please. They become too involved in
operations and stray from their primary responsibility of policy. Senior staff have every
right to tell commissioners to stay in their lane and not interfere with the operational
side. In the past few years, we have seen an erosion of this principle.
In the budgeting process, we have just witnessed what happens when commissioners
are more interested in being department heads than managing the funds entrusted to
them. If the BOCC was paying more attention to the bottom-line throughout the
budgeting process, cuts from line items would not be made at the last minute to forestall
super majority commission votes.
Martin County has a tendency not to hold commissioners accountable for their fiscal
actions when voting. This reinforces their invincibility factor and allows them to think
they can spend more tax dollars on a non-governmental mission without repercussions.