CREATED Aug. 30, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla.- More than 1,400 people have signed an online petition telling county commissioners to not cut "Lee Extension Services".
The county program provides free labor, landscaping and information to you on how to plant things in a way that improves our quality of life..
John Sibiley is a certified master gardner and volunteer with the Lee Extension Services.
He and 400 other volunteers work for University of Florida professors who show people how to be more effective in landscaping and gardening at the same time protecting the environment and our water resources.
John explains that "those services can not be duplicated anywhere in any department in Lee County. and they are all so critical to our health and quality of life."
Now the county wants to cut funding to the program.
It would eliminate the instructors who coordinate those 100-thousand volunteer hours each year at various parks and public buildings.
John says "the county doesn't have to pay staff to go out and do maintenance... these folks are doing the maintenance for free."
They've been saving the county a ton of taxpayer dollars.
Now that's all in danger of going away.
John points out that "all of the volunteer hours that folks provide to the county is equivalent to 2.5 million dollars in savings."
Volunteers say the proposed budget cuts need to be reexamined otherwise programs that keep Lee County beautiful and protect the environment will suffer the most.
Lee County officials that they have come up with a proposal to "keep" the extension services funding and will present the plan to county commissioners next week.
The petition "Save the Lee Co Extension" survey is at