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Tag Archives: city staff

Change Comes to Code Enforcement

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Since April, Marco Island’s Code Enforcement Department has been quietly undergoing reconstructive surgery. It started with the assignment of city Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie to the three-person department to carefully examine all means and methods used by enforcement officers. The process will continue through this year as City Manager Roger Hernstadt and the City Council make crucial decisions about hiring a magistrate and organizing a new City Code Advisory Committee. “Nancy was a good, impartial person to bring in there and examine how (the department) was handling its responsibilities in an unbiased way,” explains Hernstadt. ... Read More »

Smokehouse Bay Bridge Update

Work on the southbound span of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge is about 20 percent complete. PHOTO BY FRANK STEIGER

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The sign posted on the exit door of the Starbucks at The Esplanade on Tuesday, Sept. 30, sent caffeine junkies into instant withdrawals. Starting Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 PM, the store would be closed — closed? — due to a boil water notice, and unless otherwise notified, the store would not reopen until Saturday, Oct. 4. According to Jeff Poteet, general manager of Marco Island Utilities, bridge contractor Quality Enterprises will be tying in a new 20-inch water main that was recently installed as part of the $8.625 million Smokehouse Bay Bridge project. In ... Read More »

Get Out and Vote on Mackle Park Referendum

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The time has come for Marco Islanders to cast their ballot and let the City Council know where they stand on the construction of a new Mackle Park Community Center to replace the current 25-year-old center. The referendum question: “Shall the city expend up to $3.5 million to construct a new community center up to 16,000 square feet at Mackle Park?” It is a question that — in some way, shape or form — the Marco Island community has been dealing with since 2005 when the city released the Mackle Park master plan. Since the ... Read More »

PRAC Tackles Farmers’ Market Issue

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com It was a scene unfamiliar to the members of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. Twenty community members attended the committee’s special workshop Aug. 5 focused on the future of the Farmers’ Market. These 20 individuals were all market vendors. In attendance representing city staff were City Manager Roger Hernstadt, the city’s Recreation Facilities Manager and Farmers’ Market Manager Alex Gliana and Community Events Coordinator Samantha Malloy. Sandi Reidemann and Jacquie Koon of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce were present. The workshop came on the heels of rising concern over suggested changes ... Read More »

Work Begins on Smokehouse Bay Bridge

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Despite a small glitch, work has begun on the city’s $8.625 million Smokehouse Bay Bridge project. On Aug. 4, bridge contractor Quality Enterprises USA began traffic pattern modifications to close the southbound portion of the bridge, which will allow work to begin on the major utility relocations and directional boring for the 20” water main under the channel. The bridge project received the green light for the Marco Island City Council earlier this summer after years of debate over its cost and design. The deal was sweetened in June when Marriott International Inc. offered to ... Read More »

Mackle Park Referendum: Island Parks & Rec Foundation Rallies Support

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Greg West is no stranger to the Mackle Park Community Center referendum, which is set for a vote in the Aug. 26 election. Until recently, West served as the chairman of the city of Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC), and was one of the masterminds behind the committee’s marketing plan for the new community center. Now, as the president of the Island Parks & Recreation Foundation Inc., West is pulling out all of the stops for one final push to raise the community’s awareness and favor for a new Mackle Park Community ... Read More »

AAA Lot Mowing Cited for Repeat Violations

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By Carol Glassman Donald Liston, a tractor operator for AAA Lot Mowing owned by Bernard Wegman, ran up a very expensive tab for his lunch break May 12. Liston decided to have his lunch “with a better view” and “possibly seek another client,” but chose the wrong location. 1929 Indian Hill Street is a privately-owned lot that for approximately 15 years, according to city staff, has been deemed unmowable. In addition, the lot has been posted by Wegman himself, as a result of a previous conviction, as a protected gopher tortoise habitat. In December 2012, Wegman’s company was found guilty ... Read More »

Approved: 1st Reading of Marriott PUD Amendment

Marco Island city councilors listen to both sides of the Marriott project debate during the June 2 meeting.

By Noelle H. Lowery The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort’s $150 million renovation plan cleared its first hurdle Monday (June 2) night when City Council approved the amendment to the hotel’s planned unit development and master plan by a vote of 4-2. Councilors Amadeo Petricca and Chuck Kiester voted against the measure, and Councilor Joe Batte was not in attendance. The approval came after nearly six hours of presentations, impassioned community responses, in-depth discussion and a surprise promise from Marriott General Manager Rick Medwedeff. The hotel’s ownership group will kick in $1 million to expedite the renovation of the Smokehouse ... Read More »

City Council Notes

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The Marco Island City Council got down to business during its May 19 regular meeting hashing out a number of issues, including the purchase of an emergency standy-by generator for its South Water Treatment Plant for $200,000, the award of the $7.625 million contract for the Smokehouse Bay Bridge project to Quality Enterprises USA and a detailed discussion on how the city creates its ordinances and resolutions. An Electric Deal Council tackled the generator purchase first, agreeing to include the purchase of the emergency standy-by generator from Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) in its FY2015 ... Read More »

Marriott Launches Web Site

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By Noelle H. Lowery Rick Medwedeff is fighting fire with information and technology. The general manager of the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and his staff have launched a new web site — www.good4marco.com — to help dispel continued rumor and innuendo about the resort’s proposed $150 million renovation project and to provide supporter’s of the project a platform from which to speak. “We want to get rid of some of the mystery,” Medwedeff told a room full of Marco Island media and businesspeople. “As much as there have been efforts on many parts to communicate what this project is all ... Read More »

Become a ‘Marco Island Specialist’

The Marco Island Specialist Designation class welcomes new agents and seasoned veterans. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The Marco Island Area Association of Realtors is offering a new designation for local Realtors. Agents who complete the four-module course “to learn all things Marco Island” will receive a “Specialist Designation” through the MIAAOR. Currently, the local Realtor group is conducting its inaugural class now, and the course will be offered twice a year, May and October. “The ‘Marco Island Specialist Designation,’ like any other leadership development course, will help each Realtor member garner more knowledge about their surrounding area and those businesses who support our real estate community, ultimately benefitting the clients they ... Read More »

Letter to the Editor: Marriot Ordinance denial

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One Marco Islander’s Opinion:   Under the leadership of Councilor Petricca and Councilor Batte, our City Council must be commended for recognizing the inadmissibility of the proposed Marriott expansion petition.  Their petition was rejected because it had been written by the petitioner, the Marriott itself. Hopefully, this means the City of Marco Island is finally starting to demand respect for and compliance with our laws, agreements and procedures.  Regarding the latter, the correct procedure is contained in the mission statement of our Planning Board that reads in pertinent part: “…THE PLANNING BOARD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR [reviewing Comprehensive Plan changes] AND ... Read More »

April City Council: BCC, Community Affairs and Bike Routes

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The big news out of the April 21 Marco Island City Council meeting was the approval of the ballot language for the August referendum on replacing the nearly 30-year-old Mackle Park Community Center. Councilors voted 5-2 to approve the following: “Shall the city expend up to $3.5 million to construct a new community center up to 16,000 square feet at Mackle Park?” That language now is on its way to the office of Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards to be added the August primary election ballot. It was a clear victory for the ... Read More »

City Sets New Seating Verification Process

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The city of Marco Island staff have begun a new restaurant/food service seating plan verification process for businesses and organizations within the city service areas. This new process includes a visit from a city staff member to verify that an establishment’s seating and use are in line with paid impact fees and that any grease traps are compliant to state of Florida guidelines. Other areas of inspection will include spacing of seats and isles to ensure compliance with ADA standards. Furthermore, it is the city’s intent to obtain an indoor and outdoor seating plan of each establishment as part of ... Read More »

Marketing the Mackle Park Plan

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The redevelopment plan for the Mackle Park Community Center is hitting the road. Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation Committee is taking the plan to the community, marketing it to various groups and local organizations. The goal: To rally community support for the current $2.25 million turnkey, modular, precast concrete design concept in preparation for a possible referendum on the issue later this year. “The committee has taken a stronghold on marketing the need for the new center to the community,” explains Greg West, chairman of the city’s Parks and Rec Committee. “In the past driven, ... Read More »

One Step Forward, Two Back for City Financial Audit

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com The results of this year’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report left Marco Island city councilors shaking their heads at last week’s City Council meeting. The reason: Auditors from the accounting firm Mayer, Hoffman, McCann found one “material weakness” and one “significant deficiency” during their review of the city’s 2012 financial reports. “We didn’t have any last year,” Tom Kirstein, chairman of the city’s audit committee, told City Council. “This is a little bit upsetting on our part.” Both issues stemmed from recurring exceptions identified in past financial audits. The “material weakness” was attributed to year-end closing ... Read More »

Bond Refinance Windfall Undecided

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By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews. What would you do if you suddenly inherited $6.7 million? That is a question the Marco Island City Council sought to answer in a special workshop this week as it tackled the water utility’s new five-year Capital Improvement Program, or CIP. The $6.7 million windfall in question is the money the city will recoup this September from the successful refinancing of its 2003 utility system revenue bonds. The funds have been held in escrow as insurance on the bonds since 2010. “We are going to be successful in refinancing this debt, and that is going ... Read More »

Community Center Exploring Alternative Options

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By Noelle H. Lowery – noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Marco Island may be on the verge of closing the Mackle Park Community Center debate. During a special workshop last week, the Marco Island City Council unanimously authorized city staff to explore the costs of two alternative construction methods to the current $4.8 million plan for a new Mackle Park Community Center. In addition to looking at the cost for a total, phased renovation of the current facility, city staff also will examine a turnkey, design-build modular concrete building concept. Community Affairs Director Bryan Milk presented the new design concept to the city council and residents ... Read More »

Update of the Vehicle Accident Damaging the Big Flag Pole

On Wednesday, November 7, the Collier Boulevard median, housing the Big Flag Pole, lighting fixtures and the Welcome to Marco Island sign was the site of a vehicle accident causing severe damage. Clarification of the accident, damage report, estimates to repair and replace, and procedures in affect, were discussed by the Big Flag Committee at a recent meeting. Attending were City of Marco representative, Tim Pinter members of the public including Jill and Mike Havey, donors of the pole and City Councilman, Larry Sacher. The initial news report stating that “Replacement of the pole and lights will come from funds ... Read More »

DOLLARS AND SENSE: TRIM bills, millage votes and budget wrangling

By Danielle Dodder  “Nobody trusts government on any level anymore.” City Council Vice Chair Larry Magel sums up the collective headwinds facing anyone wrangling public money these days. Magel, along with fellow councilors and budget subcommittee members Wayne Waldack and Bill Trotter, spent 37 hours meeting with city staff, studying the fine print, and voicing opinions on proposed items in the 2012 budget created by the city as manager and staff worked to create something to pass muster with both public and city council. The challenge: nearly all public money in Florida rides on the back of property taxes. The ... Read More »