The Marco Island City Council met on February 16, 2016. Here are some highlights of that meeting:
Gary McAlpin spoke on the first step in the plans to regrade the beach just north of Resident’s Beach. The purpose of this regrade is to build up the area where there is ponding, puddling and algae growth from a lack of drainage. The Marco Marriott has gifted 7,500 cubic yards of high quality sand, which was scheduled to start being transported on February 22 via the Marriott‘s entrance to the beach. In close coordination with the Marco Island police to ensure safety, the transport would then proceed along the beach to the site. If you saw the dump trucks, that’s what was happening!
The Fertilizer Use Ordinance was a hot topic of discussion. In a letter to City Manager Roger Hernstadt, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida supports the City of Marco Island in adopting “a stringent and protective fertilizer ordinance that will proactively work to control non-point sources of nutrient pollution and prevent further degradation of waters in Southwest Florida. Nutrient pollution, which can come from inappropriate fertilizer use, is one of the primary causes of water quality degradation in our region.” The Marco model for this ordinance is more restrictive than the state model. Final discussion of the ordinance is scheduled for the March 7th City Council meeting.
City Council Chairman Bob Brown read his letter to the residents of Marco Island urging them to voice their opinions and concerns to Collier County government officials regarding the proposed plan to create an independent fire and EMS district in the unincorporated areas of the county. The council directed City Manager Roger Hernstadt to request a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (C.O.P.C.N.) that would allow Marco Island to maintain local control of all fire and emergency medical services.
Perhaps the most intense discussion of the evening centered on the ongoing Esplanade settlement issue between the Esplanade and the City of Marco Island. City Attorney Alan Gabriel received a proposed revision from Kenneth Jones, attorney for the Esplanade. Mr. Jones stated “It looks like the last major obstacle to resolving this matter relates to who should bear responsibility for any injuries that occur to the public within easements owned by the City and located on Esplanade property.” Attorney Gabriel strongly advised the council not to accept the revision, because of some of the language used in the revised documents. In his opinion, the words “sovereign immunity,” “full” and “public” changed the meaning of the agreement. He told the council “For the most part, the majority of the changes are inconsequential, thus not worth objection. However, those changes which attempt to modify or waive the City’s sovereign immunity rights as authorized and specified in Section 768.28(5), Florida Statutes and those changes that may result in liability to the City that it would otherwise avoid, could cause concern and your particular attention.” Dr. Bill Trotter, president of the Esplanade Homeowner’s Association, said that the Esplanade has no objection to the City’s sovereign immunity, but feels that the Esplanade should not have the liability for injuries that may occur on the Esplanade property that the City is accessing. Councilor Batte urged continued negotiations. City Council Chairman Bob Brown stated that it would be very difficult for the council to disagree with the city attorney’s strong advice. Councilor Honecker made a motion to return the documents to the Esplanade without the language that is causing this new controversy. Councilors Honecker, Honig, Brown and Petricca voted in favor, while Councilors Rios and Batte voted no. Councilor Sacher was not present.
The next Regular City Council Meeting will be held on Monday, March 7 at 5:30 PM. City council meetings are open to the public and are held at 5:30 PM on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month, unless that Monday happens to be a holiday. They are held in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive and shall last no longer than four hours. Residents who have completed a citizen’s comment card, available from the City Clerk may speak as noted on the agenda, for four minutes. The agenda, which includes numerous departmental reports in addition to the ordinances and resolutions, as well as videos of the meetings and an abundance of additional information are available on the city’s website, www.cityofmarcoisland.com.