Dr. James Riviere, who had served as the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee, summarized the ballot results of the votes from the January 26 election when the seven following amendments were considered for changes.
Charter Amendments Update
- General administrative changes and updates to bring the current Charter up to date (Yes 3,844 votes; No 2,115 votes)
- Term Limits, commencing with the 2014 election no Councilor may serve more than 8 years (Yes 4,580 votes; No 1,432 votes)
- Compensation of Councilors, increasing the salary of each Councilor and the Chairman (Yes 898 votes; No 5,124 votes)
- Section 4.03, Modification of City Managers powers and duties, to require notification to Council of possible deviations of $250,000 (plus or minus) from a budget or otherwise authorized expenditure (Yes 3,282 votes; No 2,717 votes
- Section 3.04, Investigations initiated by Council, may be conducted upon the affirmative vote of five or more councilors (Yes 3,171 votes; No 2,824 votes)
- Section 1.03, Expenditure Limitations setting the CAP minimum to the 2008 level (Yes, 1,139 votes; No 4,740 votes)
- Section 1.03, Expenditure Limitations, requiring any expenditure exceeding $12 Million Dollars be approved by Ordinance (Yes 2,450 votes; No 3,404 votes).
Council Chairman Rob Popoff said not voting for an increase in the salary of city council members was, “The wrong thing to do” as a term in office costs a member more than he is paid and eventually it could mean that only the wealthy will be able to afford to run for city council.
Presentation: Southwest Florida Water Management District – Terry Bengtsson, Lead Hydrogeologist
Bengtsson, in the absence of Clarence Tears, (Director, South Florida Water Management District) described the water supply plan process schedule and noted that Marco Island is doing a “Very good job in reclaimed water and in its commitment to eliminate septic systems.” He also commended the City for “doing the right thing” by using reverse osmosis to treat brackish water.
Former Councilor Arceri Appointed to Coastal Advisory Committee
Three of the nine-person county Coastal Advisory Committee representing Marco Island, until the resignation of Larry Magel when he ran for City Council, were Councilor Ted Forcht, Victor Rios, and Magel. Former Councilor John Arceri was elected to fill Magel’s seat in a 6 – 1 vote. When Councilor Ted Forcht’s position becomes vacant March 15, either Magel or any other council member may choose to apply for the seat.
Tony Zarella also applied but received only two of the seven votes.
Arceri served on this committee previously, from 2003 – 2006.
Contribution to the Marco Island Historical Museum
A motion to give $250,000 to the Historical Society for their displays in the new Museum, was passed 4-3, with the contingencies that an equal amount be given by the County, that the Rose Hall may be used by the City, and that a City representative (City Manager Thompson) be present at negotiations.
This decision was made after a lengthy explanation of how the County had arrived at the original figure of $350,000 offered by Marco if they would match it: they asked Marco to consider adding the $100,000 from the Tourist Development Council (TDC) to their $250,000. Councilor Jerry Gibson pointed out that $50,000 of that came from a private donation by Cedar Hanes of Paradise Advertising, a County consultant to the TDC.
Concerns were expressed about the County’s ability and willingness to staff the museum in view of recent cutbacks.
Alan Sandlin pointed out that the County had donated the land and the seed money and although they will be the final owners, Marco Island will most likely be the major benefactor, having the museum here.
It was also pointed out that Commissioner Donna Fiala had been extremely pro-active on behalf of achieving the Museum’s funding.
Contract awarded for Winterberry and S. Heathwood water main improvement
D.N. Higgins, Inc., was awarded a contract to undertake the construction of the Winterberry Drive and S. Heathwood Drive Water Main Improvement Project, not to exceed $197,485. According to Public Works Director Rony Joel this is a component that ties into a previous project. A 24-inch discharge pipe from the south water treatment plant along Peacock Terrace will be replaced with a new 36-inch pipe and associated upgraded piping from Peacock Terrace to Heathwood Dr. on Winterberry Dr., with a parallel 16-inch pipe and a new six-inch pipe south on Heathwood Dr. to Collingwood Ave. The larger pipe is needed to carry the larger flow velocity.
Lift Station improvement at Island Manor Condo
Stahlman-England Irrigation was awarded a contract to undertake the construction of the Lift station No. 8 Improvement Project not to exceed $118,222. According to Rony Joel, the City owns the lift station and is responsible for its maintenance and replacement.
Public Arts Ordinance to be developed further
Claudia Klug-Kowel, Chair of the City’s Arts Advisory Committee (AAC) asked Council to approve an Ordinance to create an alternative revenue source for funding public art, by imposing a ‘public art fee’ based on the building size of new City projects. Similar plans are in effect in other Florida cities as well as locations throughout the country. Although the Motion to carry passed 4 – 3 to move the Ordinance to a first reading, the consensus seemed to be that philosophically art needs to be funded in ways other than grants, private donations, and legacies, but perhaps methods, rather than ‘government-imposed impact fee structures’ need to be investigated by the AAC.
Councilor Recker said he was “grossly offended” and the idea of government imposing such a fee in these economical times was repugnant to him – although it was for a great cause.
Councilor Gibson agreed, that he didn’t believe the government should mandate a fee.
Councilor Forcht found it a great idea for funding art, without further burdening the taxpayers.
Councilor Trotter saw it as an investment in the future development of the City.
Before turning it back to the AAC for alternate suggestions, Chairman Popoff said as a builder or developer he would resent paying for art, and although we need to support the arts he did not like the way the Ordinance was written.
Council communication and future agenda
- Oil drilling off the coast of Florida
- Advisory Committee training – Thursday, June 10
- Alternate street lighting – May 17
- Joint workshop with the County to discuss Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) – Town Center
- Need for Code Board to have ability to mitigate fines before properties are brought into compliance in special circumstances (selling foreclosed properties)
- March 1: Restaurant parking; creating Town Center CRA with two readings to follow the Ordinance, March 15 and April 1.