The issue of how to approach seawall construction and repair dominated the discussion at Monday’s city council meeting. The ordinance that passed first reading now limits the use of residential lots for construction staging to a single 120 day permit. Chairman Larry Magel came out firmly in favor of ending such use altogether: “It doesn’t look like a hardship to me to use the commercial lots for staging…I would like to prohibit it altogether.” Magel tasked the Planning Board and Waterways committees to recommend viable alternatives and cited the possibility of the city taking over responsibility for the seawall issue by having citizens purchase insurance.
Duane Thomas, whose business is based on seawall construction, implored council to see his point of view. “I’ve invited all of you to go on my job sites to see what’s actually involved in these projects. No one responded…We have a unique situation here, we have bridges.” He added that he would have to pass on the higher cost of doing business to his clients.
Citizen John Arceri spoke to complain that marine construction in his neighborhood inhibited the sale of homes. He requested that the city conduct a study.
Chairman Magel concluded the discussion by requesting public comment regarding alternatives.
• The millage rate and budget passed final vote. The millage rate remained the same as last year, 1.96. The total taxable value of property on Marco Island, according to Collier County, is $7.4 billion.
• Councilman Bill Trotter called the budget “flawed,” and cited the need to create expense categories. Citizen Larry Sacher, who is currently running for city council, stated that city general expenditures had increased by more than $1 million. Chairman Magel concluded, “As one councilor, I accept [expense] increases knowing that I’ll be looking at another surplus.”