The Marco Island City Council finalized their budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year on September 16 with no changes from their September 3 vote. The millage (tax rate) council had set at the September 3 meeting was maintained at the $1.8821 per thousand of valuation to cover city operational cost, as well as referendum approved debt service. Operational costs to run the city for the next year accounts for $1.8057 of that figure and an additional $0.0764 is for referendum approved debt service; both are per thousand dollars of valuation on property. Council did have the option of reducing the amount but could not raise it at this final meeting.
The impact to a homeowner if their property was assessed at a taxable value of $500,000, after the Homestead Exemption, Save our Homes and other allowable deductions, would see them paying a tax bill of $941.50 for their city services during the next year, or $78.42 per month. That includes the costs for administration of the city, police and fire protection, parks and recreation, public works, planning, inspections, code compliance and any other city provided services. It is comparable, if not less than the average person’s cable/internet bill or the monthly charge from their cellphone provider.
That $941.50 would not cover other taxable entities such as Collier County, State Education Tax, the taxes levied by the Collier County School District, Mosquito Control or other special taxing districts.
Upscaling City Utility Boxes
Throughout the island there are a number of city utility boxes which house the controls for the various traffic control devices. That evening, the Beautification Advisory Committee Chairperson Andrew Kirlin made a presentation regarding improving the appearance of the boxes with a decorative “wrapping.”
Kirlin was joined by Shelli Connelly, who also serves on the advisory committee, and Hyla Crane, the Executive Director of the Marco Island Center for the Arts. All three commented on the benefits of the project and received permission to continue exploring the project’s potential. They will then bring back a more detailed report on costs and other related details.
Water Utility Surcharge Lowered
A surcharge, which was first applied during the STRP (Septic Tank Replacement Program), was once again reduced by an additional 2% at the September 16 meeting. The goal of the city utility department is to see the final 2% eliminated within the next 12 months.
Landscaping Contract Extended
In February of this year, on the urging of Councilor Sam Young, Council asked the staff to put out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for landscaping services, rather then simply extending the existing contract with Affordable Landscaping Services for another three years. At previous meetings, Young has expressed his dissatisfaction with Affordable.
Staff reported to council that of the three bidders who submitted proposals, only two would meet all the parameters as part of the city’s RFP. However, the remaining two bidders came in well above budget, with Affordable being deemed the lowest responsible bidder at $1,242,992.00.
Staff would recommend rejecting all three bids and choosing the option of extending Affordable’s existing contract through March 14, 2022. The city would then re-prioritize those few items not included under the previous contract, and come back with an amendment to the previous contract as an adjustment.
The item passed 7-0.
New Self Storage Coming
A new self-storage facility to be built at 921 Windward Drive was approved, following council’s discussion and removal of the condition for a quarterly inspection requirement for the specially designed paver system to ensure the drainage areas are not being obstructed.
Councilor Larry Honig would have the item pulled from the consent agenda. The consent agenda normally would allow councilors to vote without debate on agenda items that should not be controversial or have any questions.
The manufacturer “PaveDrain Systems” stipulates within their own literature that for the system to appropriately drain, the joint areas should be vacuumed yearly. City staff had also asked for them to inspect the joint areas on a quarterly basis, but were happy to accept the manufacturer’s stipulation that the installation be vacuumed annually.
The unique design of the pavers allows for the drainage and settlement of water into a stone base and aggregate, according to loads being anticipated upon the pavers themselves. It was first proposed for the new parking arrangement at the Marco Town Center to deal with the stormwater issues found at the development. However, no progress has been made on that project and with season fast approaching it is anticipated there will be no movement until spring of 2020.
“We were excited to see this new and innovative approach to dealing with stormwater issues offered up by the developer at both Marco Town Center and here on Windward Drive,” said Daniel Smith, Director of Community Affairs. “The more technology and creativity we can add to these designs to mitigate issues with stormwater, the better we will be in the long run,” said Smith.