The City Council of Marco Island held a regular meeting on July 18, 2016. All councilors were present, except Councilor Sacher, who was excused.
In a 4-2 vote, council passed a resolution approving the preliminary disclosure of the proposed millage rate for the Fiscal Year 2017. The tentative millage rate is determined to be 1.9966 mils for the City of Marco Island’s general operations, .0878 mils for the special voted debt and 1.4000 for the Hideaway Special Taxing District. The percentage increase in property taxes is 4.95% more than the rolled-back rate of 1.9024 mils. Councilors Honig and Rios were opposed to this resolution even though municipal operation taxes for homesteaded properties would be reduced. Councilor Rios voiced his objection to the amount of $250,000 that has been requested by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee in the FY2017 proposed budget to begin to plan and design the improvements for Veterans Community Park without reducing the total green space. Councilor Honig said, “I don’t feel the budget has been adequately vetted,” expressing his concern with the Fire Rescue Department’s plans to request a COPCN for home rule of EMS services after Hernstadt warned the council of the potential for EMS costs to significantly increase if an independent district is created by Collier County. The department has requested $150,000 in the FY2017 proposed budget to pursue a COPCN later in the upcoming fiscal year if the council authorizes staff to move forward.
Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing and utilizing the available $1,609,381 from the city manager’s bucket plan, which is part of the general fund budget to pay down the unfunded pension liability. Councilor Batte praised City Manager Hernstadt and his bucket plan for this significant accomplishment. In related items, council unanimously passed a resolution superseding all prior resolutions concerning the administration and record keeping of the City of Marco Island Sponsored Money Purchase Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, 401(a) and the Deferred Compensation Defined Contribution Retirement Plan, 457(b). Council passed an additional resolution authorizing a “piggy back” contract to enter into an agreement with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company for the administration and record keeping of the retirement plans which will reduce the costs and fees for the affected non-union employees.
The parking dilemma on Marco Island received two nudges in the direction of a solution. Council unanimously passed a resolution for the approval of 27 off-site parking spaces for the Marco Walk Shopping Center. These 27 parking spaces will be leased by the shopping center from the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island on Winterberry Drive. These spaces will be limited to employee parking only. The resolution also allows for on street parking behind the shopping center on Landmark Street paid for by the developer. Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure of $14,402.00 (50%) to match four private donations from restaurant owners for the engineering design of the Olde Marco On Street Parking Project.
In other business, council unanimously passed a resolution extending the temporary use permit for Rose Marina during their construction phase. Council unanimously passed a resolution for the renewal of the interlocal agreement for fire and rescue services to the Goodland area. Fire Chief Murphy added, “We will always respond to Goodland. The only time we wouldn’t respond is if there was a hurricane and Goodland was told to evacuate.” Council unanimously passed a resolution to approve the site development plan for the construction of the Dollar General store at 440 W. Elkcam Circle. Council passed a resolution to adjust the project contingency to 8% of the contract amount for the RWPF Headworks Replacement Project, resulting in a $200,000 increase. Although this resolution passed unanimously, Councilor Rios stated that he voted a reluctant yes. A resolution was passed awarding the contract for the Bayport/Tahiti Stormwater Improvement Project to C & W Pipeline, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $670,826.50.
The first reading of an ordinance requesting an amendment to the Land Development Code to allow additional conditional uses of a Residential Tourist Zone was passed unanimously. The second reading of an ordinance to modify the existing grease damage prevention regulations, which was supported by the local restaurant alliance, passed with a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Honig voting no.
The next regular meeting of the City Council of Marco Island will be on August 1, 2016 at 5:30 PM in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.