Tuesday, October 19, 2021

City Council Holds Productive Meeting

Marco Island City Council.

The September 3 Marco Island City Council meeting could be looked at as a step forward for the community as a number of items were advanced that will benefit it.

The most anticipated event of the evening was the ceremonial pinning of Marco Island’s new Police Chief Tracy Frazzano. Besides ceremonial, the event could also be described as a “family affair” for Frazzano. In addition to her husband, Bill Frazzano, she was surrounded by many members of her family who came in from her home state of New Jersey. They included her mother and father, her sister and her family, and numerous other family and friends.

The customary jokes about the pinning itself brought forward laughter and smiles as Bill Frazzano, a retired Police Captain from Montclair, New Jersey, did the honors for his wife, just prior to her addressing the council chambers.

Chief Frazzano was humble and gracious in her remarks, thanking the large contingent who traveled so far to witness the occasion. She spoke about the future of the department, and the island that she and her husband now call home.

Chief Frazzano was released from the remainder of the meeting so she could take her large contingent of well-wishers out to dinner, or at least that was what City Manager Michael McNees and Chairman Erik Brechnitz joked she would be doing.

Budget Approved

City Finance Director Gil Polanco addresses council regarding the budget. | Photos by Steve Stefanides

By state law, the city is required to hold public hearings on both setting the millage rate (tax rate) and approve the city’s budget for the next fiscal year. At the council meeting held on September 3 they would hold the first of two of those mandated hearings and votes. The second will be held on September 16 at their second scheduled meeting of the month.

They had originally set the initial millage at $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 and for referendum approved debt service $0.0764; both are per thousand dollars of valuation on property. By state statute they may lower that original millage number, but not exceed what was set in July.

Since their budget discussions during the spring and fall of this year, the city staff has adjusted some of its revenue estimates to free up monies for optional programs and spending which had originally been passed over to maintain what they refer to as a “rollback rate.” Rollback is defined as limiting revenue to those same dollars as brought during the last year, plus growth.

This year the city receives the added revenue from the 1% sales tax increase, which will allow them to deal with several capital project in addition to some of the spending requirements found in the recently created Strategic Plan for the island over the next five years.

A property owner whose home is assessed at a taxable value of $500,000 (after deductions of Save our Homes, Homestead Exemption and other allowable deductions) would pay a tax bill of $941.50 for city services during the next year, or $78.42 per month. That includes the cost of 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 to, if not less than, the average person’s cable/internet bill or the service charge from their cell phone provider.

Water Testing and Evaluation

Review of the Draft Request for Proposals (RFP #19-033) for Consulting Services for Nutrient Source Evaluation and Assessment was approved by council by a 7-0 vote.

As part of that RFP, the following would be included within the Scope of Services:

  • Evaluate the water quality situation within city limits.
  • Review historical water quality data, statistical evaluations, and trend analyses.
  • Compare current data to historic data in and around the island.
  • Design a monitoring program using the existing sampling points, new sampling points, or a combination of both to identify the level and source of nutrients within the waterways of Marco Island.
  • The monitoring program may use tracers such as chloride, conductivity, coprostanol and stable isotope analyses of nitrogen and oxygen to partition the measured nutrients into the originating sources.
  • Monitor stormwater runoff, baseflow, groundwater inflow to surface waters, rainfall, etc.
  • Evaluation of canal bottom sediment.
  • Interpret the collected and other information to identify nutrient sources.
  • Identify impacts from reclaimed wastewater used for irrigation.
  • Develop an action plan to alleviate the nutrient impairment.
  • Prepare a final report which presents the study results and provides general recommendations for methods to improve water quality.

Councilor Jared Grifoni utilized slides to illustrate the sheet flow of water in Southwest Florida to demonstrate how Marco Island could be affected by areas north and east of the island and the pollutants generated in those areas.

The RFP will be the first of many steps to be taken to ascertain the source of the issues which may affect water quality on Marco Island.

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