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Handful show for Feichthaler’s final town hall meeting; Citizens question UEP

By Staff | Oct 10, 2008

Just six people showed up to Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler’s last town hall meeting Thursday night, whereas more than 50 attended a similar meeting earlier this year.

He enjoyed the chance to get feedback from his constituents nonetheless.

“It isn’t a very large crowd today but that could be a good thing,” Feichthaler said before the meeting.

Cape Coral resident Eric Keuhn asked him why City Manager Terry Stewart sits with the members of council on the dais during meetings.

“It feels like I’m going to a city manager’s meeting, not a city council meeting,” Keuhn said.

Feichthaler said the city government is structured with a strong city manager, but agreed that Stewart should be more responsive and less proactive.

“I think he has to be less with the voluntary information and more with the answers to the tough questions we have,” Feichthaler said.

Other residents wanted to know about the utilities expansion project in the Southwest 6/7 sector and the process to replace him as mayor.

Feichthaler is scheduled to leave office on Nov. 17.

Feichthaler said he supports the 6/7 project but has voted against it because the cost is not low enough. The average total cost of assessments and fees for 6,200 homeowners in the area runs $17,000 each, and he has consistently pushed to reduce that amount by $1,500.

“I don’t care if we’re half of what every other city is, we need to be lower if we can,” he said.

Feichthaler also took issue with some of his colleagues on the dais for calling the process to replace him a “circus.”

“When council says it’s going to be a circus that bothers me. The circus will come in if they allow it to happen,” he said.

Some council members have criticized their chosen plan to accept applications from the public to fill Feichthaler’s seat.

“I’ve heard the term circus, we are now a three-ring circus,” Councilmember Jim Burch said during Monday’s council meeting.

About 20 people have submitted applications. The deadline to apply is Friday.