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Councilmember Brandt to host town hall meeting today

By Staff | May 8, 2009

Cape Coral District 2 Councilmember Pete Brandt will discuss typical city issues at his town hall meeting today — the utilities expansion project, the budget, the North Spreader Ecosystems Management Agreement — but the upcoming municipal elections are also on the agenda, and Brandt is looking for like-minded individuals to join him on the council.
“I’m anxious to see some people who may be running,” Brandt said of the mayoral and Districts 1, 4 and 6 seats that are up for election in November.
“I want to see some people whose thinking is more in line with mine to try to see if they can get on council,” he added.
Brandt, a consistent critic of city spending and a stalwart opponent of the UEP, often casts a minority vote on controversial issues.
Brandt also is trying to develop a means to reduce the utility rate hike associated with the stoppage in the UEP.
City staffers submitted a plan last month to raise utility rates 92 percent over five years to pay for the debt associated with the UEP and to make up for customers anticipated to join the system had the UEP continued into new areas.
Council members, scheduled to vote on the increases May 18, may have to approve the hike before Brandt introduces any cost-cutting measures, he said.
“It’s just not in the cards to find reductions before we actually vote,” Brandt said.
The increase, if passed, will not go into effect until Oct. 1, and council members could institute ways to cut the overall hike before then.
“We have all that time to mitigate what it’s going to be,” Brandt said.
The recent take-home vehicle audit will also be addressed at the meeting.
The initial audit revealed the city was paying insurance on more vehicles than they owned, but City Manager Terry Stewart said the discrepancy was a matter of poor timing, and the city never paid for insurance that wasn’t warranted.
“I think there’s some misinformation out there about it. I’m satisfied with the manager’s explanation of it,” Brandt said.
The Town Hall meeting will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Cape Coral Library.