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Local leaders discuss goals for 2010

By Staff | Dec 30, 2009

Forget about the stereotypical New Year’s resolutions which rarely last beyond January. And don’t even think about making any predictions, either.

As the calendar turns from 2009 to 2010, a number of local officials were asked what their personal and professional goals for the upcoming year would be. Although nobody claimed to have a crystal ball that allowed them to peer into the future, most of the respondents mentioned what they “hoped” to accomplish during the next 12 months.

“I think my goals are to continue to focus on water issues,” said Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham. “The quality of the water that surrounds our island has a direct effect on local businesses. The success of the island depends upon clean water and our beaches.”

Denham also mentioned that the city is facing a tough hurdle when it comes to tackling policy related to non-conforming buildings.

“I think we’ll have to give adequate focus on finding the appropriate solution,” he said.

Planning Commission chairman Michael Valiquette, who along with fellow planner Les Forney is seeking reappointment to the seven-member panel, agrees that the issue of non-conforming buildings is a top priority in 2010.

“Obviously, the biggest thing is the redevelopment of the non-conformities,” he said. “We’re still following the discussions by City Council of (Land Development Code) 86-43. As soon as that’s done, we’ll be able to get moving with that. There aren’t really any other major issues facing us.”

Personally, Valiquette hopes to continue his efforts in leading the work performed by PURRE (People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries).

“I’d like to see that county and other local cities to clean up the watershed,” added PURRE’s chairman. “Obviously, I dedicate a lot of time to my business, but I think I spend just as much time dedicated to the coalition.”

Forney also noted that addressing the city’s non-conforming building policy was his first priority as a Planning Commissioner, but personally offered, “In 2010, I’d like to do a little more fishing than I’ve been doing… which is practically none.”

City Councilman Jim Jennings said that among several goals in the coming year were issues of water quality, keeping taxes as low as possible and soliciting more input from Sanibel’s citizens.

“I’m going to try to make sure that offshore oil drilling is not going to happen,” said Jennings, a staunch opponent to the proposal. “I also want to make sure that Sanibel and the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) works together to get money from the stimulus package to use on our shared use paths.”

Jennings, who pointed out that Lee County spent some of their stimulus funds on bike paths, hoped that the council and Planning Commission would continue to work closely together on the island’s most important issues.

“My goal is to continue to work harder with the community to ensure that every resident will be able to live their personal vision, which is why they chose to live on Sanibel in the first place,” said City Manager Judie Zimomra. “We want to get everything done on the council’s to-do list and maintain our quality of services in the current economic climate.”

Denham agreed.

“We should continue to be fiscally strong in our policies and frugal in the affairs of the city,” he added. “That means spending within our means and sticking to our budget. We have to be very careful with how we spend the taxpayers’ money.”

Fellow councilman Marty Harrity hoped that 2010 would bring good health and happiness to all.

“I continue to thank God every day for all of the blessings he’s brought me,” said Harrity. “That includes my wonderful wife and family, success in my businesses and living in one of the nicest and prettiest places in the world. What could be better than that?”