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Petition to council by firefighters union withdrawn

By Staff | Nov 29, 2010

Cape Coral Firefighter Union representatives decided to withdraw a petition to council that would allow city firefighters to make pre-taxed payroll deductions and put that money into an insurance trust, after council decided it didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision.
Union president Mark Muerth said the issue was two weeks from implementation in October before the city’s union negotiator “requested” the move be put on hold, according to Muerth.
The lack of results from the negotiation process speaks to the larger issue, said Councilmember Marty McClain.
McClain said the city has spent nearly $100,000 on the labor negotiator and they have not provided any results.
“We’re 90 big into our labor negotiators right now and I have not seen a lot that’s impressed me,” McClain said. “We’re no closer to this today then we were 90 days ago”
It’s uncertain when the issue will be discussed again, but Muerth said the union will likely be prepared to again make the petition to city council on Dec. 13, council’s last voting meeting before it takes a holiday break.
In another petition to council, Ronald and Lisa Tedford were denied their request to operate a business out of a home along Chiquita Boulevard.
The stretch of Chiquita, between Trafalgar Parkway and Pine Island Road, and across from Coral Ridge Cemetery, is already zoned as a Commercial Activity Center, or CAC.
That designation, which council changed along with a slate of land use designations earlier this year, was why the board members didn’t feel it necessary to rezone the property for the Tedfords.
“It goes against everything we did earlier this year,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.
Ronald Tedford said he wanted to operate a business that would cater to returning veterans; helping them with paperwork and other issues as they try to re-assimilate back into civilian life.
The Tedfords were waiting for an approval from council before making the final purchase on the home, which was once a model.
His own experiences with the Veterans Administration is what made Tedford want to try the venture in the first place, he said.
“I’ve been raked over the coals by the VA system, and I don’t want to see this happen to anybody else,” Tedford told council.
Councilmember Marty McClain worried about the implications of allowing one individual to change the land use designation.
“The next thing I know I’ll have petitions from people who want to live and work in their offices all over the city,” he said.
Council denied the request 7-1, with Erick Kuehn dissenting.
In other petition news, council approved allowing Emelio and Iris Santiago to extend a water line from to their home on Southwest 29th Terrace.
Currently on a well, the Santiagos want city water anyway.
Mayor John Sullivan wanted to make sure the Santiagos understood that once the Utilities Expansion Project restarts, they would end up paying more for installing water and sewer separately.
Council approved the water line extension with a 7-1 vote, with Bill Deile dissenting.