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Cape again postpones planning council membership decision

By Staff | Sep 13, 2011

City council again postponed its decision on whether to withdraw from the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, waiting for additional information from Lee County attorney’s office and the city of Sanibel.

Regional Planning Council interim Director Liz Donley said the county and the City of Sanibel were discussing what to do with the free seat occupied by Sanibel, which its held for the last 10 years.

Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan, who is the city’s representative on the Regional Planning Council, said he would no longer attend the meetings if council voted to continue to pay the $50,000 annual fee to be a voting member.

The mayor also doesn’t believe the county will come up with any new information during that two-week period which will change his mind.

“I’m not going to waste my time,” Sullivan said.

Donley said the City of Sanibel would pay $1,900 annually, if they were to become a paying member of the Regional Planning Council.

Whether Sanibel will become a paying member will likely fall during its budget talks, Donley said.

Donley also urged the Cape council to stay a member of the Regional Planning Council, saying that big changes, including a new permanent executive director, are in the works.

“There’s a lot of balls in the air right now. I think it’s vitally important the city of Cape Coral stay involved with the Regional Planning Council,” Donley added.

City Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz felt that if council decided to withdraw from the Regional Planning Council on Monday night, it would have sent a clear message to the county and the city of Sanibel about what he said has been 10 years of mistreatment.

“I’m tired of the treatment this city has received over the last decade,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to save our citizens $50,000.”