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Cape to remain on Regional Planning Council

By Staff | Sep 26, 2011



Cape Coral will have its cake and eat it too so to speak, by saving $50,000 but still retaining its seat on the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council for free, at least for a year.

City Council voted to continue to be part of the Regional Planning Council, taking the free seat occupied by the city of Sanibel for the last decade.

Liz Donley, interim director for the Regional Planning Council, said the city of Sanibel voted to pay its own assessment for the seat, which, based on the number of residents, equates to $1,900.

The free seat now falls to Cape Coral.

“No other cities have stepped forward to ask for the seat,” Donley said.

Donley invited Mayor John Sullivan, who serves as the city’s representative on the Regional Planning Council, to work with the other voting members to come up with a procedure that would allow the free seat to rotate, possible every three to five years.

Sullivan started the process of withdrawing from the council several weeks ago when he said the city was not getting its money’s worth. He said previously the meetings have yielded little to no direct results for the city of Cape Coral.

The mayor decided to wait and see if the free seat would be available to the Cape before urging for the withdrawal. No it seems patience has paid off for the city.

“What it means to the taxpayers is we’re saving $50,000 a year,” Sullivan said.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz thanked the city of Sanibel for changing its direction and allowing Cape Coral to have the opportunity to sit in the free seat.

“It’s been a long time coming but they also have my admiration because they relinquished the free seat they’ve had for a decade,” Chulakes-Leetz said.

In other news, City Council postponed its selection of a citizens police review board until Oct. 19, 5 p.m., during a special meeting.

Council indicated a special meeting would better serve the process of making those selections, as 17 people have applied to be part of the review board.

Council is expected to select seven members along with a two alternates.

Chulakes-Leetz said he feels there just wasn’t enough time on Monday night during council’s regular voting meeting to do the process justice.

He called the special voting meeting a “prudent’ move.