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McGrail: Toll interlocal agreement ‘has cost the city’

By Staff | Jul 17, 2012

The city has had a junior role in how the funding for the East-West Interlocal Agreement was distributed, Cape Coral Councilmember Kevin McGrail said during a city council workshop meeting held Monday.

McGrail said not only did Cape Coral have little say in how money was spent, but “We weren’t even getting receipts. We were paying bills with no accounting.”

“This agreement has cost the city. We’re playing a silent partner role,” McGrail said. “If we don’t broach the subject, it’ll get kicked down the road.”

McGrail also said their share of the toll money was used for a study on the Colonial corridor which, he added, was supposed to end at Solomon Boulevard but actually ended at I-75.

Cape Councilmember Marty McClain stopped McGrail, saying studies have to be done by people who are experts.

“No one here can say the corridor study was worthless. It was done by people smarter than us,” McClain said. “Studies have to be done.”

McGrail said that since his letter to the county commission concerning toll distributions, the auditing has been cleaned up and the accounting improved, and that every four years the agreement can be revisited.

Still, some believe the 60-40 split between county and Cape Coral isn’t good enough.

“I desire a larger split. I think it should be 60-40 in favor of Cape Coral. This has been a white elephant for years,” councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said. “(Philip) Boller was instrumental in bringing this to the forefront.”

Mayor John Sullivan said he wanted more local use out of the money.

“Our 40 percent should be spent on city roads. It could be used for roadways we’re responsible for,” Sullivan said, in knowledge of Cape Coral’s aging roads.

In other council business, Steve Neff, public works director, gave his 2013 stormwater assessment proposal and council’s role.

The stormwater fee will stay at $75, where it has been since 2006. The fee rate resolution is required in conjunction with the budget process.

The resolution must be adopted by Sept. 15. A formal endorsement by council must be made next Monday at the regular meeting so property owners can be notified. The notices must be mailed by July 31.

The rate will be presented for introduction on Aug. 13, with adoption on Aug. 20.

Neff said among the projects needed are replacement of 130 miles of steel pipe with longer lasting polyethylene, and continued work on residential swales as well as the work to improve drainage on Diplomat Parkway.

Also discussed was American Tower’s request for consent to modify AT&T Mobility’s and MetroPCS Florida’s equipment at the communication tower at Fire Station No. 6 on Chiquita Boulevard.