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CEPD hires lobbyist, gets immediate results

By Staff | Aug 24, 2012

During its August meeting, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District discussed the possibility of a partnership with Collier County on next summer’s beach nourishment project. The partnership could enable Captiva to save on mobilization costs, but several pieces would have to fall into place.

The board felt it would be worth exploring the idea in order to save money, even if it meant Captiva would have to start their project in June 2013 due to Collier requiring a start date of Sept. 1, 2013. In a motion made by Commissioner Mike Mullins and seconded by Commissioner Harry Kaiser, the board unanimously voted to contact Collier County about possibly forming a partnership.

Following a 4 to 1 vote, with Mullins opposing, the board passed a resolution to hire lobbyist Greg Burns with the Van Scoyoc Association out of Washington for up to one year at a cost of $6,500 per month.

Burns will lobby on behalf of Captiva for federal emergency storm funding from damage caused by Tropical Storm Debby and to have Captiva placed on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2013 work plan for the next beach nourishment project.

Chairman Jim Boyle said there is a risk of not receiving any money from Washington because Captiva is competing with other communities up the coast and he pointed out the drought conditions in the Midwest that could affect the availability of federal emergency dollars. “This is why we’re hiring a lobbyist,” he said.

Since the meeting, Burns has already been extremely helpful even though his contract does not begin until Sept. 1. Burns and CEPD Administrator Kathleen Rooker worked collectively on the issue of the Army Corps program incorrectly listing Captiva’s beach nourishment project as a reimbursable project. That code has now been changed.

“Since reimbursable projects tend to go to the bottom of the funding list, it was important the code be removed in order for the project to receive federal funding up front as the project progresses,” explained Rooker.

Additionally, the board voted 4 to 1 to hire Hans Wilson and Associates out of Fort Myers for management consultant services. Mullins voted against hiring Wilson, whose one-year contract at $184,000 will go into effect Sept. 1.

“I think (Hans Wilson) is well-respected and should bring real skill to the CEPD,” said Chairman Boyle.

Important Dates:

Tentative Budget Hearing 3 p.m. Sept. 6 in Ding Darling Room at Tween Waters Inn

Final Budget Hearing 5:10 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Wakefield Room at Tween Waters Inn