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Council approves sewer rate increase

By Staff | Sep 14, 2012

The Sanibel City Council approved an

increase in residential and commercial

sewer rates for fiscal year 2012-13 during

a regular meeting Saturday.

The council voted

5-0 to adopt a resolution

that establishes a

revised schedule of

rates for the sewer system

and that provides

for a 1 percent increase

to rates and connection

fees for the upcoming


Under the new

rates, residential customers will pay

$54.04 per month, or $162.12 per quarter,

per dwelling unit. Commercial customers

will pay from $31.39 per month to

$786.09 per month based on the size of

the meter.

Commercial rates could range from

$94.17 to $2,358.27 per quarter.

The connection fee under the approved

rates will be $3,954.69.

The council also unanimously adopted

a resolution that does not provide a rate

increase for general reclaimed water customers

in the next fiscal year. Customers

currently pay $2.42 per 1,000 gallons

and will continue to do so.

A public hearing date of Oct. 2 was set

for amending an ordinance that pertains to

the permit fee for mangrove trimming and

removal. City staff has proposed cutting

the trimming fee 33 percent from $108 to


James Evans, director of natural

resources, cited in a memo that the purpose

is to encourage owners to obtain permits,

or exemption letters, before trimming

and better reflect the time needed to

process them.

“The permitting process provides staff

an opportunity to meet with property

owners and/or contractors prior to trimming

to educate them on the city’s mangrove

trimming and preservation program

and to discuss proper trimming techniques

and the value of mangroves,” Evans


Seaward trimming permits last three

years and cost $36 per year – double.

Staffers came to $72 for a mangrove

permit based on the fact that it is valid for

one year and the process is the same,

except for a second follow-up inspection

that ensures compliance with the mangrove

permit conditions.

Under the consent agenda, Councilman

Jim Jennings pulled an item that involved

the approval of an architect agreement for

the Center4Life project. He posed an

option of spending some of the allocated

funds on the interior.

“Maybe we can move some material

walls there,” Jennings said, explaining

that the classes at the center are packed

and some voiced interest. “Maybe

increase the size of the one room they use

for voting.”

According to City Manager Judith

Zimomra, approximately $400,000 was

budgeted for the roof, air conditioner and

structural improvements. After the estimated

roof and air conditioner cost, interior

work had to be eliminated.

“There’s very little dollars left for interior

improvements,” she said.

The council voted 5-0 to table the consent

agenda item for the Sept. 18 meeting

to allow for further discussion and to

“tighten up” the plan.

The board unanimously approved other

consent agenda items, including:

  • Carrying forward the 2011-12 classification

plan and pay schedule reflecting

pay grades and pay ranges for non-union

and union employees

  • An approval with the Florida

Division of Emergency Management for

federally funded public assistance for

Tropical Storm Debby

  • A lease agreement for the operation

of a farmer’s market at 800 Dunlop Road

on Sundays from Nov. 1 to April 30 that

entails a one-year lease, with two oneyear

extensions available

  • A mix of budgets for various exercise

programs at the recreation center,

such as $40,095 for land aerobics,

cycling, pilates and power sculpting

  • A grant in the amount of $111,000

for marine law enforcement

  • The Community Housing Resources

(CHR) contact for five years

The meeting involved an update from

Vice Mayor Mick Denham and Mayor

Kevin Ruane on water quality issues and

talks with Lee County officials.

Councilman Marty Harrity spoke on

the proposed three-year agreement with

the Historical Museum and Village, while

Jean Ann Dewalt, a member of the Lee

County Human Services Council gave an

update on programs and issues.