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Council taps topics of upcoming BOCC meeting

By Staff | Feb 5, 2013

City council prioritized the subjects it wants to discuss with the Board of County Commissioners during its regular meeting Monday at City Hall.

In what was the final discussion item in a fairly swift meeting, the city council identified the Ceitus boat lift, toll agreement, animal control and emergency medical services as the things in most urgent need of discussion.

The order of importance varied from council member to council member. Marty McClain seemed to think animal control needed to be a priority.

“Come summer, we have a $1 million bill due to the county,” McClain said. “That’s on the back of my mind.”

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said that’s fine, but the real solution is something the city can’t afford.

“Animal control is a concern, but we don’t have a leg to stand on. We would have to spend $1.5 million to create our own animal control,” Chulakes-Leetz said.

Police Chief Jay Murphy said an alternative was available in which Fort Myers and Cape Coral would share in the cost, about $750,000.

“We’re being overcharged and Lee County is benefitting from the revenue stream,” Murphy said. “We’re paying ad valorem and $1 million for 25 percent of the usage. Equity issues need to be addressed.”

Councilmember Kevin McGrail said the Ceitus boatlift remains tops, since the county and city still seem to be on a collision course to litigation.

“We have an opportunity to jointly agree to get off that path,” McGrail said. “Nobody wants to sue anybody; we can get out of that realm.”

For Chulakes-Leetz, the main issue is Emergency Management Services.

“Cape Coral citizens pay twice for emergency services. That’s $15- to $20 million of taxpayer money that can serve our city better,” Chulakes-Leetz said, who suggested a motion to prioritize the items of discussion, but it fell on deaf ears when it seemed council had already done that.

The joint meeting is expected to take place in late March or early April.

In other business, the city council voted unanimously on the schedule for early voting in a consent item that was meant only for discussion.

Chulakes-Leetz made the motion to approve the measure and the $6,000 cost per election. However, Sullivan was skeptical about voting on something scheduled to be a discussion item.

“I have trouble labeling something as a discussion item and voting on it. It’s the second time,” Sullivan said.

However, he was mollified when McGrail said it was about getting people to vote and not in the same realm as paving a road.

Early voting will take place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7 for the Sept. 10 primaries, and from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 for the Nov. 5 general election, according to the city clerk’s office memorandum.

The mayoral seat as well as the District 1, 4 and 6 seats will be up for grabs.