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Cape goes equal-opportunity with its metal detector scans

By Staff | Oct 29, 2013

The city of Cape Coral expanded its metal detection scans Monday to everyone entering council chambers, including elected officials.

The private elevator leading to council chambers was closed, so city council members had to go through the metal detectors just like everyone else – and they were tripping the alarm, just like everyone else, too.

Police Chief Bart Connelly said this will not be a one-time deal. He said it was the city’s idea to treat the council members like anyone else.

Councilmember Marty McClain, who was able to get through on the first try after putting his money clip on the tray, said he wasn’t sure why council had to go through security, though he had suspicions he would keep to himself.

McClain may have been referring to a fellow council member who made comments in the heat of the moment after reporting his home had been vandalized. The police chief has questioned the appropriateness of those comments.

Councilmember Rana Erbrick had the rest of council laughing as she tripped the alarm repeatedly, forcing her to take off all her jewelry before finally getting through.

That might have been the highlight of the meeting, which was among the shortest of the year, finishing in just about 90 minutes since there was only one consent item and one resolution up for a vote.

City Auditor Margaret Krym put forth a consent item to renew the contract of the external auditor, Clifton Larson Allen, for the 2014 fiscal year, rather than send the item to a Request For Proposal and potentially have to pay significantly more for a new auditor.

The council voted unanimously to pay the firm $82,500 to work for them the next 12 months, with many of them happy with the firm’s performance.

In other business, the city set public hearing dates for an ordinance to approve the lease agreement between the city and the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club and another one to find city-owned property to be municipal surplus and authorizing a trade of the property to build a lift station for the Southwest 6&7 utilities expansion project.

Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz also announced that the city of Cape Coral would once again get the free seat on the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.

The city council also decided unanimously to settle its case with Daybreak Fellowship Church for $50,000.

In 2001, the church purchased 13.5 acres on Trafalgar Parkway. Three years later, it sold the land to the Lee County School District.

City attorneys had claimed the church owed the city more than $350,000 in unpaid assessments for water and sewer.

The church claimed once they sold the property to the school district, the assessments were inherited by the district, which is exempt.

The church won its case against the city in September, after which the church’s attorney, Steve Hartsell filed a motion for the recovery of court costs and legal fees, seeking an award of more than $63,000.