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Sanibel City Council discusses monthly stipend

By Staff | Jan 13, 2015

Although the issue of paying a monthly stipend to the Sanibel City Council will not be fully addressed until March of 2017, it’s gaining plenty of attention nonetheless.

In Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Attorney Kenneth Cuyler, brought up for discussion the language of the ballot measure which would pay the Sanibel City Council members a $1,500 a month stipend.

But the ballot measure would not be voted on by the public until the March 2017 city general election, because the deadline of putting it on the 2015 ballot was not met and the 2016 election will be held strictly for federal and state.

Mayor Kevin Ruane suggested a City Council stipend because he stated the $50 a day meal allowance the state mandates for work trips is not enough, and there have been out of pocket expenses incurred from the members during these trips.

But first, there will need to be a first and second reading of the language for the ballot measure, with public comments heard and an adoption of the ordinance. The ordinance would only become effective upon a vote of approval by a majority of votes by the public.

“I certainly don’t see any urgency to having a reading in the next meeting,” Mayor Ruane said. “The real issue here is the (ballot) language. There is no urgency, we have to go through first and second reading, yet. Then on March of 2017, the people will get to vote yes or no.”

The language on the ballot prepared by Cuyler states: “Shall Section 3.03 of the Sanibel City Charter be amended to authorize and provide to each Sanibel City Council member a stipend in the amount of $1,500 per calendar month during each Council member’s term(s) of office commencing March, 2017?”

In other City Council news:

Each of the incumbent Planning Commission members were reappointed by the City Council. Dr. Phillip Marks and Holly Smith each were voted back onto the Planning Commission, with applicants Robyn Cook and Thomas Foley each on the Council’s ballot, but coming up short.

The Sanibel Bicycle Club proposal to develop a bike safety video for people who are planning to visit Sanibel and use the bike paths was discussed, with several members of the club in attendance.

The estimated cost to produce the four to five-minute video is between $20-25,000, with the City of Sanibel asked to pay $4,000, with two commitments already made by the Sanibel Trails in Motion Fund for $4,000 and $2,000 by the Sanibel Chamber of Commerce. The TDC Promotion Grant has also added $4,000 to the project, with more grants and donations being sought.

After discussion of the scope of work, it was recommended there needed to be more done with it.

The Sanibel Public Works will coordinate with the Sanibel Bicycle Club to define the work scope and then be brought back to the City Council.

After having correspondence with Lee County, it was passed by a 5-0 vote to put up lightning warning signs on the Bowman’s and Turner Beach sites. It was suggested by Mayor Ruane to put up the same lightning warning signs on all Sanibel beaches, which will be brought back to Council for another vote in the future.

The warning signs states, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” and to stop all activities. It also has a scan area people can use with their i-Phones to access weather-related apps.

It was also passed 5-0 to put on the agenda a power point presentation on the traffic count for the Sanibel/Captiva Islands and the Causeway in the City Council’s February meeting.