Council OKs funds for road repaving
Roadway repaving could be coming to a street near you, especially for those residents in the northwest and southeast sections of Cape Coral. City Council approved spending $3.7 million to continue its paving master plan at Monday’s meeting.
Just over $1 million of the funds, which were recovered from a recent settlement with Embarq for utility relocation, will cover 5.3 miles of roads in northwest Cape and 5.2 miles for southeast Cape roads. The contract was awarded to Community Asphalt Corp.
The city recently received a $2.7 million settlement from LCEC for utility relocation projects along Santa Barbara and Del Prado boulevards and voted 5-3 Monday to spend the money on its road repaving program.
Council debated the use of the funds, which by law were earmarked for transportation projects. Three council members wanted to put the money toward paying down debt accrued for road projects. Mayor Marni Sawicki, Richard Leon and John Carioscia pleaded with fellow members for the debt service use, but the rest of the panel believed repaving was more important at this point.
“We’ve made promises to repave neglected roads,” said Councilmember Rick Williams. “Money is already in the budget to pay down the debt, so let’s do it. Let’s help our residents. To me it’s a no-brainer.”
At the end of the three-hour meeting, Leon made a motion to approve a 5 percent raise for the city’s 119 non-bargaining full-time employees. He specifically left out the pay range increase that led to council voting down both increases at last week’s meeting.
Almost immediately Councilmember Rana Erbrick challenged the motion as the direct opposite of what council previously voted to do.
“I’m voting no for the same reasons as last week,” Erbrick said. “I believe council was clear that we were going to wait for the total compensation study to be completed before we address these raises.”
“My concern has always been the range,” said Sawicki, who voted against the resolution last week. “I took a look at the whole picture and came to the conclusion that these people deserve a raise. As long as it is separate from the pay range I’m good with it.”
Council voted 5-3 to approve the motion with Councilmembers Jim Burch, Carioscia and Erbrick dissenting.
Council also approved a $38 million budget amendment for the 2015 fiscal year. Finance director Victoria Bateman informed the members that the change comes from moving balances from 2014 forward to 2015. City Manager John Szerlag said he purposely underestimates revenue and overestimates expenses when drawing up budget figures.
Szerlag and UEP project manager Paul Clinghan brought council up to date on the progress of the Southwest 6 & 7 utilities expansion. Clinghan said all properties in SW 6 & 7 will be ready to connect to city water, sewer and irrigation by the end of June.
The city then will turn its attention to the North 2 area north of Pine Island Road, which is the next section scheduled to begin later this year and North 1 to follow in 2017.