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Sewer committee seeks cost estimates

By Staff | Jul 22, 2015

Basic cost information is being sought from the Captiva Community Panel sewer committee to see if implementing a sewer system on Captiva is beneficial for residents and business owners.

Jay Brown, who is a member of the sewer committee, said after meeting with Dave and John Jensen after the June meeting, they felt the appropriate next step would be to develop some cost estimates that would be involved with switching to a sewer system before any additional work is done with the project.

Treasurer Jack Cunningham said before they continue further down the path of digging, he feels they need to somehow determine if there is a real interest in the public through a survey. He said they need to be careful that they do not get the cart ahead of the horse.

“This is just a basic fact-finding mission,” Brown said. “I don’t have an opinion. I don’t have any opinion whatsoever. I’m just reacting to the fact that we have all this community input, substantial amount of input of people interested in sewers. I don’t take that as a majority of people interested in sewers; I’m just saying we have a lot of input generally that some people are interested in sewer. It is our duty of CCP to at least do a basic exploration to see if there is any kind of rationale to seriously consider a sewer project.”

Brown said he would like to gather information from Lee County Assistant County Manager Doug Meurer, Tween Waters and the contractor that installed the Sanibel sewer system. He said he would also like to gather information on how many water users there are on Captiva and how many of those users are residential and commercial.

“Our plan was to get some of the cost information by maybe October and November period to share with the panel,” Brown said. “I don’t want to get everybody on Captiva interested in the project now when we have no idea how much it is going to cost, or what is involved in the project. If we start communicating with people about the possibility of sewer now you are going to get people rushing to a bunch of judgment without any rationalizations from the board.”

The board also talked about obtaining a letter from the City of Sanibel confirming in writing that Captiva could hook up to their sewer system, if that is where the project heads.

Captiva Community Panel board member Bob Walter said although he has had conversations that they could hook up to Sanibel’s sewer system, he thinks it would be beneficial to get that in writing for Captiva residents.

“I was suggesting as a panel that you have that document in hand,” Walter said. “I have had the same conversations and people say they are interested. I think it’s good business.”

Although sewer committee member Dave Jensen initially agreed that they do not want to waste energy with the project and a letter would be beneficial, he changed his mind and said it would be helpful to get cost estimates first.

Brown disagreed from the beginning that they should have something in writing because they have received verbal confirmation from Mayor Kevin Ruane that they could hook into Sanibel sewer.

“They are going to have to expand their system,” President Mike Kelly said. “I’m not sure they have the capacity to handle us. I think it is premature to ask a resolution from the Sanibel council.”

Brown said before they ask anything of the Sanibel council, he thinks they should have some level of interest that they are in fact going to pursue a sewer system.

“We may develop some basic cost information and we may say that it doesn’t make sense to do this,” he said. “I’m not saying we are going to come out of this saying we don’t know. I would rather get some basic facts in place and let the panel look at those basic facts and say ‘hey this makes some sense, let’s put some effort into this, or it makes no sense at all.”

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.