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Cape council considers charter school system audit

By Staff | Nov 25, 2015

Downtowner Car Wash’s new location project on Cape Coral Parkway came one step closer to reality Monday night when City Council members voted unanimously to vacate an alleyway plus associated and underlying utility easements so that construction can begin.

Council approved the Downtowner’s planned development project a couple of months ago knowing then that the developer would return to ask for the right-of-way vacation. All utility equipment serving the entire block will be relocated at the expense of the developer while the city will maintain its customary easements around the perimeter of the property.

The alley linked Southest 17th Avenue with Southeast 17th Place basically behind Ford’s Garage location on Cape Coral Parkway and the request had the full support of the owners of both properties.

Some residents, and some on council, voiced concern in August that the car wash location was not right for the project being so close to the Cape Coral Bridge entry to the city. All parties agreed, however, that the project is better than the vacant building that sits on the property fronting the parkway next to Ford’s Garage.

Construction should begin as soon as the city staff approves the site plan.

City Auditor Margaret Krym’s annual routine report to council Monday night turned into a lengthy discussion on auditing the city’s charter school system.

Krym told council when the city audited the school system several years ago, the system was burdened by the audit bill because the school board does not account for the cost in its budget. Krym asked for direction on how to proceed or even if council thought there was a need to audit.

In Krym’s opinion, an audit would benefit both the city and the school system to make sure money is spent efficiently in the school operation.

“We need to have the conversation with the school board and superintendent,” said Councilman Rick Williams. “It’s not a matter of if we will do it. It’s a matter of who is going to pay for it.”

Council directed Krym and City Manager John Szerlag to open discussions with the school board on the matter during negotiation of the lease agreement renewal. Councilmember Jessica Cosden, liaison to the school board, will take the matter up with the board and report back to council.

With Cape Coral’s population growth, the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization is granting the city one additional voting seat on the board. At last week’s council meeting new council member Marilyn Stout was appointed to serve as a non-voting alternate to the MPO. Monday council voted her to the city’s fifth seat on the MPO and Cosden then was appointed to serve as the alternate.

Council also unanimously approved amending the city’s fire code ordinances to be consistent with the current Florida and National Fire Codes. The change eliminates the Fire Code Board of Adjustments & Appeals and replaces it with the Cape Coral Construction Regulation Board as the agency to hear all disputes and appeals.

Council’s next meeting is on Monday at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers and a special workshop meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Nicholas Annex.