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Cape Council to consider meeting rules, bus safety

By Staff | May 16, 2019



Meeting rules and school bus safety will be among the items discussed in Cape Coral City Council’s workshop meeting Monday.

The new meeting rules, which has been discussed the last two weeks and tabled last Monday, will receive further debate.

The new rules, which were drafted by Councilmember Jessica Cosden, include a section that would allow council members to appear and vote at meetings via telephone, teleconference or other electronic media.

Cosden, who is expecting a child during hiatus and will not return to the dais for several weeks afterward, wrote a memo to the mayor and fellow council members Thursday which said surrounding cities, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale, allow their members to appear via telephone, videoconference or any other electronic media, if there is a medical reason or an “extraordinary circumstance.”

“Resolution 18-R94 Exhibit ‘A’ defines that a member must get approval in advance from the Council, be allowed to participate in the meeting as though he/she were there in person and shall not be counted in ascertaining a quorum for the meeting,” Cosden said in her memo.

Cosden is the first sitting councilwoman who will give birth while in office, according to Maureen Buice, city spokesperson.

Among the other changes in the proposed rules is a modification in the timing of the publishing of the weekly agenda on the city website, including the backup data.

The resolution proposes to move the publication deadline from 3 p.m. on Wednesday when council members receive the packets to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The city has not been adhering to its current rules deadline and the change would be more in line with the actual publication time.

The resolution also strikes the previous section regarding council member absences, which is addressed now in the section regarding electronic participation.

* Bus safety

Council also will receive an update on school bus stop safety best practices and future improvements. The city, as well as North Fort Myers, have received lots of help from non-profit organizations regarding the placement of park benches at bus stop areas.

The Rotary of Cape Coral and Benches For Our Babes, a grass-roots organization, have both been constructing benches and placing them at area bus stops even as the school year is reaching its end.

This is in reaction to a pair of school bus related fatalities earlier this year

* Trail

The city was awarded a SUN Trail grant for the design of a 12-foot wide, 6.5-mile multi-use trail on the north side of Van Buren Parkway from Burnt Store road to El Dorado Boulevard; the west side of El Dorado Boulevard from Van Buren Parkway to Kismet Parkway; and on the north side of Kismet Parkway from El Dorado Boulevard to Del Prado Boulevard.

Persides Zambrano of the Planning and Permitting division, is expected to give a presentation on the trail, which is expected to have the first part constructed from 2020-22. With the second phase coming pending more grants.

Phase I, from Burnt Store Road to Nelson Street (including the city’s Kismet Parkway widening and future utility connections), will cost $5.51 million, with Phase 2, from Nelson Street to Del Prado, about $5.26 million, for a total of $10.77 million.

The meeting will take place Monday at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers in City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.