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Assessment rolls set by City Council

By Staff | Aug 27, 2019

Cape Coral City Council on Monday took one more step toward setting its budget by setting the assessment costs for lot mowing, solid waste collection, fire protection and stormwater.

And a couple of them resulted in substantial debate, with one without unanimous consent.

The big controversy came during the discussion on the solid waste assessment. Waste Pro was seeking a 1.64 percent increase in the assessment, to $199.59, an increase in a little more than $2.

The alternative was to deny the increase and go with the same assessment as this year, an alternative that Councilmember Rick Williams motioned to pass at the same time Marilyn Stout motioned to pass the assessment with the increase.

The concern Williams has is quality of service, something that has been an issue in the past, and continues to be in spots, especially when dealing with construction waste such as drywall and old shelving.

Councilmember Jennifer Nel-son, who has taken on the issue, said service has improved and that an increase is warranted.

Bill Jones of Waste Pro said the company has been working on improved customer service and has worked with staff and code enforcement.

Williams isn’t sure. He asked if the 1.64 percent increase would improve service and wasn’t convinced.

“The most complaints I get are for trash pickup. This is a major issue which is why I’m balking. To me, it’s a raise for mediocre service,” Williams said before being the lone dissenting vote on granting the increase.

Another decision the council had to make was on the fire assessment and whether to make it 62 percent or 64 percent, one of the three legs on City Manager John Szerlag’s stool of fiscal sustainability.

The big hope is that city residents could pay the assessment and get a better ISO score in return, which would mean lower insurance premiums.

City Council voted unanimously to pass the 62 percent fire service assessment, which on a $150,000 home would save the homeowner $2.45.

City Council also voted to approve Option 2 for the lot mowing assessment, which would increase the assessment in District 1, and $7 in the other three districts.

For stormwater, the council approved the 2020 assessment for $119, a $4 increase from this cycle.

In other business, council also passed a resolution to terminate the lease agreement between the city and South Florida Canoe and Kayak Club as a consent agenda item.

However, it was not before mutual words of admiration were exchanged between the council and Melinda Mack, who ran the club, and Heather Mazurkie-wicz, the parent of Mia, who is one of the best paddlers in the country for her age.

The lease ends on Sept. 30, when the club will move to a temporary location at Sirenia Vista Park, at 3916 Ceitus Parkway.