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County supports Captiva Community Panel with iguana control

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

To keep up the momentum of iguana control, the Captiva Community Panel has worked out an agreement with Lee County, which the board was in favor of last Tuesday.

Captiva Community Panel President David Mintz said an awful lot of iguana’s have been caught, as well as the finding of babies, eggs and nests on the island.

“I was asked by the panel to reach out to the county to see how the county could assist us,” he said.

The panel provided an initial $5,000 to support the trapping of the iguanas, and voted to provide another $2,000 to support the continuous support of the person they contracted as they reached out to the county.

“I spoke to Doug Meurer, assistant county manager and he advised me as the president of the panel that the county does not support the control, or ratification of exotic creatures,” Mintz told the panel. “They don’t have a department to do it and they have never funded it directly. When Boca Grande had the problem of iguanas they were required to tax themselves for the control of iguanas. Sanibel has retained the same person and they pay directly out of a tax base to control the iguanas.”

After that phone call he called County Commissioner John Manning and asked for him to intervene on the panel’s behalf.

“He went to his staff publicly and advised the county staff about our problem for options to consider to get some assistance from the county before it gets completely out of control,” Mintz said.

It was shared by the county manager that they do not deal with exotic creatures and it is up to the community to raise their own taxes through the municipal service taxing unit to control the problem.

“To go through all that trouble for $25,000 a year to control iguanas . . . to create a MSTU is a difficult and timely process,” he said.

Again, Mintz received a call from the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant County Manager Pete Winton stating again that they are not in the business for animal control, but he was very sympathetic to their problem and they wanted to help.

“The proposal is they would fund, on an interim basis, the continuation of hiring our trapper for up to a year, so we don’t loose control of the process. They would directly fund the trapping service to continue the process,” he explained.

In addition, at their legal cost and assistance, they would set up a MTSU for Captiva and waive the petition process and fund and administer the formal mailing process.

Mintz said the county would wait for a while, so the panel could do an educational campaign to gather support from the community for the MTSU. He said $25,000 would be raised every year through the MTSU. The total would be achieved by residents paying approximately $25 of taxes per million dollars of taxable value.

The panel approved the interim funding of $25,000 for up to a year for the trapper, as well as placing the MTSU on the Board of Commissioners agenda.