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CCP to move forward on iguana MSTU

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Aug 21, 2020

The Captiva Community Panel agreed to proceed forward on creating a possible MSTU to cover iguana control services for the island and approved amended language for its bylaws relating to term limits for vacancy appointees, as well as heard an update on its suggested Captiva Code changes.

At the Aug. 11 meeting, President David Mintz reported that staff had heard back from the county regarding the panel’s request to waive a notary requirement tied into the creation of a MSTU. County staff reported that it would recommend to the Lee County Commission that it lift the requirement.

In forming a MSTU under the county, petitions would be sent to property owners who would be assessed as part of the new taxing unit. Fifty percent plus one of the total petitions sent must be signed, notarized and returned — “votes” in favor of the proposed unit — for the MSTU to be approved.

Due to the pandemic, the CCP had decided to ask if the notarization part could be waived.

Mintz also reported that county staff provided an overview of what the collection schedule for the MSTU assessment would look like if Captiva property owners approved the new taxing unit.

With a millage rate of 0.0415 for fiscal year 2021-22, the county would raise about $57,600 the first year, which would cover $25,000 for iguana control services, set up $15,000 in reserves and enable the CCP to start to repay the county — as agreed — for funds it currently is spending for those services.

The second year the millage rate would drop to 0.0315, with the county raising about $43,700 to provide for the services. It would raise about $31,200 for the third year, with a rate of 0.0225.

“(It) will reduce significantly over time,” Mintz said of the millage rate.

Once the county is repaid, the assessment will solely cover the services.

Mintz explained that county staff is seeking approval from the CCP on the plan as outlined before proceeding forward with asking the county commissioners to waive the notarization requirement. He noted that the CCP would have from October to April to secure the needed petitions — about 600.

“From my perspective, I think that’s doable,” he said.

Several on the panel voiced opposition to the CCP having to even create a MSTU, stating that the county should pay for the services and pointing to the bed tax revenue generated by the island. After further discussion of other options, Mintz questioned if the panel should have the county proceed.

“Is there really an alternative at this point?” Panel Member Jay Brown asked.

“I don’t think so,” Mintz said.

He added that he recognizes there is a concern among the CCP that the county is not paying for the services, but he thinks the panel at least has an obligation to present the plan to property owners.

“If they do not approve the MSTU, they do not approve it,” Mintz said.

A motion to proceed as planned with the petition was made and unanimously approved.

Term limits for appointees

At its July meeting, the CCP voted to count vacancy appointments of 18 months or more as one full term, meaning appointees would only be eligible for one more three-year term, per the panel’s bylaws on a two-term limit. At last week’s meeting, Mintz presented language to amend the bylaws as such.

He explained that the proposed amendment basically adds three sentences to the bylaws.

Per the language, a panel member filling a vacancy for 18 months or more shall have been deemed to have served a full three-year term and as such is eligible for a second three-year term. In addition, a panel member filling a vacancy for less than 18 months is eligible for two additional three-year terms.

A motion to approve the amended language was approved unanimously.

Captiva Code

Mintz provided an update on the suggested Captiva Code changes that the panel submitted to Lee County for review and consideration. County staff has finished reviewing the recommendations.

“They basically suggested we don’t really need any of these Code amendments,” he said.

Mintz cited changes the panel recommended on topics like fertilizer, dune vegetation, outdoor lighting, chapel parking and plastic straws, adding that staff recommends sticking to the existing county codes.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction,” he said.

Mintz reported that the CCP went through the same thing when it redid the Captiva Plan.

“We’re going through the same process,” he said.

Mintz suggested that the panel accept an invitation to meet with county staff to present its case and hear what they have to say. He added that the CCP can then decide whether to go to the county commission.

“I think this is just the process we have to go through,” he said.

“I think they want to see how committed we are,” Mintz added.

In other news

– Panel Member and Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown reported that he hopes to receive the engineering proposals from Kimley-Horn and CONSOR Engineers by the September meeting.

In addition, he reported that he has a meeting scheduled with Lee County Public Utilities Director Pamela Keyes, in which he plans to discuss the two proposals with her and possible funding.

– The Sea Level Rise Committee reported that both Captiva and Sanibel are part of a new grant proposal request for about $500,000 from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. The association’s proposal deals with new technology, a type of solar-based water-level sensors.

Deployable along the coast, the senors detect tides and storms and use AI for forecasting.

If the grant is approved, Captiva and Sanibel would be among the areas to have senors deployed.