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Captiva panel OKs budget, elects new members

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Dec 15, 2020

The Captiva Community Panel approved next year’s budget and elected candidates for two seats opening up in January at its recent meeting, as well as heard an update on the iguana control MSTU.

On Dec. 8, President David Mintz and staff presented a proposed budget for 2021 that consisted of $65,000 in revenues and $75,000 in operations expenses, resulting in a deficit of $10,000. The budget proposed for 2020 was also unbalanced, with $92,000 in revenues and about $103,938 in expenses.

During discussion, he explained that all or part of the funds budgeted for some expenses may not be needed in the end, like the $16,365 for the Sidewalk Engineering Committee, $14,000 for the Sea Level Rise Committee and $4,000 for the Captiva Code/Ordinance Committee, based upon various factors.

Mintz also pointed to the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty surrounding it.

“There’s so many unknowns at this point,” he said. “I think this is as good a guess as we can do.”

Some on the panel shared that they felt uncomfortable approving an unbalanced budget, while others raised concern with listing one revenue line item as “other income” without any specifics or plan.

After some further discussion, the panel agreed on increasing “fund-raising events” from $5,000 to $20,000 and eliminating the $20,000 “other income” — reducing revenues from $65,000 to $60,000. It also increased “Website” costs from $1,200 to $5,000 — raising expenses from $75,000 to $78,800.

The panel then agreed to cover the $18,800 deficit from its cash on hand fund of about $84,193.

With revenues and expenses balanced, a motion to approve the budget passed.

Also at the meeting, the panel voted on filling two CCP-appointed seats starting in January.

There are 11 seats on the panel. Appointments to those seats are divided among the panel and its Nominating Committee, Captiva Island Property Owners Association and Captiva Civic Association.

“The Nominating Committee nominated John Jensen for another three-year term. The Nominating Committee nominated Linda Laird for her first three-year term,” Mintz reported on the group’s behalf.

He noted that the panel can vote for someone else and it was opened to the community.

“Two people submitted their names and resumes,” Mintz said, citing Suzy Abare and John Silvia.

Permitted two votes each, the panel members were asked to contact CCP Administrator Ken Gooderham via the Zoom app to make their choices. Later on during the meeting, Mintz announced that Jensen and Laird had received the most votes in the election and would take up the seats.

“They received a respectful number of votes,” he added of Abare and Silvia.

Also during the meeting, Gooderham gave an update on the petitions for the iguana MSTU.

“As of the weekend, we had received approximately 150 petitions from property owners,” he said, adding that the aim is to hit about 600 to meet the majority threshold needed for its approval.

Gooderham reported that there are some problems with some of those received, including no strap number or a partial strap number written down or a legal description written instead of the strap. He has been in contact with county staff and he is working with them to resolve those issues, he explained.

“So we’re about a quarter of the way to the total,” Gooderham said.

“And that’s basically with only snail mail and a couple of emails sent out,” he added.

Gooderham reported that he also learned from the county that even if the MSTU is approved, property owners will still have to provide permission for the trapper to access their land to catch the iguanas.

“For those people who were worried about unfettered access, that will not be the case,” he said.

The petitions must be signed and delivered to the county by April 1.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Mintz reported that newly-elected Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane is aware of the panel’s efforts to finalize and receive approval for its Captiva Code amendments. He outlined the next steps for the panel and offered to serve as chair on a Code Committee for the panel if it supports creating one.

December marked Mintz’s last meeting as his term expires at the end of the year.

After being asked, a group of panel members agreed to be part of the Code Committee with Mintz and see the project through the county’s advisory committees to get it in front of the Lee commissioners.

– Mintz proposed amendments for an existing ordinance based off of the recommendations of the panel’s Golf Cart Safety Committee. They included setting a minimum driver’s age of 21, not allowing open alcoholic beverages or the possession of alcohol, and requiring leased and rented golf carts and ones provided by rental properties to display identifying information for the company or property.

Committee Chair Treasurer Antje Baumgarten followed up after, reporting that the group has been discussing the age limit aspect with the community and the community does not think it will improve safety. She added that there have hardly been any incidents within that age range of teens up to 21.

Baumgarten said they will consider passing on the age limit at their next meeting.

– The panel discussed two properties — Sea Oats Luxury Estate and Sea Palms Luxury Estate — that appear to be in violation of the regulations for their residential single-family estate (RSC-2) zone.

Properties in the RSC-2 can be rented out to single-family groups, but not to corporations, clubs, fraternities and such; there is also a seven-day minimum. According to online listings, the two sites are available for corporate retreats, film, TV and photo shoots, and more — for less than seven days.

Mintz noted that one listing said the property “accommodates 75 guests.”