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CEPD appoints commissioners, names new chair

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

The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission recently approved full-term seats for two interim members and reorganized its leadership, as well as heard a presentation on Captiva’s tax contributions.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Rene Miville to Seat 2 and Richard Pyle to Seat 5. Pyle was appointed in November 2019 after former Commissioner Dave Jensen left, and later Miville was appointed in July after former Commissioner Michael Lanigan resigned.

Prior to the votes, Administrator Director John Riegert reported on other possible candidates.

“We did not have any responses to our advertisements,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Chairman Mike Mullins reiterated that he wanted to step down from his lead role starting with the new year but still serve as a commissioner. He asked if anyone else was interested.

“I want to stay the same as I am right now,” Secretary Harry Kaiser said.

Treasurer Dick Pyle reported that he also wished to remain in his current role.

Miville indicated that he would be willing to step up.

A motion was made to nominate Miville as the new chair; it passed unanimously 5-0.

A motion for Kaiser and Pyle to retain their current officer positions was also approved 5-0.

Mullins noted that a new vice chair will have to be picked in January as current Vice Chair Bob Walter’s term is expiring. He suggested that incoming Commissioner John Silvia may be interested.

During commissioner comments, Mullins thanked Walter for his service.

“You will be missed,” he said.

Walter reported that he has served on the commission for about six years.

“It’s been quite an experience and enlightening,” he said.

Also during the meeting, Riegert provided the commissioners with a presentation on Captiva’s contributions to Lee County through property and transient sales tax. He estimated that the island contributed $6,043,911 to the county’s General Revenue and $1,253,068 to its MSTU in 2020.

Riegert suggested discussing with county officials what services are provided and may be added.

He estimated that its contribution to the Lee County Tourist Development Tax, or “bed tax,” was $3,315,117 in 2019 — of which 53.6 percent goes to advertising and promotion, 26.4 percent goes to beach and shoreline improvements and maintenance and 20 percent toward stadium debt service.

Riegert noted that year-to-date visitors to Lee County are down 37.6 percent, recent estimations of the impact on sports economies in the United States have been devastating, people have been utilizing parks and open spaces more often around the United States, and Captiva saw an increased demand for parking in the onset of the pandemic.

He concluded that: the beaches are the lifeblood of the local economy; sports events may have helped drive springtime tourism in the past, but with the virtual nonexistence of event attendance and ticket sales, sports will no longer be a deciding factor for vacationers; and the protection and maintenance of the coastline infrastructure is paramount, adding that sea level rise and resiliency projects not only add protection to private and public property but also increase their value and that Captiva and all coastal communities should be more aggressive in their funding requests for beach nourishment and shoreline protection projects.

IN OTHER NEWS

– The commission approved a change order for an agreement between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the CEPD regarding Hurricane Irma Recovery Project funding.

– The commission approved a contract regarding the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Beach Management Funding Assistance Program for the Captiva Island Beach Nourishment Project.

– The commission approved accepting the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact’s Memorandum of Understanding and joining the compact, with Mullins to serve as liaison.

– Riegert reported that a new sign has been installed at the parking meters to inform the public that proceeds from the CEPD’s parking fees go toward beach renourishment projects on the island.

– For November, approximately $53,337 in parking meter revenue was raised.

– The commission approved its board meetings, workshops and TRIM hearings for 2021.