City Council sets initial mileage rate | Town

After nearly four hours of reviewing the 2022-2023 operating budget, Marco Island City Council reconvened for its regular council meeting.

On Monday evening, citizens provided feedback on the highly controversial Vacation Rental Registration Ordinance, which Marco Islanders will vote on in the Aug. 23, 2022 primary election.

Many residents expressed their view that the proposed ordinance was unfair and an excess of government power. They pointed to the cost to taxpayers, with millions of dollars in lost taxable income, as these homeowners pay higher taxes because their homes are not their primary residences and do not qualify for the homestead exemption.

Longtime Marco Island resident and real estate agent Paul Tateo described the proposed ordinance as an excess of government authority adding another layer of bureaucracy that would be very costly to administer.

That evening, many citizens warned that businesses in Marco could potentially lose millions of dollars from tourism as visitors no longer patronize restaurants, grocery stores, charter fishermen, boat and jet ski rental businesses. and other tourist attractions.

Voters have until August 13 at 5 p.m. to request a mail-in ballot for the August 23, 2022 primary election, when the referendum vote will take place, as well as other primary votes.

Discrepancies granted

In other business before council, two waivers that were approved by the planning board last month were granted at the meeting.

The first was to Alan and Nancy McMullen, who were seeking a waiver to extend their dock at Tropical Isle Condominiums an additional 11 feet. The Council voted 6-1 to approve their request. Councilor Rich Blonna objected, having conducted a site visit to the property and based it on the petitioner’s inability to answer questions regarding the protrusion into the watercourse.

The second request came from Christopher Ausobsky, of 82 North Barfield Drive, who requested a waiver to install a new screen cage for his pool. The original screen enclosure, built in 1987, was destroyed by a storm and was not rebuilt by the previous owner. Mr. Ausobsky requested permission to rebuild the compound to ensure the protection of his family and grandchildren.

The Urban Planning Council approved the application on June 3 unanimously. The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of the request, with only Councilor Joe Rola voting in opposition.

10,000 trees in 10 years

Councilor Becky Irwin offered Beautification Advisory Committee member David Leaser and representatives from the Naples Botanical Garden to better understand the 10,000 Trees in 10 Years project.

“These people add the expertise needed to transform our island into a beautiful, well-planned community,” Councilor Irwin said.

Council Chairman Erik Brechnitz was reluctant to place the additional burdens of this massive project on the already overstretched public works department and its overworked staff. However, the representatives present assured Brechnitz that they would start small with a pilot project.

Councilor Irwin proposes that a pilot program of 1000 trees be supported. Under this program, the Botanical Garden would maintain the trees for five years. Councilor Jared Grifoni seconded his motion.

Councilor Claire Babrowski suggested that the group first focus on the details of the small pilot program and that there would be no planting during the dry season, which won council support.

Smokehouse Creek Bridge

On the recommendation of Acting Director of Public Works Mike Daniels, the construction schedule for the Smokehouse Creek Bridge replacement on Winterberry Drive will be adjusted to a start date after the end of the 2023 season, if the delay does not jeopardize funds. of subsidy. The Council accepted this strategy.

Initial Mileage Rate Setting

The board is required to set an initial mileage rate and report it to the State of Florida in July. The rate cannot be increased (but can be lowered) when the final mileage rate is set in September. Councilor Blonna did not support this measure because it would tie council’s hands as it moves forward in the debate over services requested by constituents.

The Commission proposed to establish a rate of $1.4837 to reflect a reduction rate per $1,000 of assessment. The reduction reflects not increasing the municipal portion of the homestead amount so that it is no more than paid the previous year. President Brechnitz pointed out that this did nothing to control spending by Collier County or the Collier County School District, but only affected the city’s portion of the tax bill, which could lead to confusion over the tax returns.

Councilor Babrowski said council should be proactive when assessing the quality service delivery residents expect to receive. She has stressed the importance of being proactive in this regard many times during budget discussions.

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