MARCO ISLAND — Marco may be flooded with controversy as council faces decisions on significant water-sewer rate hikes and a proposal to accelerate the Island-wide sewer project Monday.
Water and sewer rate increases have been proposed beginning with a 13 percent rate increase to be effective on customers’ bills Oct. 1. Increases will follow each year for the next five years, if council accepts the proposal.
Council set to discuss the utility rate issues further to learn more about whether rate increases of 13 percent in October, followed by another 13 percent increase in 2010, followed by three more consecutive years of increases, totaling more than 50 percent cumulative increase, are the only option for the city at a workshop beginning 3 p.m., Monday, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.
Council may begin with addressing the Oct. 1 increase only as a committee is being set up to analyze utility rates with a report to come in February.
Also to be discussed in the first session Monday are:
- Marco Island Civic Association’s role in enforcing deed restrictions set by Deltona Corporation when Deltona was developing more than 80 percent of the Island. Vice president and chairman of MICA, Jim Johnson, will present MICA’s role in enforcing deed restrictions, which are private contracts between developers, in this case Deltona, and property owners.
- A tree ordinance, which sets to regulate the maintenance of trees, particularly fruit trees, on public property. The ordinance as currently written would also restrict planting invasive species, such as ficus trees, on private property, which was not a popular proposal during previous council discussions.
STRP acceleration and other agenda items
This won’t be the first time Marco considers accelerating their septic tank replacement program. The question is, with a possible favorable effect on the proposed rate hikes, will residents and City Councilors be more attracted to the idea this time around?
The idea has been that the faster property owners are added to the system, the faster they pay into it. Also, contractors may be cheaper now, Public Works Director Rony Joel has said.
Not everyone is yet convinced.
“While this issue should actually be stopped completely until the country, state, county and city depression is still facing us, I know everyone is afraid to make that move at this point. OK, so be it, but don’t fast forward the project,” resident Bob Brown says in a letter to council and the press.
More details on the potential savings may change some minds in discussions beginning 5:30 p.m., Monday.
Also to be discussed and decided:
- Creation of an audit review committee.
- Creation and appointments to a new Ad Hoc Utilities Advisory Committee to include the following residents: John Arceri, Jose Granda, Don Henderson, Ken Honecker, Larry Magel and Amadeo Petricca. Resumes and details on the proposed members’ qualifications are available online. The committee is to analyze the proposed rate increases and recommend if changes should be made by February 2010.
- Council will make two appointments to the School Concurrency Advisory Committee, which is to study development’s effects on Collier County School District enrollment. The committee is to be made up of two representatives from each of Collier County’s three cities — Naples, Marco and Everglade City.