POSTED AT 4:06 P.M.
Collier County commissioners just reduced the costs of red-light running to $62.50 for a first offense, $75 for a second and $100 for a third. The county will not offer refunds to red-light runners caught on camera who were charged $125.
POSTED AT 2:28 P.M.
Despite questions from neighbors, Collier County commissioners approved continuation of the Jones Mine operation in Golden Gate Estates.
When it was approved last year, commissioners called for annual review of the operation. This afternoon, commissioners agreed to extend permission for two years.
Commissioner Jim Coletta will meet with homeowners and Damon Jones, co-owner of Jones Mine, but told Jones' attorney Bruce Anderson that the commission could not amend certain terms of the contract because they hadn't been properly advertised. Jones had asked for waived payment to community events he agreed to at the time commissioners approved his ability to rock mine.
POSTED AT 12:23 P.M.
Collier commissioners are trying to determine how to accommodate increased Seminole attractions without any financial contribution from the tribe. Gov. Charlie Crist and state legislators are reviewing a compact between the state and various tribes, but nothing's been resolved.
Commissioner Fred Coyle wants to bypass the state and negotiate directly with the Seminole tribe.
"If the state has anything to do with negotiating terms...we will not get any money," Coyle said. "The state will take as much money as they can get."
Commissioner Jim Coletta told Coyle not to be disappointed if the tribal leaders do not agree to meet with county officials. Commissioners agreed to send a letter to tribal leaders, asking them to sit down with county leaders to discuss growth and money.
POSTED AT 12:05 P.M.
Collier commissioners reiterated their opposition to oil drilling off of Florida's coastlines. The position they will ask legislators to take back to Tallahassee is that Collier County does not support oil drilling within 25 miles of Florida's beaches.
Commissioner Jim Coletta questioned why commissioners would support oil drilling anywhere near Florida's coasts. Allowing oil companies to do so will not reduce oil or gas prices, he said.
POSTED AT 11:52 A.M.
Collier County commissioners will ask state legislators to pass a law allowing counties to use cameras to catch red-light runners.
Keith Arnold, the commission's lobbyist, said the issue is a gray area.
"Your local ordinance is presently being challenged in court," Arnold said.
County Attorney Jeff Klatzkow said a state law would help the county address its lawsuits.
The issue is this: If someone runs a red light and is cited by an officer, the violation is attached to the driver's license. A camera can record the car that is crossing the intersection, but not who is driving it. This will be taken up by commissioners when they meet with legislators Wednesday afternoon.
POSTED AT 11:02 A.M.
Earlier in today's session, Michele Antonia, of the Collier Community Cat Coalition, asked commissioners to change animal control ordinances to introduce a more humane and effective control of the county’s homeless cat situation.
Many of the homeless cats in the county have been abandoned. Antonia proposes a trap, neuter and return program, to prevent new homeless cat colonies from being formed. She said Lee County instituted this program in March. The coalition would enter into a partnership with the county’s Domestic Animal Services (DAS) department and serve as a liaison between citizen cat-colony caretakers, and the DAS.
Commissioners agreed to review it when they reconsider the mission statement of the Domestic Animal Services Advisory Board later this season.
POSTED AT 10:52 A.M.
Collier County Commissioner Tom Henning this morning asked fellow commissioners to knock any new revenue-earning requests off the list for the upcoming state legislative session.
That includes a proposed real estate transfer fee and a dot.com tax for folks booking hotels over the Internet.
The Naples Area Board of Realtors also asked the commission to omit any request for a 1 percent real estate transfer fee. The market is just beginning to come back, said NABOR representatives Bill Poteet and Ellie Krier. They're fearful that a new tax will discourage sales.
The county will meet Wednesday for three hours with legislators from Southwest Florida to discuss priorities.