Can the BAC make Marco Island's cul-de-sacs beautiful again?

— A budget request by the Marco Island Beautification Advisory Committee (BAC) to maintain the city’s more than 300 cul-de-sacs may have hit a snag. At a meeting in preparation of the 2012 fiscal year budget, parks and recreation director Bryan Milk, the committee’s staff liaison, requested that the budget subcommittee approve $44,200 to maintain the 302 cul-de-sacs, many of which violate the city’s own ordinances for un-mowed grass and lack of upkeep.

The BAC, which has taken on the task of cleaning up cul-de-sacs for the past year, made the request because so many of the residential areas are overgrown. Committee members inventoried all of the city’s 302 cul-de-sacs and found that 67 percent are in violation of code. The city owns the cul-de-sacs, however some residents have taken it upon themselves to keep the areas attractive at their own expense.

Milk stated that his staff and the city’s contracted landscaping company do not have the resources or budget to attend to all of the cul-de-sacs. Committee members said that only 70 of 207 targeted areas have been improved this year. Lee County Electrical Cooperative (LCEC), which provides utilities to the island, recently completed a tree trimming project recommended by the BAC in cul-de-sac areas that were considered potential safety hazards. Part of the proposed BAC budget would have also allowed city workers and its contractors to trim trees and bushes in cul-de-sac areas that might interfere with a driver’s line of sight.

Chairman Syd Mellinger said she’s upset that the city is in violation of its own ordinances.

“Taxpayers are being held to one standard and the city to another,” she told fellow committee members at the BAC’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 6.

Perhaps more upsetting to members was Milk’s acknowledgement that budget subcommittee members did not wish to hear Milk’s presentation, which explained in more detail the reason for the request and how the monies, if approved, would be spent.

“They (the budget subcommittee) cannot deal with something by not listening,” stated the BAC’s incoming vice chair Susan LaGrotta.

Milk expressed understanding of the budget committee’s financial concerns, noting that many spending options are being re-considered and that council members are trying to be conservative in tight economic times.

Other BAC members shared concern that if the city does not get a handle on the overgrown areas because of financial concerns, the island will slowly lose its reputation for manicured lawns and gardens, a reputation recently validated by the island’s status as a finalist in Rand McNally and USA Today’s America’s Most Beautiful Town competition.

“If you defer this for years, we’ll be back to square one,” added member Sandi Johnson.

The budget subcommittee will make its recommendation opposing cul-de-sac funding to city council, which can go along with the group’s advice or decide the issue is important enough to add to the island’s 2012 budget.

New officers elected

At its meeting, the Beautification Advisory Committee elected Barb Murphy its new chairperson to fill the seat vacated by Mellinger, who has served three consecutive terms as chair and will continue as a committee member.

Murphy, who was vice chair, turns over her officer position to Susan La Grotta.

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Comments » 9

ajm3s writes:

"Milk stated that his staff and the city’s contracted landscaping company do not have the resources or budget to attend to all of the cul-de-sacs."

"Chairman Syd Mellinger said she’s upset that the city is in violation of its own ordinances."

Folks:

Wake up and demand the city maintain what is under their direct purvue. Forgo the expansion of facilities (i.e. 25000 ft2 community center) and focus on the fundamentals of park management.

Imagine, the P&R Director does not have enough money. What's that all about? How about a new public/private partnership.

Recommendation: the Beautification Committee assemble a citizens group to volunteer and provide manpower to maintain whatever it deems in the interest of beauty. If you are successful, I will say now that is a hell of a committee, which leverages its vision and extends it to a working group.

Or should we just continue to petition the city for more funding.

How about volunteers maintain cul-de-sacs in their immediate neighborhood. A sort of self-interest approach to beautification. Did the Beautification Committee even consider? Or are we more interested in giving out awards.

Maintenance is a forgotten work ethic!!!!! Not as glamorous as a new play thing or a grandiose air conditioned gymnasium.

kosherdeli writes:

We had our Cul-de-sac Professional Landscaped in 1993 with Native Planting that were Drought Tolerant then had to re-do-it after Divco Cons. destroyed it while building at 1064 a few yrs ago and what happened the other week the City of Marco Is. Told LCEC To Cut Down Our 2-Queen Palm Trees With No Notice & For No Reason At All Because They Were Not Touching Or Interfering With The Power – Lines At All !!!

When I called the City they blamed LCEC for cutting the Trees Down. However after calling LCEC I found out It Was the City of Marco Who Instructed LCEC To Cut the 2-Queen Palms Down!!! LCEC Had Nothing To Do With The Decision To Cut The Trees Down. Why The City Wanted Them Down Is Yet To Be Known. I'm dam sure if the City had planted the trees using Tax Payer Money they sure as hell would have removed them and planted them somewhere else. So why bother trying too making your Cul-de-sac Look Nice!!! If the City or the Beautification Committee Didn't Like Our Choice in Trees & Plantings That's Too Dam Bad. There are many things I don't like about them. What’s next is the City going to tell us What Color We Can Paint Our Homes? Theses 2-Queen Palm Trees along with the Cul-de-sac have been Professionally Maintained Weekly and Trimmed Several Times a Year or As Need Since 1993 and There Never Was a Problem until this year why?

I WANT MY TREES BACK ASAP OR I WANT TO BE PAID FOR THEM ASAP!!!

Mad as Hell I'm actually so dam mad I'm seriously considering moving off the Island. 1st I have had my ADA Rights Violated Because I am restricted from pushing my Wheelchair around the Marco Island Sidewalks due to the Arrogant, Ignorant, Inconsiderate, Uneducated and Inconsiderate Clowns who think Sidewalk Parking OK!!! Tickets were given out for a short time then stopped after people complained about them and now my 2-Beautiful Queen Palm Trees are Cut- Down for No Reason and when questioned my City blames someone else for Cutting the Trees Down. When it actually was the City who Directed LCEC to Cut-Down the Trees!!! LCEC only did what the City asked of them. What's next is the City going to tell us what Color to Paint Our Houses!!! I have nothing against our Police Chief that is leaving wish him good luck. Hopefully our next Police Chief will have the Balls to see that All Sidewalk Parking is Ticked Until It Is Eliminated Completely, it's not just my street it's everywhere. The ADA is the Law, it's not a joke as so many think.

ajm3s writes:

in response to kosherdeli:

We had our Cul-de-sac Professional Landscaped in 1993 with Native Planting that were Drought Tolerant then had to re-do-it after Divco Cons. destroyed it while building at 1064 a few yrs ago and what happened the other week the City of Marco Is. Told LCEC To Cut Down Our 2-Queen Palm Trees With No Notice & For No Reason At All Because They Were Not Touching Or Interfering With The Power – Lines At All !!!

When I called the City they blamed LCEC for cutting the Trees Down. However after calling LCEC I found out It Was the City of Marco Who Instructed LCEC To Cut the 2-Queen Palms Down!!! LCEC Had Nothing To Do With The Decision To Cut The Trees Down. Why The City Wanted Them Down Is Yet To Be Known. I'm dam sure if the City had planted the trees using Tax Payer Money they sure as hell would have removed them and planted them somewhere else. So why bother trying too making your Cul-de-sac Look Nice!!! If the City or the Beautification Committee Didn't Like Our Choice in Trees & Plantings That's Too Dam Bad. There are many things I don't like about them. What’s next is the City going to tell us What Color We Can Paint Our Homes? Theses 2-Queen Palm Trees along with the Cul-de-sac have been Professionally Maintained Weekly and Trimmed Several Times a Year or As Need Since 1993 and There Never Was a Problem until this year why?

I WANT MY TREES BACK ASAP OR I WANT TO BE PAID FOR THEM ASAP!!!

Mad as Hell I'm actually so dam mad I'm seriously considering moving off the Island. 1st I have had my ADA Rights Violated Because I am restricted from pushing my Wheelchair around the Marco Island Sidewalks due to the Arrogant, Ignorant, Inconsiderate, Uneducated and Inconsiderate Clowns who think Sidewalk Parking OK!!! Tickets were given out for a short time then stopped after people complained about them and now my 2-Beautiful Queen Palm Trees are Cut- Down for No Reason and when questioned my City blames someone else for Cutting the Trees Down. When it actually was the City who Directed LCEC to Cut-Down the Trees!!! LCEC only did what the City asked of them. What's next is the City going to tell us what Color to Paint Our Houses!!! I have nothing against our Police Chief that is leaving wish him good luck. Hopefully our next Police Chief will have the Balls to see that All Sidewalk Parking is Ticked Until It Is Eliminated Completely, it's not just my street it's everywhere. The ADA is the Law, it's not a joke as so many think.

I sense your outrage, and this under the partnership of the Beautification Committee that recently celebrated Marco Island Tree USA designation.

And what do you do when approaching a vacant lot where there is no sidewalk? I do not hear the obligatory, "Safety is our first concern" from those in the city that are responsible to protect its citizens. Oh, I forgot we can just walk IN THE STREET. I hope there is no jaywalking ordinance.

Unless the palms were cut down due to electrical line clearances, I would recommend you petition your representative council to make them aware of citizens concern for sub-par city management at several levels.

May I recommend you join a group, such as Marco Island Homeowners to gain support in numbers?

Imagine the P&R want an enlarged Community Center and cannot manage simple maintenance of cul-de-sacs, because it does not have money or personnel. But it does have a soccer field that is second to none and used by all its citizens for those with children in a soccer program. Quite a vocal group. Remember, councils of the past always exclaiming: "but its for the kids" to justify expenditures.

Wake UP, folks, do NOT allow this city to expand or upgrade on any front until they can show management acumen for existing inventory. Consider over capacity of waste treatment facility. Do we really want "bigger and newer" when we cannot even maintain what we have. Especially, in this financial climate.

And to those that recently complained about lack of code compliance enforcement, I say we can begin by reviewing city compliance to its own code ordinances. It would be a start, and it is public property, which by definition would have a greater impact in beautification and safety for the city at large.

Is there anyone who can coordinate all this stuff. Oh yeah, hello Dr. Riviere, time for a staff meeting for competency review of directors. There are bright city employees which lie under current directors and director appointed "assistants". Take advantage of rank and file experience, its homegrown and quite impressive.

Would I be remiss if I recommended smaller government, because bigger is not working out that well, even locally.

The city simply does not know how to prioritize. May I suggest a new 5 year Master Plan, we can re-title the document: MAINTENANCE MANUAL.

GFonda writes:

I believe I suggested before that the Beautification Advisory Committee publish acceptable cul-de-sac plantings for homeowners residing on the cul-de-sacs to plant and maintain themselves. I know I would.

happy6 writes:

put galiana behind a lawn mower...he needs to earn some of what he's paid to be milk's a--'t.

pageport writes:

The neighbors on our circle spent 2500.00 to landscape after the city planted 3 palms in 2003. All the plantings were drought tolerant, but we asked if the city would supply water if we put in the sprinkler, they refused. I trim,fertilize and spray for weeds at my cost. But do to the lack of water about 40% of our plants have died. As with any city department in any state it's very difficult to receive common sense solutions to simple problems. We are only one circle out of 302 that was trying to improve, but I'm sure our frustrations are felt by all the other 301.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

is there a single culde-sac on marco thats well kept?

We spend the money to give marco a face-lift but neglect the residents streets. People drive down our streets everyday looking at properties, and being one of the individuals who lives on the end of a street, its embarassing have a circle of dirt, with a pole, and the sewer box.

Who the he!! is running this island? geez

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

I think as property owners, it's time that we send a small message to City Council. Start taking care of this island and not their little special intrests.
Stop mowing the swales in front of your homes, and when the grass is about 2 feet high lets see what the council will do now! It is City property, so let them maintain it.

marcofriend writes:

ajm3s has the correct idea. Join the Marco Island Homeowners group. They are over 1000 strong and growing everyday. We have an election coming up and this council along with past councils have totally ignored the single family homeowner. Look around and see the many problems. Overgrown lots, cars parked on streets, cars for sale, sidewalks blocked, people watering on wrong days and at all times of the day.....and the City does nothing about it. The City should not be violating it's own ordinances by not maintaining their properties (cul-de-sacs), and certainly those that have gone to the trouble to do so at their own expense should not have to put up with the work being ruined by the City (directly or indirectly).

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