MARCO ISLAND — At their regular meeting on Monday, the Marco Island City Council heard a number of reports, on topics ranging from the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge and bonds to baseball and water treatment.
For the last year, the landscaping at the Jolley Bridge has featured rebar, rocks and bright orange cones. With the new Jolley Bridge span almost complete, the City Council heard from Councilman Bill Trotter, who is also chairman of the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), what the area will look like once the improvements are completed.
Trotter showed the Council a PowerPoint presentation prepared for the MPO by the Florida Department of Transportation, and explained what the slides indicated.
“It will be nice, with access for fishing,” he said. “There will be a linear park effect, with the attractive railing we wanted.” The landscaping will be more extensive on the southern Marco Island end of the bridge, with the landscape featuring the same palette of plantings used throughout the island. Trotter, along with the late Mike Minnozzi, has been instrumental in moving the added span from wish list to completion.
Financial advisor John White of Fifth Third Bank made a presentation urging Council to consider refinancing their tax-exempt bonds. With interest rates near 10-year lows, he said, the city could save $700,000 to $1 million.
The Council also hosted the presentation of awards to winners of the Major League Baseball Pitch, Hit, and Run competition, and heard from Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandi Riedemann on Marco’s inclusion in a competition sponsored by Rand-McNally to select the most beautiful city in America.
“This will be great if we win – when we win,” she corrected herself. “I would like for you to be on our welcoming committee” when the judges arrive, the timing of which is unknown, she told the Council. Selected from among 600 cities across the U.S., Marco is competing as a finalist against cities including Coral Gables, Franklin, Tenn., and Pacifica, Calif.
Under the Staff Communications category, the council heard an “Operational & Financial Report for FY 2011 – 8 Months,” which could be titled “ Jim Riviere’s Greatest Hits.”
Riviere, the Marco Island City Manager, presented a snapshot of successes and goals met in city government, with each department running below budget, and the city as a whole $1.06 million below budget. Total expenditures were down 8 percent under the year to date budget.
“I cherry-picked our accomplishments” to present “major milestones,” said Riviere. Dozens of bullet points were presented, under the categories of finance, public works, water and sewer, utility funds, parks and recreation, fire-rescue, police, foreclosures, and boards and committees.
In the category of finance, for example, the city completed the 2010 CAFR, or Comprehensive Financial Report, paid off $475,000 in debt for the Factory Bay Bridge, centralized customer service at City Hall, and raised the debt rating on bonds from AA- to AA, he said. Also listed as an accomplishment was reallocating $953,000 in uncollectible code fines to bad debt.
In public works, the city won a first place award from the American Water Works Association for the second year in a row, replaced 89 defective water meters, and installed 63 flushing units, that keep the water supply circulating. Riviere said the flushing units look like C3PO from Star Wars, although perhaps he meant R2D2.
In parks and recreation, Riviere noted that the second annual farmers’ market had generated $60,000, and fundraising for the Veterans’ Memorial had topped $100,000. Under the police category, Riviere departed from the prepared bullet points, ad-libbing that “they have not crashed any of the cruisers, year to date,” causing Officer Ed D’Alessandro, sitting in the audience, to bury his head in his hands.
“My comment is it’s a great report,” said Vice Chairman Larry Magel. “Could we do this on a quarterly basis? It certainly is impressive.” Trotter added he would like to get into more detail on budget versus expenditures.
At the meeting’s close — adjourning in under 2½ hours — Councilman Jerry Gibson spoke up.
“I hope someone will let Dr. Recker know, the meetings go much faster when he’s not here,” he said.