What's hot? What's not! Marco Island City Council budget subcommittee gets first peek at capital requests for 2013

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent 
 Marco Island Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer, left, and Chief Don Hunter report on police department needs for 2013 capital improvement projects during a city council subcommittee meeting Thursday.

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent Marco Island Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer, left, and Chief Don Hunter report on police department needs for 2013 capital improvement projects during a city council subcommittee meeting Thursday.

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent 
 Bryan Milk, Marco Islandís public works director, presents plans for new lawn and light equipment during councilís first budget subcommittee meeting on Thursday.

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent Bryan Milk, Marco Islandís public works director, presents plans for new lawn and light equipment during councilís first budget subcommittee meeting on Thursday.

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent 
 Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker, left, Vice Chairman Joe Batte and Councilor Jerry Gibson hear requests from city departments Thursday for 2013 capital improvement projects.

Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker, left, Vice Chairman Joe Batte and Councilor Jerry Gibson hear requests from city departments Thursday for 2013 capital improvement projects.

— In dollars, a new community center at Mackle Park made sense Thursday when it came before Marco Island City Council's budget subcommittee. Realistically, the Smokehouse Bridge may outstrip all other requests in the city's 2013 capital projects budget.

The bridge would replace a deteriorating structure, Tim Pinter, public works director, told the subcommittee, and cost the city $8 million, more than half of all projects requested. The urgency of the project could push it to the top of next year's list.

"Every year we delay the deterioration gets worse," Pinter said. "Will the bridge fail and fall down into the water? No one could tell us that."

City Manager Jim Riviere agreed the bridge must be replaced soon. He told the subcommittee he had been harboring reserves to replace it. His fear, he said, was a storm event that could make the situation worse.

Subcommittee members asked if the cost could be spread over two years: 2013 and 2014. The bridge's final design was completed this year, and Pinter estimated construction could take 18 months. Attempts to attract grant money for the project have failed.

Another consideration was short-term borrowing, allowing some costs to be financed by future users and making the expense less of a burden on current taxpayers. Pinter said he would take back his plan and recalculate the financing before the next capital project's hearing.

Other projects in public works included drainage and road resurfacing, intersection reconfigurations, vehicles and equipment purchases, bike paths, and work on the Blackmore Bridge, near Tigertail Beach. Total capital financing requested by public works, including Smokehouse Bridge, was $12.6 million.

Police and Fire Departments requested technology upgrades, vehicles and a fire-rescue boat. Police upgrades were primarily new technologies to enhance communications and training. An original request for $92,000 in emergency operations software was taken off the table when Chief Don Hunter said his department negotiated with the county to provide it at no charge.

Earlier, Hunter convinced the county to dispense with its $180,000 contract for dispatch services for the city. The intervention netted $90,000 in 2012 for the second half of the year's contract.

Police capital requests less the $92,000 were $490,700. For fire, requests with a leased fire-rescue boat were $252,400. Fire received only $19,000 in 2012 used for Station No. 51 upgrades.

Discussion of a new community center at Mackle Park enlivened discussion. The project has been on the drawing board for a number of years and has been a lightening rod for public debate.

Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker said that now was the time for council to embrace a building plan.

"It's outrageous that Parks and Recreation has to come to us timid and defensive because of shots they have taken from the community," he said. "They should come in proudly saying what they'd like to see. Any city worth its salt should have adequate recreation facilities for its citizens."

Councilor Jerry Gibson felt the problem was communication.

"There is a lot of misinformation about the building," he said. "Let people see the impact on taxes, and I think they'll approach this in a positive way."

Vice Chairman Joe Batte suggested the failure was council's for not providing strong guidance on the project. The Parks and Recreation Department was being unfairly fired upon by the public, he said.

"As a governing body, we need to give guidance, and the people need to make the decision," he said. A good business plan on how the building would be funded should be voted on through referendum to end the recent turmoil, he said.

Parks and Recreation's capital requests, including $260,000 for the first year's payment on a new community center, came to $612,000.

All other requests for capital projects outside of utilities totaled $12.5 million. Capital projects for water and sewer utilities totaled $8.1 million.

The budget subcommittee is comprised of Councilors Recker, Gibson and Council Vice Chairman Batte, who acted as chairman for the subcommittee. The next meeting of the subcommittee is scheduled for June 18 when expense budgets will be discussed.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 12

1Paradiselost writes:

Marco Island City Councilor Frank Recker said that now was the time for council to embrace a building plan.

"It's outrageous that Parks and Recreation has to come to us timid and defensive because of shots they have taken from the community," he said. "They should come in proudly saying what they'd like to see. Any city worth its salt should have adequate recreation facilities for its citizens."

Hey Frank Recker, Pay for it with your own money! This man has no respect for the voters of this community with his personal statements.

Our water bills is 4x's what it use to be. You really need to get a life!

RayPray writes:

"It's outrageous that Parks and Recreation has to come to us timid and defensive because of shots they have taken from the community," he said.

"Councilor Jerry Gibson felt the problem was communication."

"Joe Batte suggested...Parks and Recreation Department was being unfairly fired upon by the public"

>>> Joining the government payroll...It's worse than getting hooked on crack!

captnjimbo writes:

His department negotiated with the county, got what he needed at no charge and saved 92K. Attaboy.

For some reason I am suspicious on the need to replace that Smokehouse Bridge...suggest Mr. Riviere dust offf the engineering studies and republish the findings and options.

When the Winterberry bridge was being completed I had a chat with one of the workers and complemented them on such a nice new bridge...he told me they tore down a perfectly good bridge to build the new one...the old one needed some work on the footings or something.

Do we really need a new bridge at Smokehouse?

ajm3s writes:

And we go on and on. Home owners have requested a referendum on the issue of the expansion of Mackle Park Community Center, while Mr. Magel is requesting a referendum on subsidizing a 24 hr "emergency" care center.

Geez, I wonder why the citizens cannot have a referendum vote on Mackle Park? Yet the "emergency care" referendum is currently being drafted for the November ballot.

I guess, not all issues are worthy of a referendum vote, especially, if the outcomes are not clear to some on Council.

Councillors, I ask that you NOT limit what can be considered for a referendum vote; unless you want to join the ranks of naysayers when you deny us the possibility of voicing our concerns with a yes or no vote.

And I thought I was naysayer until I spoke with Mr. Magel, then I confirmed that he is a naysayer as well -and soon to follow suit, other members of the council who wish to deny us a final vote on the Community Center.

Pay attention, Marco Island taxes, as a percentage of taxes relative to Collier County is INCREASING, all the whilst the city is cutting costs and transferring Building Services to the county. Interesting! Why is that?

Will need another PowerPoint to show us the FACTS because this is getting very obtuse.

Seawaller writes:

" A good business plan on how the building would be funded should be voted on through referendum to end the recent turmoil, he said."

The referendum should be about whether to even build a new community center, not a referendum on how to pay for it. Notice the "turmoil" question has been reframed by council, now admitting the building of the new center is a done deal and glossed over by advocating a referendum to let the taxpayers vote on how to pay for it.

If it wasn't built it would cost the taxpayers nothing. Give us that option in a referendum.

Seawaller writes:

Frank Recker: "Any city worth its salt should have adequate recreation facilities for its citizens."

Define adequate. The current facility serves the citizens well. Sure it would be nice to have a new multi-million dollar facility, but nice to have, need, and adequate are all key words that should be used appropriately in any discussion of huge capital expenditures given the current economic conditions.

OutWithTheOldies writes:

The Mackle Park Community Center Project is a truly worthwhile project and it is so incredibly frustrating to hear people discuss a project that they have absolutely no knowledge of the details.

FACT: The current structure is completely outdated, code noncompliant, poorly hurricane resistant, and totally insufficient in terms of capacity.
The existing structure has been at maximum capacity for 3+ years preventing valuable programmming and community services from coming to Marco Island. Continuing education programs, health and fitness courses, wellness programs, community events, and general purpose meeting space are all prevented from coming to marco as a result.
The existing structure is not ADA compliant. It is not built at the appropriate flood levels, and is not hurricane rated. A full study of the issue in 2005 found the existing structure would be more expensive to renovate than replace given its poor underlying design and structure.

I, like many others, understand the needs for fiscal responsibility. And as is en vogue these days- it seems that dealing with expenses with a heavy dose of skepticism is appropriate. This does not, however, mean that every worthwhile project needs to be decimated with the drone of negativity.

From the infomation that I have seen, the expanded space and facilities from building a new community center and resulting increase in revenues from space rentals and adding programming would cover a large part of the annual finance payment. Perhaps leaving an annual cost to the taxpayer of 50-100k dollars (a cost that would go away after the note is paid off). What does this mean in actually dollars on our tax bill? for a Single family home of around 400,000 value? About 7 dollars annnually.

Parks and Recreation has shown a knack for providing a valuable product and service the community at a nominal cost (see Farmer's Market, Seafood Festival, Veterans Park as projects that have cost the taxpayer little or nothing and even generated revenue for the city)..... I think we sould give them a chance to present their case completely before we ruin an opportunity to bring a wonderful amenity to our beautiful island for almost NOTHING!

dc5799 writes:

There will always be someone on M.I. who is queer for bridges. Used to be Joel now it's Riviere and Pinter. Nothing ever change's no matter who sit's on council.

marco826 writes:

city debt at $400,000,000 ?

seasonala writes:

in response to OutWithTheOldies:

The Mackle Park Community Center Project is a truly worthwhile project and it is so incredibly frustrating to hear people discuss a project that they have absolutely no knowledge of the details.

FACT: The current structure is completely outdated, code noncompliant, poorly hurricane resistant, and totally insufficient in terms of capacity.
The existing structure has been at maximum capacity for 3+ years preventing valuable programmming and community services from coming to Marco Island. Continuing education programs, health and fitness courses, wellness programs, community events, and general purpose meeting space are all prevented from coming to marco as a result.
The existing structure is not ADA compliant. It is not built at the appropriate flood levels, and is not hurricane rated. A full study of the issue in 2005 found the existing structure would be more expensive to renovate than replace given its poor underlying design and structure.

I, like many others, understand the needs for fiscal responsibility. And as is en vogue these days- it seems that dealing with expenses with a heavy dose of skepticism is appropriate. This does not, however, mean that every worthwhile project needs to be decimated with the drone of negativity.

From the infomation that I have seen, the expanded space and facilities from building a new community center and resulting increase in revenues from space rentals and adding programming would cover a large part of the annual finance payment. Perhaps leaving an annual cost to the taxpayer of 50-100k dollars (a cost that would go away after the note is paid off). What does this mean in actually dollars on our tax bill? for a Single family home of around 400,000 value? About 7 dollars annnually.

Parks and Recreation has shown a knack for providing a valuable product and service the community at a nominal cost (see Farmer's Market, Seafood Festival, Veterans Park as projects that have cost the taxpayer little or nothing and even generated revenue for the city)..... I think we sould give them a chance to present their case completely before we ruin an opportunity to bring a wonderful amenity to our beautiful island for almost NOTHING!

Get real, the host of properties both private homes and public facilities undergo obsolescence, but this does NOT necessitate demolition or expansion on the scale that in reality is a dream design that is based on steroids.

It is an issue of size and scope, which in my opinion is beyond the pale. Just a short time ago,the Mackle Park meeting room once held regular council meetings which are now held down the street on San Marco Road. I would have suspected this provided more availability, but I guess it did not.

If you want a hint of P&R expansion, ask them what they envisioned for Plummer Park, a small passive park on Barfield with 300K of monies. Imagine all the crap they wanted to put in what is essentially a passive park. Ideas included: bandstand, fountain, exercise stations, restrooms, larger parking area.....

See from my perspective, the monies spent on this island are misguided, with all departments coming up with their dream approach. And we have to accept it because......they have a plan?

Well the plan is truly steroidal!

OutWithTheOldies writes:

in response to seasonala:

Get real, the host of properties both private homes and public facilities undergo obsolescence, but this does NOT necessitate demolition or expansion on the scale that in reality is a dream design that is based on steroids.

It is an issue of size and scope, which in my opinion is beyond the pale. Just a short time ago,the Mackle Park meeting room once held regular council meetings which are now held down the street on San Marco Road. I would have suspected this provided more availability, but I guess it did not.

If you want a hint of P&R expansion, ask them what they envisioned for Plummer Park, a small passive park on Barfield with 300K of monies. Imagine all the crap they wanted to put in what is essentially a passive park. Ideas included: bandstand, fountain, exercise stations, restrooms, larger parking area.....

See from my perspective, the monies spent on this island are misguided, with all departments coming up with their dream approach. And we have to accept it because......they have a plan?

Well the plan is truly steroidal!

Seasonala,
I think unfortunately you are speaking from conjecture and not necessarily true knowledge of what the current project scope is.

The Existing Mackle Park center is 8,000 Square Feet, it has 1 general purpose room of approx 3500 Square feet. Remainder is Park's and Rec office, Front Desk, Rest Rooms and a small kitchen.

Current new plans call for a building that is 16,000 Square Feet with 6 general purpose rooms (of varying sizes allowing for different size functions to be going on simultaneously), restrooms and building/PR staff.

What part of this is exhorbitant or on steroids? At the current projection of 2.5 million for the building your looking at construction costs around $160/SF. Not sure if you've ever built anything on Marco but thats a pretty great deal and not a pie in the sky estimate with granite countertops and marble floors sort of project.

Why do you feel like trashing a project you obviously have very little knowledge of? The current building is not accessibile to new users for 8 months out of the year because of it's current space constraints yet you feel like what we currently have is just fine? On what basis?

Is it just because you personally feel that you wouldn't use the facility that you think it is a bad idea?

I'm sorry, but I just don't get how people can demonize something that could really be an assset to the community and will cost them less than a trip for 2 to McDonald's on a yearly basis... I guess its all about the "ME"

Seawaller writes:

Outwith theoldies is 100% right with the statement "I guess its all about the 'ME'". ME wants a new Mackle Park, ME wants a dog park, ME wants a museum, ME wants more bike paths, ME wants a makeover at Plummer Park, ME wants Marco Man in front of a new City Hall, ME wants you to pay for it.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features