MARCO ISLAND — Along with the budget issues at Tuesday's City Council meeting, the council dealt with a smorgasbord of items.
Vice Chairman Joe Batte, presiding, presented a proclamation of appreciation to Driver/Engineer Steve Fickling of the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Dept. for his 28 years of service to the department and the island. Over a dozen firefighters in attendance, who showed up to support their comrade, stood in the back of the council chambers. Fire Chief Mike Murphy and City Manager Jim Riviere spoke, and presented Fickling with the traditional engraved watch, as well, Murphy said, as giving him his helmet to keep.
The council chambers were festooned with red, white and blue bunting, giving the look of a baseball park, which Riviere said was a remnant of the city's postponed birthday celebration, now rescheduled for Nov. 11. That timing, he said, would give the newly-elected City Council a chance to meet with their constituents.
Council candidate Ken Honecker, in the first of his several comments from the floor, asked about water bills for the Tigertail District during the community forum.
"Show me the money," he asked, invoking "Jerry Maguire." "Where is the money coming from?" to make the semi-annual bond payments, he asked.
Eileen Ward also rose during the public comment period, to question a notice of violation received for illegal "no parking" signs outside the Marco Vista condominiums in Old Marco, leading to a continuation of the discussion on when the signs went up, and could they stay up. She took the councilors to task for requiring the signs to be removed when, she said, they had agreed to leave the status quo unchanged until a future discussion.
That discussion would consider parking on the island's swales, said Batte, seconded, but the signs were illegal and had to go. He was seconded by Public Works Director Tim Pinter, who said that such signs on private property could not be considered legal. City council candidate Larry Honig, rising from the audience, offered his "steel trap mind," and said Ward's view of the previous meeting was "100 percent correct." Council agreed to take the matter up in the fall.
Honecker and Lee Oldershaw asked about what can be done about vessels, particularly work barges, sitting in the island's waterways in the aftermath of the city's losing a lawsuit that attempted to restrict anchoring rights for boaters. Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer said that, if a vessel is not attached to the land, but rather "anchored," even with rods driven into the bottom of a canal, the city does not have jurisdiction.
City Attorney Burt Saunders recommended the council have another closed executive session to receive an update on various lawsuits, including four filed against the city in the last several weeks. Councilor Jerry Gibson reported from the Collier County Tourism Development Council that the $3 million beach renourishing project at South Beach was on track for November or December, and the boardwalks at Tigertail Beach would be complete in the next three months, once the special decay-resistant material specified for the project is delivered.
Councilor Wayne Waldack spoke of the necessity for keeping shrubbery trimmed to make pedestrians visible, mentioning the Marriott as one location, and Pinter added that a number of intersections also present unsafe conditions.