MARCO ISLAND — A tearful plea for Second Amendment support from a victim of armed robbery hushed the crowd as Marco Island’s City Council considered its place in history on gun control.
When the audience was asked if anyone stood against the Second Amendment, no hands went up. The resolution council considered Monday took city government past support and into action.
Council grappled with a document that would press state and county governments to nullify any Federal gun restrictions in their jurisdictions that impinged on personal freedoms. It also required that no city resources be used to aid in the enforcement of any Federal laws or executive orders that infringed on Constitutional rights.
In the end, council passed the motion 4-3 with Councilors Larry Sacher, Larry Honig and Chuck Kiester opposed.
Kelly Linman, a local attorney, spoke against the process saying consideration of the resolution would undermine constitutional rights.
“Amend the Constitution with an amendment,” he explained, “Don’t short-circuit the process.”
Bruce Novark speaking for the resolution disagreed.
“We have a right to protect ourselves from tyranny, both foreign and domestic, and from the overreach of government,” he said.
Although not a resident, Byron Donalds told council Marco Islanders deserved an up or down vote. Donalds ran for U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV seat in last year’s Republican primary but was beaten by Trey Radel.
After public comment, Councilor Honig said he could not support the resolution, noting nullification had a rich and ugly history.
Councilor Sacher said council already supported the Second Amendment and the Constitution in its oath of office. Councilor Kiester remained silent but voted against the resolution.
In other business, council continued to a later date the first reading and public hearing on utility rates and the second reading of the use of vacant lots for seawall manufacture.
Councilors heard a proposal from Fifth Third Securities on refinancing utility debt that could save the city as much as $8.6 million net in present value. Savings were based on the 2012 historic low for market rates.
In order to pursue refinancing, council voted to maintain utility rates and existing rate tables until the end of the fiscal year; then discuss future costs.
City Manager Jim Riviere said he had requests for submitting proposals for refinancing from Raymond James, J.P. Morgan and Bank of America. He felt Fifth Third Bank would make a request in the near future.
The seawall ordinance was sent back when city staff could not be clear on certain provisions as they related to other city ordinances. After all items are clarified, council will hear the second reading at its March 4 regular council meeting.
Local seawall contractors expressed disappointment that changes were still being sought at the “eleventh hour.”
Quality Enterprises was awarded a contract for $95,329.70 for repairs on the North Barfield Bridge. The repairs are part of a citywide program to maintain the integrity of island bridges.
Council will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4 in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive. Council plans to give its performance appraisal of the city manager at that meeting.
There will be a Second Amendment Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Marco Presbyterian Church, 876 W. Elkcam Circle, Marco Island.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and Marco Police Chief Don Hunter are scheduled to be part of the panel discussion.