Restrooms, restaurants and roadwork confirmed at Commissioner Fiala's Marco Island Town Hall

Jay Santiago stops to ask Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala a question after Thursday’s Town Hall meeting. Fiala hosted the meeting at Marco Island’s Historical Museum. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Jay Santiago stops to ask Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala a question after Thursday’s Town Hall meeting. Fiala hosted the meeting at Marco Island’s Historical Museum. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Collier County Manager Leo Ochs, Jr., sits with the audience Thursday as he listens to Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management Director Gary McAlpin describe Marco’s south beach renourishment project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Collier County Manager Leo Ochs, Jr., sits with the audience Thursday as he listens to Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management Director Gary McAlpin describe Marco’s south beach renourishment project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Nick Casalanguida, growth management division administrator, and Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala prepare to start a Town Hall session Thursday at Rose Auditorium in Marco Island’s Historical Museum. Fiala hosted the Town Hall and invited county staff and U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, to speak. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Nick Casalanguida, growth management division administrator, and Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala prepare to start a Town Hall session Thursday at Rose Auditorium in Marco Island’s Historical Museum. Fiala hosted the Town Hall and invited county staff and U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, to speak. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Along with beach renourishment on Marco’s south beach, the county plans to build a better restroom facility to replace the “two-holer” in its south beach parking lot.

Barry Williams, director of county parks and recreation, made the announcement Thursday during a Town Hall meeting hosted by Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala. The restrooms will be in the parking lot near the county-owned pedestrian beach right-of-way.

County employees, including County Manager Leo Ochs, Jr., turned out to be part of the informational forum held at the Marco Island Historical Museum. More than 125 residents attended.

Williams went on to explain that the sixth boardwalk at county-owned Tigertail Beach is due to open in March with an adjacent restroom facility in operation by late summer.

Caxamabas Pass, one of the county’s busiest boat ramps, will have its operations outsourced to a private vendor. The change should provide better service for customers, Williams said.

Nick Casalanguida, growth management division administrator, told residents they could look forward to an Outback Steakhouse and Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar near the corner of U.S. 41 and Collier Boulevard. He also outlined construction at the intersection, and how it would affect local residents.

Casalanguida said he would not lie to the public about the congestion that will be created. Although detouring will not be required, lane closures and lane shifts will be necessary to complete the work.

Several residents asked about speed limits on Collier Boulevard, saying more lanes were added and then speed limits lowered. Casalanguida said neither he nor the county manager set speed limits. Required speeds are determined by such factors as road design and curbing, he said.

County Manager Ochs presented a financial perspective. The economy is beginning to rebound with tourism up, unemployment trending down and single-family residence construction improved by double digits, he said.

Since 80 percent of the county’s ad valorem income is provided through residential taxes, the county is actively working to diversify its tax base. By creating a better business climate and attracting new businesses, Ochs said, the tax burden could be spread over a greater number of payers.

“Quality of life is what drives growth in our county,” he said. He pointed to maintaining public amenities and infrastructure as a key to business growth.

Guest speaker U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fort Myers, outlined spending problems in Federal government.

“Speaking as someone under 40 years old,” he said, “I think we are ready to face the hard issues that previous leaders were afraid to face.”

Radel said passing a Federal budget could solve the country’s problems. In the House, he subscribes to the belief that no budget means no pay for legislators.

A second Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the South Regional Library, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples. County staff will be present at the second meeting.

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Comments » 7

ajm3s writes:

"Since 80 percent of the county’s ad valorem income is provided through residential taxes, the county is actively working to diversify its tax base. By creating a better business climate and attracting new businesses, Ochs said, the tax burden could be spread over a greater number of payers."

I read this several times, and I am trying to understand how the tax burden could be spread over a greater number of payers of which 80% are residents, YET we must attract more business?

Remember Jackson Labs?

Folks, pay close attention when government leaders want to expand, they generally mean subsidies, and a whole bunch of gimmies.

Just keep in mind 80% is paid by residences, and yet I have heard this story that the county MUST attract more business.

WATCH OUT!!!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: I am a small business owner and consider myself a job creator, but not at the expense of residents or to simply justify more government programs such as incentives to draw more business at the expense of residents.

Pay attention!

marcoislander writes:

aj i agree i have said this before. in my opinion who ever wines and dines these people (donna) They get their backing. Look at their past

OldMarcoMan writes:

ajm3s and marcoislander don't forget people like Donna who have never had to meet a payroll or worry where the next payment is coming from usually use OUR tax money to subsidize out of town businesses that turn into our competition, and when the free tax ride runs out they close up shop and disappear with all their promises and jobs.
Im careful around that woman, she has been in office to long and she pulls to many strings,

naples_rocket writes:

couple of new chain restaurants , couple more traffic lanes, more tourist tax dollars to attract even more tourists, new restrooms for day trippers, more and more and EVEN MORE visitors. We should stop wasting hours and hours on +/- 10 bucks on a water bill, guns and develop some REAL goals and visions. Do we want to remain what Deltona envisioned or become yet another tourist trap with chain restaurants, parking garages, miniature golf, horse rides? Collier is already on the way to becoming yet another tourist trap, what should Marco do??

ajm3s writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

couple of new chain restaurants , couple more traffic lanes, more tourist tax dollars to attract even more tourists, new restrooms for day trippers, more and more and EVEN MORE visitors. We should stop wasting hours and hours on +/- 10 bucks on a water bill, guns and develop some REAL goals and visions. Do we want to remain what Deltona envisioned or become yet another tourist trap with chain restaurants, parking garages, miniature golf, horse rides? Collier is already on the way to becoming yet another tourist trap, what should Marco do??

Collier Blvd will be a congested highway, it is the plan that has been envisioned by the county to handle the influx of tourists, snowbirds and folks who are coming south.

However, Marco Islanders, which include full time residents can make their voices heard. Just consider the density transfer ordinance that the city of Marco Island passed last year to encourage the development of hotels in the Midtown district. It was to serve as an initial foray into transferring waterfront commercial unused density credits to a land locked Midtown district in the heart of the city.

Now if you want my take, we are taking unused density that was to be used on the waterfront and transferred it to the center of town on Collier Blvd. Imagine, increasing density in the center of town on Collier Blvd.

In essence, Marco Island is encouraging more development in the heart of the city on the busiest street on this island.

Well I am not a sophisticated land planner or traffic analyst, but all I can say is good luck with making it a pedestrian friendly area.

See in my world, density has impact.

The 5 Councillors that voted for density transfer, of which three running for re-election were NOT successful!

I believe we are making an impact.

ajm3s writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

couple of new chain restaurants , couple more traffic lanes, more tourist tax dollars to attract even more tourists, new restrooms for day trippers, more and more and EVEN MORE visitors. We should stop wasting hours and hours on +/- 10 bucks on a water bill, guns and develop some REAL goals and visions. Do we want to remain what Deltona envisioned or become yet another tourist trap with chain restaurants, parking garages, miniature golf, horse rides? Collier is already on the way to becoming yet another tourist trap, what should Marco do??

Sorry, I forgot to address your comment of "wasting hours and hours" on issues like water and guns. To a certain extent, it does appear as wasting time, but I see it a little differently.

I see the water bill issue as raising the consciousness of the folks, regardless of some public officials to create a division amongst property owners with claims of misinformation.

I see the gun issue as a passionate attempt by the president and gun control advocates under the protection of the 1st amendment to diminish the reality of peer review articles and data that clearly indicates that strict gun control will and does not prevent and/or impact the Sandy Hook style disasters in a gun free zone.

It should make us keener, to go beyond the simple partisan bickering and media framed arguments.

I encourage open debate and yes even votes on a referendum by local and county officials elected to represent us. Why? Because, going forward, I now want our state representatives to understand that local governing bodies are willing to represent us as a body to move forward the importance of reminding and influencing our state officials the importance of state sovereignty to counter the power of the federal government whose powers were granted by the states and enumerated in the Constitution. We must start somewhere, so I like to nudge those closest at hand. But the reality, our state representatives must act to protect us from the overreach of the federal government now spreading like cancer to take away our inalienable rights (rights that are not transferable).

I guess in today's world, everything is assumed to be transferable, from our once held inalienable rights to density credits, all under the heading: Progressive?

My theme, everything is related because what was once considered a plan, a contract, is now transferable.

All I can ask, is we all pay attention!

WizeOlMarco writes:

"Caxamabas Pass, one of the county’s busiest boat ramps, will have its operations outsourced to a private vendor. The change should provide better service for customers, Williams said."

Anyone know why this is necessary?

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