Collier County Supervisor of Elections officials say the group seeking the repeal of a city rental property ordinance has collected more than enough signature to force the city to take action on the controversial ordinance.

The petition group issued this statement on Thursday (in boldface type):

"The Committee to Repeal the Marco Island Rental Ordinance today reports the number of valid qualified petitions far exceeded expectations and the number required by City Charter. The committee received nearly twice the number of petitions required and more are still coming in.

"'We received over 110 A DAY with very little time to organize and tell the story. We clearly see people are upset with this. Hundreds more wanted to sign the Petition and could not as they're not registered voters. They are taxpayers though and it seems ironic to us they have no voice in this matter affecting them,' said a committee member.

"'The people's voice is clear ... NO Rental Ordinance, less regulation' said one of the committee members. 'The City Council should at its next meeting in July repeal the ordinance or put it to a vote via referendum. We believe that is the correct thing to do. At least 3 sensible headed council members agreed, felt this ordinance was bad legislation, was not right, and voted against it. The other 4 of 7 now have a clear message.'

"Further, the committee believes the current ordinances in place now, if properly enforced, and maybe with minimal sensible adjustments, are able to handle any issues raised by homeowners. We've maintained this from the beginning."

Repeal of law

The group, including members of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce and Marco Island Area Association of Realtors, seeks the repeal of a law in late May that calls for registration and inspection of rental units.

They have argued that more regulations and a burdensome process of inspections could impact property values and deter investors from purchasing property on Marco.

Supporters of repeal delivered more than 2,300 petitions to the county for signature certification, said David Carpenter, a member of the elections office staff.

Of those petitions turned in, more than 1,500 were deemed to be valid, said Carpenter.

The group had until June 18 to turn in 1,246 valid signatures of Marco Island voters to take the process to the next step.

Carpenter said elections officials would officially notify City Clerk Laura Litzen by email on Thursday that the signature threshhold had been reached.

When a referendum petition is filed with the City Manager or other official as designated by the council is deemed to be sufficient, the ordinance sought for reconsideration shall be suspended from taking effect, according to the city charter. Such suspension shall terminate when:

1. The petitioner's committee withdraws the petition;

2. The council repeals the ordinance;

3. After a vote of the city electors on the ordinance has been certified.

Council will not meet again until July 20, unless called into special session earlier.

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