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Honig, Petricca, Grifoni seek council seats

Steve Stefanides
sstefanides@comcast.net

Three more candidates are now in the race for a post on the Marco Island City Council.

Marco Island City Hall is at the intersection of San Marco Road and Bald Eagle Drive.

Incumbents Larry Honig and Amadeo Petricca have both filed their paperwork for a second four-year term. Newcomer Jared Grifoni has also filed for a run at one of four seats available when voters go to the polls in the Nov. 8 General Election.

The three will join council member Ken Honecker and Dr. Gerald Swiacki, who have previously filed their paperwork.

Both Honig and Petricca, along with Honecker, came into office in 2012 when three incumbents seeking re-election were swept out of office and a forth had to step aside due to term limits.

Council member Larry Sacher was the forth to be elected in 2012 but has not officially announced his intentions. He has told those close to him he desires to return to private life and would not be seeking a second term.

Amadeo Petricca

Former New Jersey businessman Amadeo Petricca has earned a reputation as a fiscal hawk and has spent a great deal of time analyzing and discussing the issues surrounding the Marco Island Utility, which is saddled with large acquisition debt, costs relating to the rebuild of the aging infrastructure as purchased from Florida Water Services and what Petricca considers as an unfair and burdensome rate structure.

Amadeo Petricca

Petricca was credited with working alongside Marco Fire-Rescue Chief Mike Murphy to obtain the seasonal deployment of a second Collier County ambulance on the island during the height of the tourist season for the last three years. The availability of the unit has been vital in responding to concurrent calls and reducing response times on the island during the high traffic months.

He had also been instrumental in getting the new fertilizer ordinance passed.

“There’s still more work to do,” Petricca told the Sun Times, in explaining why he is seeking another term on the council.

Petricca said he participated in bringing forth land development code site improvement submittal requirements. Previously, plans could be approved administratively, but now they must go through the Planning Board and the council.

Finally, Petricca said he is glad he helped push for a referendum for improvements at Mackle Park Community Center. Voters approved spending no more than $3.5 million on a new Mackle Park center, and bids were to be opened this week.

Petricca also said he is glad the city is now confronting its parking dilemma “that was created in 2010 when the council changed the restaurant parking requirements from one parking space for every four seats to one parking space for every 200 square feet.”

Petricca said he also advocated strictly oversight of the beaches and maintenance of the waterway’s aids to navigation.

Larry Honig

Larry Honig was one of those four individuals who assumed office as a result of the 2012 election.

Honig, like Petricca and Honecker, spent the last three and a half years on council, so discussions are sure to center on what they have done during that time.

Marco Island city councilor Larry Honig

Like his other counterparts, Honig voiced concerns about the burdensome effects of the water/wastewater rates paid by the citizens.

In his announcement for re-election, Honig proposes looking for more creative ways to provide those services and is not opposed to looking at selling the utility or purchasing water from the county. He also wants to concentrate on the efficiency of the operation, but recognizes the city’s utility debt per household is one of the highest in Florida.

Honig is also proposing that the city create a more positive atmosphere between the county and the city, describing the present relationship as “tense and unproductive.”

He is also a proponent of public/private partnerships between the city and businesses to deal with the parking issue that the island is grappling with, in addition to looking at solutions for residential parking challenges.

Jared Grifoni

The youngest of this year’s candidates, Jared Grifoni is also a proponent of a closer relationship with Collier County.

“We must develop better working relationships with our county commissioners, school board and legislative delegation,” he said.

Jared Grifoni

He touts his positive experience in the private sector.

“Marco Island needs a candidate for city council who is a private-sector outsider,” said Grifoni in announcing his candidacy.

Grifoni’s father revitalized and grew the local Dunkin Donut franchise in the Greater Collier County area and Grifoni has served as the company’s attorney of record, as their organization grew to over 20 locations. That endeavor was recently spun off and sold, with the Grifoni family maintaining two of those locations as they seek other business opportunities.

Grifoni and his wife, Elsa, have a son and daughter ages 6 and 5 respectively. He has been a staunch supporter of better educational opportunities and an outspoken critic of the dangers of “Common Core” on the county level.