City to discuss options for Marco Shores water improvements at Monday's council meeting

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
The Marco Island City Council will weigh different alternatives for improving water for Marco Shores residents.

The Marco Island City Council will weigh three different options for how it can address water improvements to Marco Shores at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Engineering and Operations Manager Justin Martin provided the council with an overview of the alternatives during this week's budget workshop with the Marco Shores wastewater treatment plant getting close to failing as each day passes.

In 2015, the city hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for Marco Shores where four options were presented.

Those options were:

  • Sell the Marco Shores service area to a private entity
  • Sell the Marco Shores service area to the county
  • Demolish the existing plant and construct a new facility that meets current code and regulatory requirements and continue purchasing bulk drinking water from the county
  • Decommission the wastewater treatment plant and send the sewage to the Marco Island RWPF for treatment. Supply drinking water from Marco Island to serve the Marco Shores residents instead of buying from county.

The City Council ultimately approved the funding for decommissioning the plant and secured a $400,000 grant for design and $750,000 grant for construction from the state.

As part of the bidding for the contract, it included three parts: a base-bid for only the wastewater improvements, an add-on for a potable water pipeline across the Marco River and another add-on for a water pipeline connected to Marco Island. 

The wastewater component includes construction of a new sanitary pump station that would collect sewage from Marco Shores and Isles of Capri and pump it to the Marco Island wastewater plant.

The base bid’s projected cost is $6.26 million versus $7.4 million with the first add-on. If both add-ons are chosen, the projected cost is $9.49 million.

City staff has recommended the most expensive option, which the city has the funds in the budget for because it provides the greatest benefits and recurring annual savings to residents.

Martin said that over a 10-year period, it would result in $5 million in savings.

This includes a reduction of $272,000 in annual operating costs and not having to buy water from the county.

In terms of potential revenue and savings, Martin said the city was looking at an additional $2 million and a one-time payout of $12 million when factoring the sale of treatment plant capacity, the sale of land, reduction in impact fees paid to the county and sale of impact fee credits.

The sale of the Marco Shores property caught the eye of a few councilors over what they thought was a low amount for the property.

The property was estimated to collect $2.7 million based upon an appraisal from a few years ago which Martin conceded should fetch a higher price today.

LandArt Development, LLC has already sent the city a letter expressing interest in the property. Utilities General Manager Jeff Poteet said the engineering firm representing Fiddler’s Creek also left a voice message about the property last week.

After Council Victor Rios raised concerns over the current rate structure and what these improvements would mean to residents, Poteet reminded him that the city was not asking for additional funds from ratepayers.

Acting City Manager Guillermo Polanco said that surcharge rates would be decreasing from 5 percent to 4 percent next year with two percent coming afterwards.

“We have stabilized the rates and now we’re going to be put in the reductions of those rates,” Polanco said.

When Rios asked what the city would be doing with the savings, Poteet said that would be up to the council if it wanted to reduce rates or pay down other debt.