Council to reconsider $3.55 million vacant lot assessment vote


The Marco Island City Council voted to reconsider a recent vote to approve a $3.55 million special assessment for vacant lot owners in non-STRP districts.

Each lot would be assessed $4,610 to cover the capital cost of the rebuilding and capacity improvements on the former wastewater treatment facility.

Immediately after the vote on Jan. 26, council was flooded with calls and emails from property owners, protesting the lack of notice on the vote. Many believed the issue to be dead after a vote to assess the fees failed at the Jan. 20 council meeting.

At the Monday meeting, councilman Bob Brown, who had been on the prevailing side on the first vote, moved to “reconsider” the vote, with councilman Ken Honecker seconding the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

No specific date was given for reconsidering the vacant lot assessment vote and council members said the public will be given adequate notice when the matter is to come up again.

City officials said $3.55 million would be realized if the wastewater assessments were paid immediately, but they said they do not anticipate that.

The following options for payment would mirror those given to property owners in the STRP districts:

• Pay nothing on principal or interest with the total due with interest at the end of 20 years;

• Pay the assessment in full at time of billing;

• Have the assessment spread over 20 years and pay it annually on the tax bill.

Rental ordinance

In other action, council voted to hire the law firm of Weiss-Serota to handle the city’s legal matters. (See story, page A3.)

With the hiring of a new city attorney, council wanted to be cautious and give the new legal team the opportunity to review the proposed ordinance to regulate rentals and establish the guidelines for that legislation.

Not all were in agreement; councilman Joe Batte requested that they expedite the process and then have the city attorney bring back any subsequent amendments to clear up any issues.

The motion passed by a 5-2 vote, with Batte and Larry Sacher in dissent.

It was agreed to bring back the ordinance for the second reading on March16 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. This will allow the new law firm to review the legislation and propose any adjustments.

Rose Marina

Residents abutting the residential lots on Magnolia Court that Rose Marina is proposing for temporary storage of boats spoke during the council meeting.

The lots would be used while the new Rose Marina boat storage facility is built over the summer as part of a $15 million project to modernize the marina property on Bald Eagle Drive.

The residents came forward as part of the community forum portion of the meeting for items not listed on the agenda.

The temporary-use permit for storage of construction equipment on lots at 880 and 900 Bald Eagle Drive in addition to the boat storage issue will be discussed at a council meeting on Feb. 17.

MITA donation

Fay Biles chose to close out the books of the now-disbanded Marco Island Taxpayers Association by donating money to the American Legion for its project to build the Freedom Fountain in Veterans Community Park.

The American Legion turned the $10,000 check over to the city, to be deposited into the account to support the construction of the fountain and subsequent maintenance costs.