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Posted by Greg Folley 5sc on March 08, 2021

FROM THE DESK OF VICE CHAIR GREG FOLLEY Friends & Supporters, Here’s this month’s update on the progress of your Marco Island City Council: Leadership Collaboration The Council met five times in the past three weeks. One positive development has been an effort led by Chairman Grifoni to arrange for the Council to meet with legislators representing Marco Island. This is in the hopes of better understanding one another and establishing communications to best represent our citizens. This resulted in public meetings with Commissioner LoCastro, Congressman Donalds, and Representative Rommel. In May, we’ll also meet with Senator Passidomo. Commissioner Rick LoCastro A special meeting with Commissioner LoCastro was held before the regular meeting on February 22. The Commissioner addressed the Council regarding areas where the city and county can cooperate more effectively. He raised several areas of improvement including the Tigertail Beach and lagoon area, Red Tide effects and cleanup, the Goodland Drive Rehab Project, and material staging at the base of the Jolley Bridge. The Commissioner pledged to manage the $2.9 million Goodland Drive road elevation and water flow rehab project. He also noted safety concerns in the long-standing reef-building staging area at the base of the Jolley Bridge. Commissioner LoCastro advised the county to identify alternative, less-visible sites for staging construction. I’m pleased to say results are already visible. Finally, the Commissioner and Council discussed additional areas of future collaboration. This included the Isle of Capri water and sewer, improved traffic safety on Marco Island, and annual hurricane season and storm response plans. Several members of the Council expressed their appreciation for Commissioner LoCastro’s enthusiasm and commitment to our city. Sidewalk Repair and Replacement Program At our March 1 meeting, we discussed the city’s Sidewalk Repair and Replacement Program. City staff expected this would require additional full time staff and could cost upwards of $500k per annum or more. Debate was had on both sides. I pointed out that incentives change when the city takes over such responsibilities, and that costs could swell far beyond initial staff estimates. No final decisions were made and city staff will provide further information to the Council in the future. Storm Surge Project On March 5, a special meeting was held with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Collier County Coastal Management Staff concerning the massive Collier County Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study. Collier County is one of only a few areas in the country which is being evaluated by the Corps for a storm surge risk management project. This is primarily due to the fact that a major hurricane strikes Collier County every decade or so, on average. Rising sea levels are also seen as a justification. The study contemplates about a $5B expenditure to protect key areas of Collier County from storm surge, splitting the cost with 65% from the federal government and 35% from Collier County. It could be years before the project comes to fruition, if ever. The overwhelming proportion of the expenditures on this project would be spent to provide earthworks and barriers to storm surge in Naples, not Marco Island. This is because Marco, as a barrier island and with its canals, could face storm surge from almost any direction. However in Naples, the direction of a surge can be reasonably predicted and protected against. Bottom line, if this massive project ever sees the light of day (and approval is a long way off), Collier County’s share of this project will be heavily paid for by Marco Island taxpayers for the benefit of Naples property owners. Not indefensible, but certainly an issue of concern for Marco residents. Representative Bob Rommel The Council met with Representative Bob Rommel at our March 15 meeting. While this was a pleasant discussion, Representative Rommel continues to support legislation in Tallahassee that further constrains the ability of Florida cities to regulate short-term rentals. Representative Rommel pointed out that noise and other ordinances can continue to be approved. However, anything specifically applying to short-term rentals (condo and residential associations excluded) will be forbidden by this advancing legislation. We agreed to disagree and follow up again upon the completion of the legislative session. Congressman Byron Donalds Congressman Donalds was the first ever sitting U.S. Representative to address the Marco Island City Council, in a special meeting held before our regular March 15 meeting. He addressed several issues of mutual concern. This included a discussion about protecting the freedoms we enjoy in Florida, which are increasingly under assault by the federal government. We also discussed water quality issues, including runoff from Lake Okeechobee. Finally, we covered the Army Corps storm surge management project, and how little of that project protects Marco Island. Overall, the meeting established an open line of communication between our city and our federal representative in Washington. This is a very good thing. Thank you again for your ongoing support! Please like and follow my Facebook page for the latest updates. Take care and God bless! Sincerely, Greg S. Folley 940 Cape Marco Dr, Unit 2006 Marco Island, FL 34145

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