City Council Meeting Preview: Chiquita Boat, new fire chief among topics to be discussed
Cape Coral's City Council meets every Monday at 4:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.
Cape Coral’s City Council will hold its regular weekly meeting this Monday at City Hall.
The meeting, which begins at 4:30pm and will be held in Council Chambers, will tackle a number of issues facing the city.
This week, council is expected to vote on such items as; moving forward with a lawsuit and legal action against Lee County Electric Co-Operative, the fate of the Chiquita Boat Lock, the hiring of Cape Coral’s newest fire chief and more.
Below are some of the issues the council will be discussing at tonight’s meeting.
Be sure to check back on CapeCoral.com on Tuesday for news coming from the meeting, as well as a complete voting record on each issue from each member of the council.
City Closes In On New Fire Chief
The city is heading down the final stretch of hiring a new fire chief.
The city manager will request that the city council approve a resolution that allows him to offer the final candidate for the position up to the maximum of the salary range. The resolution will also allow the city manager authority to provide the candidate up to $5,000 in relocation expenses.
The position became open after long-time Cape Coral Fire Chief Bill Van Helden announced his retirement in February. Van Helden stepped down from his position as Fire Chief to take a job with the Charlotte County EMS Service. Since Van Helden’s retirement, the city has been sifting through a number of applications from around the country. Over the last few weeks, the city narrowed the field to five finalists, who were interviewed by a special committee.
It appears by the request for the resolution the city is ready to make an offer to one of the finalists and hope to have the position filled in the very near future.
Mayor Wants More Control Over Who Solicits On City Owned Property
Mayor John Sullivan will introduce an ordinance at Monday night’s meeting that will change the amount of liability insurance that solicitors, who request soliciting on city right-of-ways, are required to carry.
The ordinance will also change the requirements for Veterans organizations requesting to solicit on city right-of-ways.
The current ordinance calls for solicitors to carry $300,000 of liability insurance and $50,000 for property damage. If approved, the new ordinance will change the minimum to $1,000,000 in liability insurance.
Also, if the city council approves the ordinance, Veterans organizations that request soliciting on city right-of-ways will have to provide proof it is a nationally registered Veterans organization that is recognized and chartered by congress.
The changes, particularly with the Veterans organizations comes after a number of complaints from residents and businesses claiming that there has been an increase in soliciting for a variety of Veterans causes in the city.
Some have questioned the legitimacy of some of those organizations and whether the bulk of revenue raised is going to Veterans. It has also been of concern that much of the money raised by solicitors go to Veterans that do not reside in Cape Coral, but other parts of the state and country.
Chiquita Boat Lock Discussions Continue
Discussion will continue regarding the future of the Chiquita Lock.
At last week’s council meeting, city staff presented three options regarding the lock; install a new parallel lock, remove the lock or repair the existing lock.
After the discussions, the city council narrowed the options to two; install a new parallel lock, or remove the existing lock. Adding a new parallel lock would cost the city an estimated $13 million. Removing the lock, would involve consulting with engineers to determine the feasibility of removing the lock.
According to a memo from City Manager John Szerlag and Public Works Director Steve Neff, the cost for consultation ranges from $300,000 to $600,000. There is also concern from city staff that the outcome from requesting the Florida Department of Environment's approval to remove the lock is uncertain at best.