In one sentence: The County Commission moved a one percent sales tax to the November ballot but failed to act on affordable housing; the county’s crime rate continued its steady decline; the City of Naples Planning Board is considering proposals for the Third Street South Plaza and related parking challenges; City voters will face an Ethics Panel referendum in November; and the School Board adopted tough new security measures in the wake of the Parkland shootings.
For more on these and other stories voters should be aware of, read on!
Board of County Commissioners
Sales tax referendum
- Collier sales tax ballot language adopted despite divided commission. The ordinance moved forward by the commission would govern how the proposed infrastructure tax would be implemented if approved by voters,and how the item would appear on the November ballot. Naples Herald, 4/24/18
- Related: Sales tax hike to be decided by Collier voters. "I personally have no problem spending $100 or $200 in extra taxes if I don't have to spend 30 extra minutes each morning and each evening stuck in traffic," said Commissioner Burt Saunders. fox4now.com, 4/24/18
- Related editorial: Critics of local option sales tax should spell out their option. Don’t oppose the sales tax superficially by citing an objection to a couple of planned expenditures on the county’s list. Rather, go item by item and either state it doesn’t need to be done or should be paid for a different way, including identifying that alternative method. Naples Daily News, 4/28/18
- Related editorial kick: It’s mind-boggling that Commissioner Donna Fiala waited until this week — during the final vote to set the referendum — to say she opposes the sales tax and doesn’t like some projects that have been on the list all along.Naples Daily News, 4/13/18
- Commissioners nix proposals to pay for affordable housing fund. They voted to not use tax money or linkage fees; asked staff to study whether there is any other feasible way to restart the fund. Naples Daily News, 4/24/18
- Related: Brent Batten: Collier housing affordability solutions simple, and complicated. Allow me to solve Collier County’s affordable housing problem with three words…. Naples Daily News, 4/26/18
- Related: Conflicting opinions at East Naples Town Hall meeting. The crux of the debate seems to lie with a general lack of understanding of what exactly constitutes affordable housing and how it should be allocated throughout the area. Coastal Breeze News, 4/20/18
- Related: Affordable housing debate continues. Commissioner Donna Fiala expressed a desire for locating affordable housing outside of East Naples. Coastal Breeze News, 4/12/18
- Commentary: It’s time for a hospital in eastern Collier County. There are no hospital beds per 1,000 persons within a 30-minute drive of Ave Maria and Immokalee, a metric used by the World Health Organization to designate developing countries. By William L. McDaniel Jr., Vice chairman, Collier County Commission, via Naples Daily News, 4/18/18
- Brent Batten: Computer model might help Collier plan for social changes, growth. Collier will be broken down into 783 traffic analysis zones. The model will then forecast population, housing demand, housing size, vacancy rate and demands for goods and services in each zone. Naples Daily News, 4/19/18
- Trio high-rise condo-hotel planned for East Naples Triangle put 'on hold'. Developers owe more than $25,000 in road impact fees to the county for the project. Naples Daily News, 4/18/18
- Editorial kudo: Collier crime rate continues its steady decline, thanks to Sherriff Rambosk and team. The final numbers for 2017 show a 2.1 percent drop from 2016 following a 5 percent decline to a 46-year low that year. Naples Daily News, 4/6/18
- Editorial kudo: It was a positive development in the name of preservation when commissioners committed to acquire two more key properties with Conservation Collier dollars. Naples Daily News, 4/27/18
- More kids, adults homeless in Collier since Hurricane Irma. There are 1,215 homeless children enrolled in local schools this year, an increase from 881 last year. There are also 59 seniors considered homeless because they are staying in emergency or transitional shelters, or staying someplace not meant for human habitation. Naples Daily News, 4/28/18
- Delay on fire breaks leaves Estates at risk. The County Commission agreed to send more than $100,000 to the Florida Forest Service to remove dead wood and undergrowth that had been building up like a tinderbox. But it took the better part of a year for the Forest Service to accept the money. Naples Daily News, 4/7/18
- Medical marijuana businesses setting up shop in Southwest Florida. Commissioners are debating whether to end their dispensary ban. Naples Daily News, 4/3/18
- Bayshore CRA allows two murals, puts moratorium on new ones until rules can be hashed out. The Gateway Triangle Community Redevelopment Agency and County commissioners took up a dilemma over murals in the burgeoning arts district in East Naples. Naples Daily News, 4/3/18
- Naples Councilwoman Linda Penniman proposes workforce housing for city employees by selling city-owned property along Solana Road, next to Moorings Park, and using the profits to provide a “silent second mortgage” that would help city employees purchase a home near Naples. Naples Daily News, 4/16/18
- Naples planning board OKs Old Naples Hotel proposal for Third Street South. The project to replace the long-vacant Third Street Plaza is scheduled to go before City Council for a final decision May 16. Naples Daily News, 4/11/18
- Legal fight over parking credits for historic Naples building headed to trial. The judge's decision could ultimately determine what kind of business can operate in the Olde Naples Building. Naples Daily News, 4/22/18
- County officials break ground for new terminal at Marco Island airport. City Council Chairman Jared Grifoni said the airport has evolved into a valuable resource with an estimated economic pact of $27.6 million. Naples Daily News, 4/26/18
- Former Marco Island city manager turns himself in to face battery charge. Lee Niblock was accused of making inappropriate gestures toward Marco Island Academy Principal Melissa Scott. Naples Daily News, 4/26/18
- Related: Marco city attorney, council chairman deny pressuring victim in Niblock case. Naples Daily News, 4/27/18
- LTE: Is your life worth $100? A newly formed group to encourage citizens to vote in favor of the ambulance referendum held an informational meeting. By Judy Sacher, Marco Island, via Coastal Breeze News, 4/8/18
- Collier school security initiatives announced at board meeting. The district plans to install access control systems at all schools in the next two years that would allow school front doors to be locked digitally as opposed to relying on custodians. Naples Daily News, 4/11/18
- Editorial: Collier board makes right calls on Marco City Council funding request. Marco officials, academy leaders and the School Board should collaboratively approach the Collier legislative delegation to ask the 2019 Legislature to put its money where its mouth is in supporting the Marco Island charter school. Naples Daily News, 4/18/18
- Editorial: No risk in taking second look at Collier district assessment. The board should have continued to follow the lead of Board member Erika Donalds, chief financial and compliance officer for an investment management firm. Naples Daily News, 4/24/18
- Charter school advocated by Collier School Board's Donalds OK'd in Martin County. A Martin County School Board member who voted against the application said the school would not serve its required purpose of creating innovative and diverse opportunities for families. Naples Daily News, 4/18/18
- Brent Batten: In Collier, and Florida, zero tolerance doesn't really mean zero tolerance. Doug Lewis, a local attorney who as far back as 2015 was advocating for a more aggressive policy toward law enforcement notification, charges that “CCPS has some major problems with school-related crime incidents not being reported to local law enforcement.” Naples Daily News, 4/3/18
- Proposal for Naples ethics panel draws enough signatures for ballot spot. The proposed commission would have the power to investigate complaints against Naples officials, oversee sweeping changes to the city's ethics ordinances, subpoena witnesses, audit records and punish officials for ethical violations. Naples Daily News, 4/24/18
- Brent Batten: Fire protection fee is another tax plan facing Collier. Voters in the North Collier and Immokalee fire districts will be asked to approve a change in funding formulas that would shift the burden away from residential property owners and toward businesses and “institutions” — mainly nonprofit groups — that had previously paid very little for fire protection. In return, the property tax millage would be reduced. Naples Daily News, 4/15/18
- Related commentary: Emergency services, the financial reality. If we are to continue providing a high level of all-hazards services to our residents, hospitals, schools, assisted living centers and businesses, we will need the funding required. By James Burke, Commissioner, North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District, via Naples Daily News, 4/19/18
That’s it for April’s local news. Stay tuned in the coming days for my review of state government news!
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