Local News in Review – May 2019

In May, there was news of interest on several fronts. Top stories include: developments in two proposed projects about which residents had expressed concerns; the City of Naples tightened its fertilizer ordinance; the City of Marco Island is close to on-boarding a new City Manager and Police Chief; and the Collier County School District was designated “high-performing” by the State Board of Education. For these stories and more local government news, read on.
But first, as I’ve written before, our local newspapers are under ongoing pressure, and it’s important that we continue to support them. To supplement their reporting, I increasingly turn to the websites and newsletters of our county and municipal government agencies and elected officials. This month, I found news in the Collier County Growth Management Department’s first quarterly newsletter and the Clerk of Courts & Comptroller’s June newsletter. Scroll to the end of this post to learn about my other sources.

Board of County Commissioners

Reporting by Alexi C. Cardona, Lisa Conley, Laura Layden, and Patrick Riley – Naples Daily News; Patricia Borns – Fort Myers News-Press

Growth, development, redevelopment

naplesnews.com
  • Collier Planning Commission okays zoning for 400-unit mixed-use development that had drawn criticism. The proposed development would be located on close to 56 acres south of Immokalee Road and east of Collier Boulevard. More 
  • Golden Gate Estates residents hear plans from groups interested in buying county land. More.
    • Collier sets new deadline for proposals for Randall curve land. More

Environment

via naplesnews.com
  • Collier’s watershed restoration project meets with questions, concerns by residents. The biggest changes will be felt by 12 properties partly or entirely within the core rehydration area. More
    • Watershed restoration project seeks to reverse decades of damage. More

Local option sales tax

  • Citizen sales tax oversight committee recommends $33 million for new Sheriff’s Office evidence building. More 
  • Collier Clerk: Cost estimates increasing for one-cent sales surtax projects. More

Other County news

via naplesnews.com
  • Commissioner wants to take issue of backyard gun ranges to state’s attorney general. The County once had local ordinances to keep recreational shooting in neighborhoods in check, but a 2011 law backed by the National Rifle Association forced their repeal. More 
  • Commissioners may consider future regulations of short-term vacation rentals. More
  • Commissioners pull the plug on PACE financing program for energy efficiency and storm-hardening upgrades, at least for now. More
  • Immokalee master plan moves forward with unanimous Commission vote. More
    • Editorial: Immokalee Master Plan only a beginning, and one that’s been a long time coming. More
  • Collier water/sewer district bond ratings raised to AAA; capital needs largely supported by recurring revenues. More
  • Commissioners approve state grants totaling >$550,000 for Immokalee Regional Airport upgrades. More 
  • Non-profit Immokalee Fair Housing Alliance joins effort to provide affordable housing. More
  • Naples Park community garden reaches resolution after code violations  More
  • Pickleball tournament a win for Collier County. More

Naples City Council

Reporting by Lisa Conley – Naples Daily News; News Service of Florida

via naplesnews.com
  • City Council unanimously votes to tighten fertilizer rules, add blackout period and phosphorus regulations.More 
  • City Council gives final approval to Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club redevelopment. More
  • City Council considers new parking garage partnership with Gulfshore Playhouse. More
  • City Council unanimously approves luxury movie theater at Coastland Center. More
  • Naples’ new $9.5M fire station opens next to City Hall. More
  • City to spend $523K on security camera system despite low crime rate. More
  • Naples, the Florida League of Cities, others sue the State, contending a wireless technology law unconstitutionally infringes on home-rule powers. More

Marco Island City Council

Reporting by Devan Patel – Naples Daily News / Marco Eagle

via marconews.com
  • Marco Council unanimously approves contract for new city manager Mike McNees. The road to finding a permanent manager and providing stability to the government has been long and winding for the past few years. More 
  • Marco city manager names Capt. Dave Baer as interim police chief; to announce new chief the week of June 10. More

Collier County School Board/District

Reporting by Rachel Fradette – Naples Daily News

via collierschools.com
  • Collier designated an “academically high-performing school district” by State Board of Education. The district is one of just nine of the state’s 67 districts to meet the stringent criteria. More 
  • District, teachers union kick off contract negotiations; retention rate is 89 percent for the 2017-18 school year. More
  • School Board accepts changes to student code of conduct; defers to state statute to govern zero-tolerance offenses. More

Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller

via collierclerk.com
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement triennial audit finds Clerk’s Office in full compliance with security, training, policies, and practices for handling criminal history information. More 

Supervisor of Elections

Reporting by Patrick Riley – Naples Daily News; Florida Phoenix

via colliervotes.com
  • Collier not among Florida counties affected by Russian hacking, county officials say. Gov. DeSantis signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose which counties were hacked, but said elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions. More 
  • Collier SOE did state-required voter roll maintenance. Now, voter protection attorney flags ‘disproportionate’ removal of Democrats. More

Fire Districts

Reporting by Jake Allen – Naples Daily News

  • North Collier fire district continues with plans to move a fire station and sell property bought to build a new station on. More

That’s it for May’s local government news. Have a great June!