Census 2020 planning begins in Collier County; commissioners may ban retail sale of puppies and kittens; North Naples development with affordable housing units approved; City to plant 384 new trees and palms; Clerk to host driver’s license reinstatement event; more…. Also in this post: news about Collier’s state senator, representatives and congressman. For this and more for Collier County voters, read on…
It’s time for communities to start planning for the 2020 U.S. Census! Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, which determines a state’s electoral college votes, and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds annually. A Complete Count Census Work Group is being organized by Collier County Public Schools and the first meeting will be on October 10. Participants to-date include the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, Champions for Learning, the Immokalee Foundation, the Benison Center, CareerSource Southwest Florida and Collier County. For more information about how you or your organization can participate, contact the school district’s communications department at (239) 377-0180.
- Collier school district starts 2020 census work group to maximize count. Naples Daily News, 10/2/19
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has a podcast called Sworn Statement that explores local cases and public safety issues in Collier County. Recently-released Season 2 looks at the mental health crisis in Southwest Florida and shows how the Sheriff’s Office, County Judge Janeice Martin’s drug, mental health and veterans treatment courts, the David Lawrence Center, NAMI and others work together to provide alternatives to incarceration.
- CCSO Sworn Statement podcast one-minute trailer here.
A longtime Collier County resident who is a retired dog groomer asked the county to ban the retail sale of puppies and kittens. After hearing her public petition, commissioners signaled they want to take up the issue.
- Selling cats or dogs in stores might be banned or restricted in Collier County. Naples Daily News, 9/25/19
Growth & Development
East of 951/Collier Blvd
Plans to build three 1,000-acre villages and one 655-acre village in the eastern part of Collier County are under review by county officials. Rivergrass Village, Longwater Village, Bellmar Village and Hyde Park together could add up to 9,650 homes to the region.
- Proposed villages in rural Collier draw concerns from environmentalists. Naples Daily News, 9/7/19
Golden Gate & East Naples
A real estate company planning to purchase a property in the Gateway Triangle area of East Naples asked commissioners to decide on their appeal of a previously-approved plan for a hotel in the area. They contended the smaller size of the hotel rooms violates the county’s land development code.
- Collier commissioners reject appeal over Gateway condo-hotel project in East Naples. Naples Daily News, 9/20/19
As directed by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in 2015, county staff has been conducting “restudies” of the four master plans that govern growth in eastern Collier County. More here. In September, the BCC approved replacing the Golden Gate Area Master Plan with three new plans, recognizing the separate areas and the different issues each faces. The areas are Golden Gate City, the Urban Estates (west of CR 951) and the Rural Estates (east of 951).
- ‘Trifurcated’ Golden Gate Area Master Plan unanimously approved by Commission at 9/24 meeting. Estates Area Voice Newsletter, 9/2019
An undeveloped slice of land in Golden Gate Estates will be sold to a group that plans to develop it into a commercial hub for rural residents. The sale means the Shy Wolf Sanctuary, which has long been looking for a bigger space, is one step closer to a new home.
- Collier commissioners finalize sale of 47-acre Golden Gate Estates property. Naples Daily News, 9/26/19
The saga of a Golden Gate Golf Course purchased by the county for $29 million in July continues. After an initial 60-day agreement to maintain the facility expired, the BCC granted Kova Golf Management and The First Tee of Naples/Collier a 60-day extension. The groups hope to persuade commissioners to keep some type of golf ongoing until planned redevelopment of the property takes place.
- Collier County gives group 60-day extension to maintain Golden Gate golf course. Naples Daily News, 9/30/19
Collier County commissioners, following hours of discussion and testimony at a public meeting, approved a North Naples housing development that will include affordable units. Commissioner Penny Taylor said she hoped the move would make the county’s big employers — including Arthrex and the NCH Healthcare System — “understand we’re serious” about having affordable housing in Collier County. The development, known as Allura, has been opposed by some nearby residents who say it will make traffic problems worse and doesn’t fit in with the surrounding communities.
- Collier commissioners OK North Naples housing development that includes affordable units. Naples Daily News, 9/25/19
In the final step needed to begin a $5+ million beach renourishment project approved in June, the BCC awarded a contract to spread 165,000 tons of sand over 2.5 miles of shoreline. The project, to begin this month, will be funded through the county’s Tourist Development Tax Fund.
- Collier commissioners unanimously award $3.6M beach renourishment contract. Naples Daily News, 9/26/19
A bill passed in the last state legislative session authorized an ambitious plan for three new toll roads. It has been described as a “new approach” in planning the state’s future, reducing congestion, providing new evacuation routes and offering a way to revitalize rural communities by expanding broadband, water and sewer infrastructure. Task forces have been appointed to provide local government and community input. Representatives for our region include Collier Commissioner Bill McDaniel (for the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council), Commissioner Penny Taylor (for the Board of County Commissioners) and Naples Councilman Reg Buxton (for the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization). This project is a big deal, so stay tuned!
- Proposed toll road from Polk to Collier draws concerns from some environmental groups. Naples Daily News, 9/30/19
Health, Safety & Quality of Life
Amid the growing epidemic of mental health issues and suicides among first responders, a Collier County EMT worked a 24-hour shift one day after a sheriff’s deputy detained him under the Baker Act. If the Emergency Services Department had been aware of the incident, it would not have had him on duty. But there are no self-reporting requirements for mental health issues.
- Collier EMS failed to take employee off shift after hospitalization for knife incident. Naples Daily News, 9/14/19
Naples City Council
Health insurance rates for City employees were set to increase 20% after claims for the past two years exceeded estimates. To prevent the increase, City Council approved a one-time transfer of $1 million from the city’s departmental operating funds.
- Naples addresses health insurance rate hike for city workers. Naples Daily News, 9/18/19
Hurricane Irma destroyed nearly 2,000 trees. “Now we’re trying to get back to where we were,” Mayor Bill Barnett said.
- Naples council OKs nearly $600K to plant 384 new trees, palms. Naples Daily News, 9/4/19
As part of the beach renourishment project mentioned above, the city’s Park Shore beaches are set to receive thousands of dump truck loads of sand beginning as early as next week .
- City signs off on county’s $5.2M Park Shore beach renourishment project. Naples Daily News, 10/2/19
Marco Island City Council
There was much news again last month about the Marco Island Police Department. New readers may be unaware of the reports of often-disturbing behavior we’ve shared in prior posts. For that, look here. In September:
- New police contract will see Marco Island cops paid more competitive salaries. Naples Daily News, 9/3/19
- Marco Island swears in new police chief. Marco Eagle, 9/4/19
- Marco Chief Tracy Frazanno “ready to move forward.” Marco Eagle, 9/16/19
- Attorney warns Marco police of prospective lawsuit alleging sexual abuse, trafficking. Naples Daily News, 9/25/19
- Marco Island will investigate prospective lawsuit’s allegations against police department. Naples Daily News, 9/27/19
Collier County School Board
As reported last month, the Collier County School Board approved a budget that included higher property taxes to fund education. Turns out they have company.
- Republican counties across Florida looking at raising taxes for schools. Florida Daily, 9/22/19
A former Parkside Elementary School teacher who was fired by the district in March has been accused in a 20th instance of sexual abuse. Parents have criticized the district’s lack of communication about the matter.
- Twentieth child accuses former Parkside Elementary teacher of molestation. Naples Daily News, 9/6/19
- ‘It’s not right’: Parents frustrated with Collier schools’ communication about ex-Parkside teacher accused of molesting 20 children. Naples Daily News, 9/19/19
- Collier school officials defend district’s handling of Hector Manley child molestation case. Naples Daily News, 10/3/19
Local news reported in this post is by Lisa Conley, Chad Gillis, Devan Patel, Patrick Riley, Karl Schneider (Naples Daily News/News-Press), and Omar Rodriguez Ortiz (Marco Eagle).
Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller
If you have a suspended driver license, this is for you. On October 12, you can pay overdue court obligations, including traffic ticket fines, without having to pay additional collection fees. You may also be able to have your license reinstated to get back on the road.
- Collier Clerk to host driver’s license reinstatement event October 12. Press Release, 9/26/19
The Clerk’s monthly newsletter informs readers about events like these and other services the office offers. Sign up here.
News from Tallahassee
Find your state representatives based on your street address here.
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo:
“While in Tallahassee [last month], I had the opportunity to meet with a number of our state agency heads, including Secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs Richard Prudom and Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Mary Mayhew….”
- Sen. Passidomo Newsletter, 9/20/19
Rep. Byron Donalds
“For the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session, I am proud to announce that I will be serving on the following Committees….”
- Rep. Donalds Newsletter, 10/1/19
News from Washington, D.C.
Find your congressman based on your street address here.
Rep. Francis Rooney, District 19
Leading House Republicans who back federal policies to curb climate change said they oppose the Trump administration’s move to eliminate direct federal regulation of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. “Even the major oil companies agree that this rule rollback is unnecessary,” Rep. Rooney said.
- Climate hawk House Republicans oppose Trump rollback of Obama methane rule. Washington Examiner, 8/29/19
A bill that would permanently ban drilling off Florida’s eastern coastline sponsored by Rep. Rooney passed the House of Representatives. The matter now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Marco Rubio supports an extension of a ban to 2027.
- With strong support from Florida delegation, House backs bills to ban energy exploration in the Eastern Gulf. Florida Daily, 9/12/19; Press Release, 9/11/19
Rep. Rooney has become a member of the U.S. House Environment Subcommittee. “Southwest Florida has a tourism-driven economy that depends on clean water and a healthy environment,” he said. “The subcommittee has jurisdiction over much of the non-defense, federal environment research programs that provide innovative solutions to our environmental challenges.”
- Francis Rooney will use congressional assignment to battle toxic algae. Sunshine State News, 9/17/19; Press Release, 9/16/19
Rep. Rooney was the only Republican member of Congress from Florida to vote in favor of a resolution to terminate President Donald Trump’s national emergency border security declaration.
- Rooney, Democrats vote against Trump’s border emergency declaration vote. The Floridian, 9/27/19; Press Release, 9/27/19