Updated 4/3/22 at 10:16 p.m.
Board of County Commissioners
Collier County residents are represented by one of five elected county commissioners.
Find your commissioner
Thanks to a public-private partnership and a 99-year land lease, an 82-unit affordable workforce housing development broke ground this month on the east side of Santa Barbara Boulevard just north of Davis Boulevard. The land had been owned by the county for years. The Harmony will serve residents earning between 30% and 80% of area median income. (Gulfshore Business, 3/10/22)
At its Feb. 22 meeting, commissioners took steps to encourage affordable housing, as we reported last month. They agreed to hold a special meeting “in the near future” to discuss more solutions to the crisis. To date, that meeting has not been scheduled.
Celebration Park Night-Time Noise
The county and the owner of Celebration Park reached agreement this month on several restrictions that must be complied with for the Park’s permit to be renewed. Complaints about loud music from the open-air food truck-and-entertainment venue east of Becca Avenue off Bayshore Drive date back three years. (Naples Daily News, 3/19/22)
Preparing for the Next Hurricane
A county project is underway to design and build 14 automatic emergency backup power systems at critical existing wastewater pump stations. The new system will help minimize power outages and allow each station to remain online during environmental emergencies. The project is expected to be completed in late 2022. (Project website via Commissioner Penny Taylor newsletter, 4/1/22)
Naples City Council
City of Naples residents are represented by an elected mayor and six elected city councilors.
Meet the Naples City Council
The Naples City Council held regular meetings on Mar. 2 and Mar. 22 and a Workshop on Mar. 8. For agendas, minutes, and recordings of these meetings, click here.
Next City Manager Chosen
On Mar. 23, city council voted unanimously to select Jay Boodheshwar as the next City Manager and directed Mayor Teresa Heitmann to begin contract negotiations with him. Boodheshwar currently serves as the Deputy Town Manager in Palm Beach, Florida. (FifthAvenueSouth.com, 3/24/22)
Closing Density Loopholes
On Mar. 2, city council voted unanimously on a First Reading to close loopholes that allowed downtown developers to build more residential units than the current 12-units-per-acre limit. If the amendments are approved on Second Reading, no more than 12 residences per acre will be allowed for any reason — including for affordable housing. The item was on the agenda for Second Reading on Mar. 23, but the minutes are not yet available. (FOX4Now, 3/2/22; draft 3/2/22 meeting minutes)
NCH Heart Center Plan
As previously reported, NCH is planning to build a new Heart, Stroke and Vascular Institute at its downtown campus. The one building being proposed will replace the Telford Building in the same location. It will be 5 stories in height, almost identical to the current hospital façade at 75 feet and overall, 9 feet lower.
In June 2021, council approved an ordinance that would exempt the creation of a hospital district from the 42-foot height limit in commercial zoning districts.
Now, council is reconsidering that exemption.
At its Mar. 23 meeting, council delayed the first of two public hearings on the matter because it was near the end of a lengthy agenda. It is now scheduled for 10 a.m. on April 6; the second hearing is expected on April 20. (Naples Daily News, 3/24/22; Apr. 6 Agenda Memorandum)
Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan
The City is currently updating its 2021 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. Members of the community are encouraged to provide their input, to help produce a plan that will reflect community needs. (City of Naples via Commissioner Taylor newsletter, 4/1/22)
41-10 Master Plan
A community meeting will be held at Fleischmann Park Community Center, 1600 Fleischmann Blvd, on Apr. 13 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. DPZ CoDesign will present the final draft of the 41-10 Master Plan. (Commissioner Taylor newsletter, 4/1/22)
Naples Airport Noise Study
Naples City Council will receive a presentation from the Naples Airport Authority about an update to the airport’s noise study on Monday, April 4 at 9:00 a.m. at Naples City Hall. Click here for background.
Marco Island City Council
City of Marco Island residents are represented by seven elected city councilors.
Meet the Marco Island City Council
The Marco Island City Council held regular meetings on Mar. 7 and Mar. 21. See agendas, minutes, and video replays here.
District School Board of Collier County
Collier County residents are represented by five elected School Board members.
Meet the School Board
Textbook Review Workgroup Meetings Must Be Open to Public
After a series of rulings and appeals, the lawsuit filed by the Florida Citizens’ Alliance in 2017 against the Collier County School Board ended this month, when the state Supreme Court refused to hear the case. As argued by FCA, textbook review/selection committee meetings ARE subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law and must be open to the public with reasonable notice provided. (FlaglerLive.com, 3/16/22)
Annual Review of School Board Policy
The School Board is the policymaking body for the School District. All Board policies are maintained for public access here on the District’s website.
On Mar. 8, Board members unanimously approved changes to 30 policies, which can be reviewed by accessing the meeting agenda here.
Other Local Elected Officials
All Collier County residents are represented by Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards, Clerk of the Circuit Court Crystal Kinzel, Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Property Appraiser Abe Skinner, and Tax Collector Rob Stoneburner.
Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards
The Collier SOE has opened a new North Naples location at the new Heritage Bay Government Services Center at 15450 Collier Blvd. (CCSOE Facebook post, 3/1/22)
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk
Collier County Sheriff’s Office will receive an award of excellence this summer for its threat management program. The program serves as a model for law enforcement agencies across the state and the country in keeping children safe at school. (WINK News, 3/1/22)
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk praised the work of detectives who arrested a convicted felon and confiscated enough fentanyl to kill the entire population of a small city after executing a search warrant at a Golden Gate residence. (CCSO Facebook post, 3/2/22)
DNA evidence led to the identification of a male suspect in the attempted kidnapping of a female jogger in Naples Park in 2020. Rambosk credits diligent detective work and information provided to the CCSO during the investigation. (Naples Daily News, 3/4/22)
An attempted kidnapping case from 2020 is now closed, as the result of working over 200 tips received by the CCSO. (FOX 4 Now, 3/4/22)
Parts of Collier County are represented in the Florida House of Representatives by Reps. Bob Rommel (District 106), Lauren Melo (District 80), and David Borrero (District 105).
All of Collier County is represented in the Florida Senate by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (District 28).
Find Your State Representative
Our local legislative delegation helped secure $37 million in state funding in next fiscal year’s budget for Collier and Hendry counties and part of Lee County.
Among the funded projects, according to Sen. Kathleen Passidomo’s Mar. 24 Newsletter, are:
- $5 million for the Naples Gulf of Mexico Beach Stormwater Outfall Project,
- $2 million for the Naples Community Hospital Simulation Center,
- $1.7 million for the Marco Island Smokehouse Creek Bridge,
- $1.7 million for a Central Receiving Center and $279,000 for a Wraparound Collier Program at the David Lawrence Mental Health Center,
- $1.5 million for the Marco Island South Water Treatment Plant Pump Station,
- $1.4 million for building construction at the Naples Senior Center,
- $500,000 for the Naples Bay Red Tide/Septic Mitigation Program,
- $245,000 for campus security at the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples, and
- $90,000 for the Lighthouse for the Blind.
U.S. House of Representatives
Parts of Collier County are represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Mario Diaz-Balart (District 25) and Byron Donalds (District 19).
Find Your Congressman
Key Votes in the U.S. House
House passes Emmett Till Antilynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime, USA Today, 3/1/22; H.R.55
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Yay
Passed 422 – 3 on 2/28//22
House passes legislation to ban Russian oil imports, Wall Street Journal, 3/9/22; H.R.6968
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Yay
Passed 414 – 17 on 3/9/22
House passes sweeping $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill, The Hill, 3/9/22; H.R.2471
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Nay
Passed 260 – 171 on 3/9/22
House passes bill to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, NBC News, 3/17/22; H.R.7108
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Yay
Passed 424 – 8 on 3/17/22
House passes bill to end mandatory arbitration of legal disputes, Reuters, 3/17/22; H.R.963
Diaz-Balart — Nay; Donalds — Nay
Passed 222 – 209 on 3/17/22
House passes Crown Act banning discrimination against Black hairstyles, NBC News, 3/18/22; H.R. 2116
Diaz-Balart — Not Voting; Donalds — Nay
Passed 235 – 189 on 3/18/22
“I am especially proud of the $5 million secured for much-needed infrastructure improvements to a wastewater treatment plant and master pump station in Everglades City and Chokoloskee,” Diaz-Balart stated in a press release, “in addition to funding for infrastructure projects in … Immokalee…”
- SWFL loses out on federal millions when Donalds won’t ask for cash. The Paradise Progressive, 3/16/22; Press Release
“We don’t have any money,” Rep. Donalds said to PBS Newshour’s Lisa Desjardins. “Like, we are deficit-spending in Washington, DC.”
- SWFL loses out on federal millions when Donalds won’t ask for cash. The Paradise Progressive, 3/16/22; PBS NewsHour Transcript
“Let me be clear: Coach Kennedy did not use his coaching role to endorse his private religious beliefs,” Donalds said in a guest opinion in The News-Press. “He simply wanted to take a few moments to appreciate the health and safety of his players while recollecting on life lessons to potentially teach his players.”
- Guest opinion: Court ruling on Kennedy prayer case ‘deeply concerning’. By Byron Donalds via The News-Press, 3/15/22
“This bill gives state and local leaders the opportunity to request federal funding to protect their waterways for future generations to come,” Donalds said in a press release.
- Congressman Byron Donalds champions bill to help those affected by harmful algal blooms. The News-Press, 3/24/24
Local news reported in this post is by Liz Freeman, Harriet Howard Heithaus, Laura Layden, and Rachel Heimann Mercader (Naples Daily News); Lance Shearer (Marco Eagle); Tim Aten (Gulfshore Business); Lauren Leslie (WINK News); and Adam Fisher (FOX4Now)
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That’s it for this month’s news for Collier County voters.