Collier County Redistricting
As we reported last month, the Collier County Growth Management Department developed five proposed maps, each of which achieves a population balance between the five county commission districts. Links to those maps and other information regarding redistricting are on the county website.
Public meetings were held this month in each of the county’s five districts and with a number of municipal and civic groups to present and gather comments on the proposed boundary changes. Video recordings of the meetings can be viewed here, and summaries of the meetings can be read here.
Responding to a question about minority representation, Collier County Redistricting Project Manager David Weeks said none of the county’s five commission districts have a population in which a majority is a racial or ethnic minority.
Hispanics, at 23.6 percent of the county’s 2020 voting-age population, are the largest minority in Collier County according to Weeks’s presentation; in District 5, with the highest number of Hispanics, Hispanics were 44.2 percent of the voting-age population. The Black community comprised approximately 10% of Collier County in 2020, according to the summary of the meetings.
“It is not ethical or allowable for the County to create a minority‐majority district by packing large groups of people with the same characteristics into the same or as few districts as possible to dilute their voting strength,” according to the summary of the meeting with the NAACP Collier County.
Dividing East Naples
East Naples Civic Association President Jacob Winge and some East Naples residents expressed concerns with the proposed maps. Parts of East Naples are currently included in commission districts 1, 3, and 4, they said, and each of the proposed maps would divide their community to an even greater extent.
While the population of East Naples is too large to fit into a single district, they believe that two commission districts should represent the community and that neighborhoods in those districts should be wholly represented. According to Winge, they suggested an edit to Map 4 to District 1 Commissioner Rick LoCastro that they believe would do so.
Decision Date: December 14
Commissioners are not required to select one of the proposed maps. In the past, they picked one of the proposed maps and made minor revisions that were discussed openly during the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) public meeting.
They will discuss and vote on district boundaries at their December 14 meeting.
Board of County Commissioners
Collier County residents are represented by one of five elected county commissioners.
Find your commissioner
Federal infrastructure funding, expedited approval of County flood maps, a septic-to-sewer grant program with dedicated, recurring funding, and a Veterans’ Nursing Home for Collier County are three of the eleven legislative priorities that will guide efforts of the County’s state and federal contract lobbyists in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., in 2022.
The BCC unanimously approved the county’s 2022 state and federal legislative and administrative priorities at its Nov. 9 meeting.
Short-Term Rental Ordinance
At its meeting on Nov. 9, the Board voted unanimously to establish registration requirements for owners of vacation and other short-term rentals of six months or less in the County, outside city limits.
The rules, which take effect on Jan. 3, require rental owners to provide local contact information for their properties, making it easier and quicker to address and resolve unruliness when it arises. (Naples Daily News, 11/11/21)
Beach Renourishment: Update
After complaints from Naples City Council members and residents, the county changed the route trucks take through city neighborhoods after they dump sand at Naples beaches for the $5 million 2021 Beach Renourishment Project. (Naples Daily News, 11/10/21)
Mosquito Control District Boundaries
Revisiting a previous decision, Commissioners voted again to support the expansion of the Collier Mosquito Control District at their Nov. 9 meeting but amended the resolution to exclude environmentally sensitive public lands. (Naples Daily News, 11/10/21)
Boat Ramp Management Strategy
At its Nov. 9 meeting, the BCC approved a number of short, intermediate, and long-term modifications designed to improve accessibility to Collier County boat ramps. (BCC News Release; Approved Modifications and Recommendations, 11/10/21)
The Board will hear the associated Fee Policy updates to approve and/or amend at their December 14, 2021, Board meeting. (Coastal Breeze News, 11/11/21)
Coastal Storm Risk Management
Due to significant changes in project costs, the Army Corps of Engineers, author of the Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study and Recommended Plan for Collier County, is taking another look at the entire project. (GSAC Newsletter, 11/18/21; Sparker’s Soapbox, 8/2/21)
Bayshore Boardwalk: A proposed master plan for an L-shaped, 17-acre tract in the Bayshore neighborhood that includes boardwalk access to Sugden Park was unanimously approved by an advisory committee to the Bayshore Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The plan still needs approval by the BCC, as the agency’s board. (Naples Daily News, 11/12/21)
Cadenhead Development — East Naples: Construction at a site adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County has temporarily been shut down. Neighbors had expressed concerns about air quality and noise at the site. (Naples Daily News, 11/19/21)
New Domestic Animal Shelter: The BCC has contracted with an architecture firm to design a new Domestic Animal Services shelter. The project, which could cost nearly $6 million, will be funded out of the county’s voter-approved one-cent sales surtax. (Naples Daily News, 11/26/21)
Goodlette-Frank Ditch Improvements: A county project to improve approximately two miles of ditch along the west side of Goodlette-Frank Road has begun. It will enhance the capacity of stormwater flow through the Gordon River Basin to Naples Bay, which will reduce flooding in adjacent developments. (Commissioner Penny Taylor newsletter, 11/23/21; Project website)
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 Nov. 1, 3, 15, 17, and 29. For agendas, minutes, and recordings of these meetings, click here.
41-10 District Master Plan: Update
This month, City Council’s “public charette” to gather public input on a vision and direction for a “41-10 District Master Plan” concluded, with a presentation on the best — and most popular — ideas from the brainstorming sessions. A draft master plan is expected by early January, with final approval by spring. (Naples Daily News, 11/12/21; Naples Daily News, 11/18/21)
New Hospital Zoning District: Update
As we reported last month, Naples Community Hospital wants to create a hospital zoning district that would establish new height rules for buildings that are considered hospitals under state law. At their Nov. 29 meeting, council members said they wanted more public input before sending the proposed zoning change to the city’s Planning Advisory Board. (Naples Daily News, 12/1/21)
Naples Interim City Manager: Update
Naples City Council voted 6-0 at their Nov. 3 meeting to give Fire Chief Pete DiMaria a 24% pay raise as he takes on the role of interim city manager starting Nov. 6. The new annual salary of $206,000 is about $40,500 more than DiMaria’s current salary, but the same as the salary that previous interim city manager Dana Souza had received. (Naples Daily News, 11/3/21)
Naples Employees Win Big Pay Raises
Approximately 225 unionized workers, from custodians to accountants, won a 4% raise for fiscal year 2021-22 and a 5% raise for fiscal year 2022-23. The 4% wage increase is retroactive to Oct. 1. The wage increases and other increased benefits will cost the city approximately $1.4 million during the span of the two years. (Naples Daily News, 11/30/21)
A Gender-Inclusive City Charter?
The Naples City Charter uses gender-specific pronouns (“he,” “his,” “his or her”) to refer to the mayor and the city manager. This month, councilors voted 6-0 to direct staff to revise and bring back for a vote an ordinance that would replace the gender-specific language in the charter with “gender inclusive-language.” Mayor Teresa Heitmann was absent during the discussion of the agenda item. (Naples Daily News, 11/17/21)
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 a regular meeting and a workshop meeting on Nov.1. See agendas, minutes, and video replays here.
Erik Brechnitz Elected to Top Spot
At City Council’s Nov. 1 meeting, Councilor Erik Brechnitz was elected unanimously to serve as Council Chair for the next twelve months. It’s the first time a single individual will have held the position for three of the four years of his council term. (Coastal Breeze News, 11/4/21)
Noise and Sign Ordinance Changes Approved
Also, during the Nov. 1 meeting, changes to a much-debated noise ordinance, as well as changes to allow more technologically advanced signage for the local McDonald’s restaurant were approved. (Coastal Breeze News, 11/11/21)
District School Board of Collier County
Collier County residents are represented by five elected School Board members.
Meet the School Board
Superintendent of the Year
Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) Superintendent Kamela Patton is Florida’s 2022 Superintendent of the Year. Her selection was formally recognized in a joint meeting of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Florida School Boards Association on Dec. 1. (Naples Daily News, 12/1/21)
School Board Takes ’Sunshine’ Case to High Court
The Collier County School Board is appealing to the Florida Supreme Court a lower court ruling in a case brought by the nonprofit Florida Citizens’ Alliance. FCA claimed the Board violated the state’s Sunshine Law in its handling of meetings of committees that evaluated and ranked textbooks. (News Service of Florida via Law.com, 11/19/21; via Tampa Bay Times, 9/10/21)
School Board Elects 2022 Chair, Vice Chair
Jen Mitchell and Jory Westberry were elected unanimously to serve in 2022 as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, at the Board’s Nov.19 organizational meeting.
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
“As Senators, we are frequently presented with situations where we must set aside our personal views and make decisions in keeping with the oath we each took to defend the constitution and laws of this state. Nowhere is this responsibility more challenging than in redistricting given that some of us may ultimately decide to vote for a map knowing the realities of that map are such that we will never be reelected.”
— Statement by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, Republican President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo, and Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, 11/9/21
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
H.R. 5376: Build Back Better Act — provides funding, establishes programs, and otherwise modifies provisions relating to education, labor, child care, health care, taxes, immigration, the environment and more.
Diaz-Balart — Nay; Donalds — Nay
Passed — 220/213 on 11/19/21
H.R.550 — Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2021 — directs the Department of Health and Human Services to take actions to improve data sharing and other aspects of immunization information systems.
Diaz-Balart — Yay; Donalds — Nay
Passed — 293/130 on 11/30/21
“A database solely created to record and collect confidential vaccination information of Americans explicitly encroaches upon individuals’ fundamental right to medical privacy. As a fiscal conservative, I cannot in good faith support legislation that contributes to the Democrats habitual pattern of reckless and wasteful spending and the intrusive heavy hand of government.”
— Rep. Byron Donalds’ interview opposing federal vaccine database, The Ingraham Angle, 12/2/21
Local news reported in this post is by Jake Allen, Rachel Fradette, Harriet Howard Heithaus, Laura Layden, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, Karl Schneider (Naples Daily News); Steve Stefanides (Coastal Breeze News); Pam Nicholls; Stan Karpf
We will miss the Naples Daily News reporters and editors who have left in the past few years or will soon be leaving, including Jake Allen, Maryann Batlle, Alexi C. Cardona, Brittany Carloni, Lisa Conley, Alex Driehaus, Adam Fisher, Rachel Fradette, Kaitlin Greenockle, Omar Rodriguez Ortiz, Adam Regan, Patrick Riley, and Jessica Rodriguez.
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That’s it for this month’s news for Collier County voters.