The Fort Myers Beach Town Council met at 5:01 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10, regular meeting as well as the first hearing on the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget.
The meeting began with public comment from two gentlemen and a report from Ellyn Bogdanoff, a security risk assessor hired by the Lani Kai Hotel.
One of the gentlemen who spoke was Len Lemmer, owner of Nervous Nellie’s Restaurant. He requested that the Town allow him to lease a small piece of Bayside Park to accommodate the restaurant’s hostess station and propane heaters. He also requested to continue to be part of the conversations about the Bayside Park redesign.
The second gentleman was 40 year resident, John Heim, involved with South West Florida Clean Water Movement, he brought attention to past administrations having approved signage on the beach and some accesses do have signs and some still do not... with QR codes and the ones that do have the codes, when you use the QR codes where they is signage, the link does not work, and wondering why it has never worked and when it can work, as taxpayers are paying for it!
Then he spoke about testing the water quality of the back bay under previous Natural Resource Director Ray Blake, whose job was to test the waters, and the job was about being transparent and giving this information to the general public about what was in the water, when it came to her findings, that information was never relinquished .... at all! And when recently ask to ex mayor Cereceda, she said the records never existed, as if the tests were never taken ...again this is taxpayers money....this was a budget item.... Posing the question "are we still paying for water testing, are we still conducting water testing and where is the information after four years now."
Next he spoke of the city allowing runoff from the construction to go into the back bay bringing attention to the fact that the Estero Aquatic Preserve was the first protected body of water in the state of Florida and here we are allowing this construction company to build coverts and pump their chemicals and who knows what else right down to peoples canals and making these canals extremely dangerous and he reminded the council that the canals have never been dredged in history, closing with a request that the council give consideration to these items he spoke about and requested the council dredge the canals and treat them like a roadway.
Ellyn Bogdanoff came to this meeting to report on the data analysis that she completed to investigate concerns of residents and Town Councilors about the amount of law enforcement actions at the Lani Kai. Bogdanoff said that about 75% of the sheriff’s actions at the Lani Kai are not serious. Town Councilors questioned this analysis at length... very much so. She also said that she has identified training for security staff and controlling property access as two areas of improvement to be implemented at the Lani Kai.
She spoke for about 40 minutes answering every question, over and over and over again, so much so that the mayor commented several times that the questions have been already answered and we are repeating ourselves.
During the first budget hearing that was part of this meeting, the recommended tax millage rate of .95 for Fiscal Year 2021 - same rate as this fiscal year - was proposed for adoption at the second budget hearing. This rate provides the revenue to continue current levels of service and repay the loan to improve Times Square, Bay Oaks Recreational Campus, and Bayside Park.
The second budget hearing was set for 5:01 p.m. on September 21, 2020.
In other business, the Town Manager asked for approval for street performers to start back within the next few weeks, which was granted. Street performers must apply for a permit and be approved. The form and more information can be found on the Town’s website, as well as a link to the video from the entire meeting.