The Fort Myers Beach Town Council returned from their July break this past Monday, August 3rd, and settled into their newly renovated chamber at Town Hall. Vice Mayor Dan Andre took the reins at the meeting that morning, as Mayor Anita Cereceda was absent.
Aside from the expanded Fort Myer Beach Town Hall, the Council reconvened amidst another big transformation on the island, with the replacement of waterlines beneath Estero Boulevard taking place right across the street.
However, waterline replacement will not be the only change Gulf Beach Road will see in the near future, as Council voted unanimously to approve a bid for the construction of a dinghy dock and paddle craft launch on the road’s bay access. The access is located near the Topps Supermarket.
“During Cruisers Appreciation Day, the one thing overwhelmingly asked for was a dinghy dock there, so people could get to the grocery store,” Vice Mayor Andre said.
The bid to construct the additions to the bay access was submitted by Infinite Construction. The project is funded through a grant by the Lee County Tourist Development Council.
The Council then held the first reading of an ordinance that would align town elections with the presidential primaries.
“State law does allow us to amend our charter,” Town Attorney Dan Rooney said. The stated reasons Fort Myers Beach is pursuing these adjusted dates is to lower costs and have higher voter turnout for the upcoming town elections. “This may affect some of the changes we were proposing for charter review, but at the next one or two meetings we will be discussing those changes, and how it impacts the date.”
The proposed change would move the election from the second Tuesday to the third Tuesday in March. The ordinance will also adjust the qualifying period for local candidates to reflect the changed date, and will only affect town elections that fall on years with presidential primaries. Otherwise, elections will fall back to their normal schedule.
The Council unanimously voted to move the ordinance to a second hearing at the August 17th meeting.
Vice Mayor Andre also spoke at the meeting regarding a Fort Myers Beach resolution supporting a statewide ban on hydraulic and acid fracturing.
“The reason for this resolution is that we have some state representatives that said they’re trying to regulate fracking and protect us,” Andre said. “The bill they’re pushing says that any chemicals you’re using for fracking has to be disclosed to a federal database. The bill next to that, which they don’t tell you about, is one that says if you regard any of the chemicals in that process as proprietary or trade secret, you do not have to disclose it.”
“This is our island saying no, and we’re hoping to get a little momentum with this,” Andre said. “Maybe we can get something going.”
During the Consent Agenda, The Council voted unanimously to appoint Mayor Cereceda as the voting delegate to the 89th Annual Florida League of Cities. The conference will take place August 13th through the 15th in Orlando.