Home' Island Sun : ISN 072415 Contents ISLAND SUN - JULY 24, 2015
From page 10
Latest Civic Core Conceptual Plans
Opening the meeting to public comment, resident Karen Storjohann asked if the
proposal was ADA-compliant, which Woodruff responded it was. She then pointed out
that the closest parking area to the plaza was much further from each proposed facil-
ity than any current building, which would negatively impact elderly or handicapped
“If you wanted to go to the theater, the closest parking lot is actually at city hall,”
she later noted.
Gib Warren, one of the Sanibel Public Library commissioners, suggested that the
access road leading to the new Civic Core Plaza be renamed Bob Janes Way in honor
of the late Lee County commissioner and one-time mayor of Sanibel.
Richard Johnson, speaking on behalf of the Sanibel Community Association’s
board, spoke in favor of the latest version of the civic core proposal. “We feel really
good about this,” he said. “This fits in with our community really well.”
Ruane also noted that currently, work on investigating the viability of a Sanibel Civic
Core has cost approximately $93,000. Previously, the city spent $180,000 on devel-
oping a master plan for the proposed Town Center project.
“Like any project, I think we need to bring all of the details together and allow the
public to know what those details are,” he added, explaining that the project would
only move forward if approved by island residents in a public referendum. “I think
we’ve made significant progress.”
No word was given regarding the next presentation on the civic core plan.
In other business, the council unanimously approved awarding the 2015 street
resurfacing contract to Community Asphalt Corporation in the amount of $569,888.
The street resurfacing project includes resurfacing of portions of Sanibel-Captiva
Road, Dixie Beach Boulevard, East Periwinkle Way, East Gulf Drive, South Donax
Street, Beach Road, the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Causeway Boulevard, and
the intersection of Dixie Beach Road and Albatross Road.
Paving of Wulfert Road and the west end of Periwinkle were removed from the
project because they would have exceeded the $600,000 budgeted for the work.
In addition, councilors approved awarding the 2015 shared use path repair contract
to Bonness, Inc. in the amount of $135,952.77. The city had budgeted $150,000 for
Finally, a second special meeting focused on traffic management on the island has
been scheduled for Monday, August 3 beginning at 9 a.m . at MacKenzie Hall. The
joint workshop session, which will include members of both the city council and plan-
ning commission, will be open to the public.
Kevin Ruane, left, presents 30-Year awards to city employees David Fehlandt, Karen
Gudella, James Jordan and Bill Tomlinson
photos by Jeff Lysiak
Mayor Kevin Ruane, left, presents 35-Year awards to city employees Steve Henry and
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Council Introduces Budget
With Rolled-Back Millage Rate
by Jeff Lysiak
When they arrived at MacKenzie Hall on Tuesday afternoon to hear the initial
draft budget presentation for fiscal year 2015-16, members of the Sanibel
City Council were delivered a proposed budget of $55,702,398, which was
prepared with a millage rate of 1.9995.
But after looking at ways the budget could be adjusted by lowering reserves to the
city’s contingency fund, insurance deductibles, transportation special reserve fund and
other “low hanging fruit” in the proposed draft budget, council unanimously approved
a proposed operating millage rate of 1.939 mills, identical to last year’s approved and
adopted rolled-back rate.
According to Mayor Kevin Ruane, the city would be able to lower the millage rate
if it could trim approximately $370,000 from the proposed draft budget. In addition
to adjusting the contingency fund from $275,000 to $175,000 and adjusting the
transportation special reserve fund from $315,000 to $215,000, Ruane found other
cost-cutting measures including capping the subsidy for the Sanibel Recreation Center,
eliminating the expense of purchasing Tasers and body cameras for the Sanibel Police
Department and delaying a ballfield improvement project.
“That’s going to save us about $900,000, and we only need to find $370,000 to
get to the rolled-back rate,” said Ruane, who said that the conservative adjustments he
was proposing only looked at “low hanging fruit” in the city’s budget.
“I’m happy with that,” said Vice Mayor Mick Denham. “I might argue one or two
of those items, but for today, I like it.”
Councilman Chauncey Goss also suggested taking at look at beach parking rev-
enues. “If you take a look at beach parking, the lots are always full,” he said. “I think
we’re leaving a lot of revenue out there.”
During public comment on the budget, resident David Bath offered that the city
take another look at installing video cameras at city hall, which would allow people to
view their meetings either live or afterwards. Currently, the city website has streaming
audio of all city meetings. He also suggested that the city look into updating the master
plan for the shared use path system, since the current version was adopted in 2009.
In addition, the city’s proposed aggregate taxes levied, exclusive of voted debt ser-
vice levies, is $8,635,291. The millage levy for the sewer voted debt service is 0.2026
mills, the millage levy for the land acquisition voted debt service is 0.0761 mills and
the millage levy for the recreation center voted debt service is 0.1179 mills.
After Ruane made a motion to approve the draft budget, which was seconded by
Denham, council unanimously passed the resolution.
The council will conduct the first budget public hearing on Saturday, September
12 at 9 a.m., during which they will discuss and adopt the tentative millage rate and
budget. The second and final budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 22 at
5:01 p.m .
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