collier focus

Collier Focus 102

Description: This article is going to be talking about  a series of  big events and upcoming meeting of Collier County.

We’ll take a look at the board of county commissioners meeting, the board weighs in on fire consolidation legislation and Lake Trafford celebrates the completion of a massive dredging project.

At the recent Board of County Commissioners meeting, the Commission gave a tentative okay, not to object to potential legislation that if passed would make it possible to create a new fire district. The bill was written and sponsored by the North Naples fire control and rescue district, the new district would be known as the Southwest Florida fire control and rescue district and could potentially pave the way for the consolidation of fire districts throughout the county. Commissioner Georgia Hiller urged the board to support the bill.

What’s being proposed today is legislation that would allow exactly what those people who want consolidation to take place to take place, this legislation has been debated for years, there have been many hours of review, this is not something new, this legislation has been proposed and modified as a result of years of discussion and debate between the fire districts and the Board of County Commissioners.

The board voted 4: 21 not to oppose the bill as long as the language is added to the bill that gives the board the ability to continue to review and approve on annual basis. Any emergency medical certificates of public convenience issued to the new fire district which is the current procedure under state law.

The board received an accounting of funding spent related to the Jackson lab biomedical park project, the report included staff hours plus time and money spent in legal challenges, the commissioners reviewed the report and asked for revisions to the report be brought back at the next meeting. The board also voted not to spend more staff time or money on Jackson lab which recently indicated it was looking elsewhere in Florida to locate its proposed genetic research facility.

The board took some time to recognize some folks who make a real difference here in Collier County, water department operations manager Pam Libby was honored as the county supervisor of the year. Pam started her career with the Collier County government in 1994, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the entire department, including over 130 employees.

The commissioners also approved a proclamation marking February 19th as Pastor Treglown day here in Collier County. Pastor Treglown has presided over his parish at faith lutheran church for ten years and was honored for his work providing assistance to our soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past eight years. Chairman Fred Coil told the crowd of the work that the Treglown and the people at home are hilton’s military store have been providing to our troops.

Since 2003, Homer and the people who helped him, including Reverend Treglown have sent 23 tons of gifts to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 50,000 Billy babies not to our troops but to their children here in the United States and 27 thousand dollars worth of phone cards provided to them.

Finally the board honored sunshine Ace Hardware as the business of the month, Michael Wynn accepted the honor along with several of his employees win reported that sunshine Ace Hardware began in Collier County back in 1958 as an old western auto store on Fifth Avenue and now they have 240 employees at several locations between Marco Island and south Fortmyers.

On Saturday February 12th, there was a celebration at Lake Trafford to mark the completion of the massive dredging project. Recently, the South Florida Water Management District and its partners mark the completion of a project to restore Lake traffic, the largest freshwater lake in Southwest Florida. South Florida Water Management Director Clarence Tears kicked off the celebration.

I want to welcome you all here it was one person’s dream and that was Ann Olesky, to restore this lake and over the years, she was pushing me in the back to make sure it happened, I’m just said she’s not here to see it happen today. The celebration at Lake Trafford welcomed a number of dignitaries including State Senator, Garrett Richter. This is a great day for Lake Trafford, we had lots of discussions about the dredging of Lake Trafford and today, look at this beautiful lake, the birds and the mangroves.

Lake Trafford is a sixteen hundred acre lake, Florida’s largest lake, south of Lake Okeechobee. It’s the headwaters of several important ecosystems, Corkscrew Swamp, Imperial Coca Hatchy River and Camp Keys Strand.

Over time, nutrient runoff from nearby agriculture and urban development shifted the lake’s native vegetation to dense mats of exotic hydrilla. Herbicides were used to control the hydrilla and dead plant material accumulated on the bottom of the lake, this triggered algae blooms and reduced the lakes dissolved oxygen levels resulting in fish kills. The dredging project removed six million cubic yards of muck from the lake bottom.

This process took almost 14 years, we had a couple of droughts that shut down the project, a few hurricanes, so there have been challenges along the way, however eventually we were able to remove the six million cubic yards of luck and we have a restored Lake. The restoration was an excellent example of local citizens and public agencies and private organizations working together to restore a precious resource.

County Manager Leo Oaks talks about the county’s contribution, the county has been involved from the beginning in this project, actually the County Commission through their tourist development council was able to appropriate two million dollars in seed money that really helped jumpstart the project and allowed other agencies to come on board, to match our funding and leverage the project and eventually fund it at 100% level and it’s a great project. Helping restore the lakes and revitalize local marshes and swamps has turned Lake Trafford into one of Collier County’s crown jewels.

The significance of today’s event and Lake Trafford, it has everything to do not only with my district but also has to do with Collier County, the state of Florida in the world because this is not only an amenity that people can enjoy as far as fishing goes or the viewing of alligators or picnicing, it can also be enjoyed by the tourists to come to our area that would like to do something different than golf, it is a thing that can be enjoyed by everyone for many generations to come.

On Wednesday february 9th, the 14th annual senior expo was held at the Golden Gate community center. Seniors started lining up early for the event that started at 10 a.m., volunteer coordinator Meryl Rorer says that no matter what service or product a senior might be looking for, senior expo has you covered.

We have 49 vendors this yea, in addition we have four or five people from the food industry and we have free food for them as well which they enjoy, but we have people from the health care, we have the hospitals, we have a money management we have all the county departments represented them that have anything to do with senior service, we have the Sheriff’s Department, we have dental studios, we have cruise Naples, we have parks and recreation, we have domestic animal services, we have numerous people that provide medical care to seniors.

On Friday February 4th, Collier County emergency management department hosted the annual urban wildland fire interface coordination workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to address a variety of topics which would have an impact on the firefighting operations when communities are threatened by a wildland fire.

In addition to Collier County Emergency Management EMS and the sheriff’s office, there were over 70 other stakeholders present including the National Weather Center in Miami, the Florida Division of Forestry, the Red Cross and many others.

Now let’s take a look at some upcoming Collier County government meetings, the following meetings are all held in the board meeting room on the third floor of the main Administration Building 3299 Tamiami trail east at the Collier County Government Center unless otherwise indicated.

On Wednesday february 16th, at 9 a.m., the contractors licensing board will meet, the Collier County Planning Commission will meet on Thursday February 17th at 8:30 a.m. and on Tuesday February 22nd at 9 a.m., the board of county commissioners will meet in regular session.

For more information on carter county government or to inquire about other meetings that have been scheduled since the taping of this program, contact the communication and customer relations department at 25 28 84 8 or via email, you can also click on our website.

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