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Collier Focus 122

Description: This article is going to be talking about the February 28th Board of County Commissioners meeting, setting the budget policy for fiscal year 2013 and red light cameras.

Today we’ll take a look at the February 28th Board of County Commissioners meeting, setting the budget policy for fiscal year 2013 and red light cameras are here to stay.

At the February 28th Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Jim Caleta introduced an amendment to the reconsideration ordinance, at a previous meeting, the Board found itself in the unusual position of voting on the Immokalee master plan before a pending state deadline only to have the deadline extended after the vote.

The master plan failed to receive the necessary for vote supermajority needed for passage with no legal means to bring it back for reconsideration, District 5 Commissioner Jim Caleta says the amendment has a very narrow focus.

This has to deal with one situation that’s extremely unique, and that’s the Immokalee master plan and how it came through the process, and the final end of it where it only got three votes instead of the four needed votes, because we had one Commissioner had excused himself at the time because of a conflict he had for a piece of property in Immokalee.

So it didn’t get a hearing, my friends at the Florida State House agreed with me and they gave us an extension of nine months to be able to reconsider it we’re trying to come up with the mechanism to be able to do that. So what we’re doing here is we’re nothing more than realizing the extreme circumstances of this one case and having our reconsideration ordinance changed, to be able to accommodate it.

The board heard a recommendation to adopt budget policy for the fiscal year 2013 budget, adoption of the budget polishing establishes a blueprint for staff to begin preparing the fy13 budget. Budget director Marc Isaacson reported the board that the property appraiser anticipates another year of decreasing ad valorem property tax values that may be as high as five percent property values have decreased countywide by one-third in recent years.

Determining revenue is not a simple process but expect preliminary budget cuts of about 5% countywide. The budget is it it’s a it’s a mixture of different types of revenue sources, you have ad valorem, you’ve got got user fees that are involved in this from a water and sewer perspective.

So there are some 200 funds that are standalone in nature and have varying revenue sources. So terms of trying to project what the overall budget will be, that’s almost impossible to do right now. But from the general fund standpoint, you’re going to see a decrease in the general fund budget.

The board approved the recommended budget policy in a 4 to 1 vote, the millage rate is tentatively set at 3.5 645 the same as it has been for several years. Red light cameras are here to stay in Collier County for at least one more year. The board voted to approve a settlement and release agreement between Collier County and American Traffic Solutions incorporated, the vendor contracted to manage the camera systems. Transportation engineering director Jay Ahmad explains the agreement.

The board approved today the settlement agreement, staff negotiated with the vendor that provides the red light camera program. The vendor wasn’t paid for a period of about 18 months, although they provided the service, the dispute was the issue of payment. We’ve been in negotiations and we finally came to an agreement that is acceptable to the clerk, the sheriff and to our county attorney and ourselves.

The program is to remain cost neutral with taxpayers neither funding the program nor receiving revenue. There are 19 intersection approaches throughout the county where red light running is being monitored electronically, the violation fine is set by state statute at $158.

The Duras development council will now select its own chairman from the member that sit on that board, the commissioners voted 4:1 to grant the request from the TDC, to let it select its own chairman. State statute does say that one member of the board of county commissioners must serve on the TDC. Commissioner Tom hinting volunteered and was appointed to serve for the rest of the year. The Board of County Commissioners appointment to the TDC is done on an annual basis.

Collier County EMS medical director Dr. Robert Tober may have changes made to his contract, the commissioners decided to review the contract which has an automatic renewal clause. The commissioners will work with the county attorney on any proposed changes to that contract.

The board adopted a resolution authorizing the condemnation of a road right-of-way drainage and utility easement, necessary for the construction of intersection improvements at 18th avenue northeast and Everglades Boulevard, acquiring the small piece of land is all about helping school buses, make it around the tight corner.

The school board came to us and they wanted improvements to that small radius that exists out there and we made the radius larger with improvements, designed the larger radius for the buses and also for larger vehicles that use that road. And we needed a small bezel land to accomplish that and that’s what the board action was today. They approved the condemnation to go to court and obtain that visa land from that property owner.

Condemnation is always the last resort and every effort will be made to acquire the property before going to court. The board awarded a 1.7 million dollar contract to Douglas in Higgins to make tertiary stormwater improvements in the golden or in the Gateway triangle, this is one of several stormwater projects that will be undertaken to help relieve flooding issues in that area with the contract awarded the projects should get underway within the next 60 days.

Luke higher County growth management division in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation held a noise barrier workshop on Thursday March 1st at the South Regional Library concerning the U.S.41 collier boulevard project.

The project area for intersection improvements is approximately one quarter a mile in each direction on both U.S.41 and collier boulevard a distance of about one mile. A traffic noise evaluation determined that a noise barrier in the vicinity of the Eagle Creek neighborhood is a cost reasonable and feasible measure to reduce traffic noise at homes near collier boulevard.

This workshop provided affected property owners and interested people the opportunity to express their views regarding potential design and construction of a traffic noise barrier along collier boulevard at the eagle creek community.

Design is underway for intersection improvements that will increase capacity improve safety and set the footprint for a possible future grade-separated overpass, construction for the ad grade intersection improvement is currently programmed in the county’s five-year work program and is expected to begin next year. The grade separated over past is a future option when funding becomes available.

Friday February 24th was a big day at the Marco Island Executive Airport, the band was there along with plenty of dignitaries in a large crowd to cut the ribbon on the new parallel taxiway. The Marco Island Airport had been rated as one of the most dangerous airports in the state due to the lack of a taxiway which meant planes taxing on the airport’s only runway before taking off and after landing.

Commissioner Donna Fiala who is widely credited with shepherding this project to its completion was front and center when it came time to cut the ribbon. This is mission accomplished, it took us six years to get through the permitting, it wasn’t a simple feat, FAA worked with us and provided most of the money and then the FDOT provided another two and a half percent of the money, it was a joint effort, everybody came together for the betterment of our community.

Safety is not the only benefit of the new taxiway, some larger planes that could not land at the Marco airport previously because of insurance restrictions, for airports without taxiways, will now be allowed to land there.

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