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City Council approves a number of items
June 12, 2019

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With a large agenda, the Cape Coral City Council had a lot of work to do at its final regular meeting Monday before the summer hiatus.

And despite the length of the meeting, council had little disagreement on the issues, with everything passing unanimously.

Perhaps the most pressing issue was the one regarding a resolution to amend the City Council rules of procedure, which has been tabled and placed on the back burner for several weeks.

In the end, a few changes were made to limit council comments at the end of meetings to city business and to see to it that in the event a council member needs to attend the meeting remotely due to an extraordinary circumstance, it can be done.

Attending meetings remotely has been done in the past. Connie Barron, assistant city manager, said the city can set it up so a council member can use Skype, as long as the city knows by noon on the day of the meeting.

Moments later, Councilmember Jessica Cosden announced her intention of missing at least three meetings and as many as three budget workshops while she recovers from having her baby. She will participate remotely from home, she said.

Also, Lee County Clerk of Courts Linda Doggett appeared before the City Council to announce that the Cape Coral branch office would return to a five-day week. It had been operating three days a week because of budget restrictions. That means people will once again to able to access the myriad of services the office provides, from civil suits and marriages, Doggett said.

City Council also voted unanimously to ratify the four Collective Bargaining agreements between the city and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades for blue collar, white collar, non-supervisory and supervisory employees.

City Manager John Szerlag praised both sides on reaching a deal, albeit nine months late, which will give these employees a 3.25 percent raise for the next three years (beginning Oct. 1, 2018).

Szerlag also saw to it that the other city employees such as non-bargaining employees, fire and police, also got their share after accepting a 3 percent raise in their last CBA with a resolution to approve an extra .25 percent raise, to be paid retroactively effective Oct. 1, 2018. City Council passed that measure unanimously.

In other business, the City Council made a rare move to reverse a decision by the Hearing Examiner that denied a deviation for improvements on a dock at a Southeast 23rd Place residence and nominated Rick Williams as its recommendation for the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors nominee.

It also passed a resolution to repeal a 2005 resolution of necessity regarding the acquisition of property to create Festival Park. There are still 68 parcels left to acquire.

Also, City Council got a round of applause from wildlife advocates when it approved an ordinance to amend the city's Code of Ordinances to add the gopher tortoise to the list of protected species in the city to go along with the burrowing owl. Both animals are listed as threatened species.

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