The best news to come out of Monday afternoon’s Town Council meeting is that – with the fireworks funding committee handing the Town a check for $20,000 – the Fourth of July fireworks contract was officially approved, meaning residents, visitors and businesses can rest assured that Fort Myers Beach will have a celebration on our nation’s birthday.
At the beginning of the meeting, Council agreed to move the date of next year’s elections from March 17 to March 7. The new date will coincide with elections for the City of Sanibel and the Village of Estero, which will not only save the Town money, it will also prevent any possible delay in vote tabulation, according to the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.
Jackie Liszak, owner of the Sea Gypsy Inn, Pete’s Time Out owner John Lallo and Silver Sands’ Andrea Carriere – all members of the FMB Fireworks Fund Committee – were all smiles when they handed Council a check for $20,000 for Fourth of July fireworks.
“This is a result of a massive coming together and efforts by local businesses and people in a very short time,” said Liszak, who helped to organize fundraising efforts after Town Council’s announcement in mid- March that the Fourth of July show would be cancelled due to lack of funding. “We are so proud of our community, and we continue to fundraise to ensure that there will always be fireworks on the Fourth and on New Year’s Eve.”
In approving the contract, Council also agreed to match the $20,000 donation with $20,000 of town money – which will cover everything from the parade to the cost of extra police and firefighters for the event.
Council then held a short discussion about staff’s recommendation to enter into negotiations with three firms for the purpose of providing underground utilities and emergency services.
“Having the backup of three contractors for an emergency situation is a good thing, and a non-emergency situation, they can bid against each other so the Town can pick the lowest price,” Public Works Director Scott Baker said. Town Attorney Dawn Lehnert explained that this is common practice at the county level.
The selection of Conidaris Builders, Mitchell & Stark and Quality Enterprises was approved 3-2 (Stockton and Gore dissenting).
During Councilmembers’ Items, Vice-Mayor Summer Stockton suggested an addition to the June 5th agenda related to an earlier suggestion made by Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) Director Tamara Pigott that the Town seek funding for Bay Oaks under the Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) Arts and Attractions program, and the rest of council agreed.
During Councilmembers’ Items, Gore brought up the Hercules dock, which initiated a discussion about policy in regard to what different neighborhoods would like to see at Town-owned bay accesses. Council agreed to hold a special, one-hour workshop on the issue and scheduled it for June 6th.
Keri Hendry Weeg