Your February 19th article headlined “Council Eliminates Bay Beach from Stormwater Fee…” is inaccurate. Bay Beach residents can’t breathe a sigh of relief. The council did not vote unanimously to approve a resolution that will remove them from the Town’s stormwater utility and reimburse them for any costs they’ve paid so far.
The resolution the council passed (16-07) suggested that EBIA requested an “adjustment” to the Town’s Ordinance (15-08). What we requested was a “removal from the benefit area.” Bay Beach has not, does not and will not contribute water to the Town’s stormwater system. The Town’s Stormwater Management System was never planned to, or designed to include any part of Bay Beach in their Stormwater System: and unless they greatly increase their design and cost it will never.
The council resolution directed the Town Manager to make a 100% “adjustment” to the fee assessed Bay Beach residents. Everyone needs to remember that Ordinance 15-08 (ordinances trump resolutions) establishes that the Storm Water Director (Town Manager) gets to set and adjust fees at their sole discretion. So how long the “100% adjustment” stays in place is questionable and intended to let Bay Beach residents falsely feel that the town finally came to its senses.
Resolution 16-07 does state that at the February 1, 2016 Town Meeting the Town Attorney was to write 16-07 to review the removal of Bay Beach from the benefit area. The Town Attorney made no reference to Bay Beach’s right for removal from the benefit area in the Resolution. There must be a hope that Bay Beach residents will lose interest, or be on summer hiatus, and not be around to publicly contest a failure for removal from the “benefit area”; since the Town Attorney was provided with the summer to re-write Ordinance 15-08 to clean up all the conflicts and errors.
Fort Myers Beach
Editor note: Town Council voted 5-0 on Feb.16 to approve Resolution 16-07 that recognizes that the Bay Beach Lane area is served by a private stormwater management system and does not contribute to the town’s stormwater. The resolution grants Bay Beach “an adjustment to the Stormwater Utility Fee of 100%.” Anyone wishing to view that portion of the council meeting may do so on the Town’s website. The discussion begins at 3:16 of the meeting. The Resolution is also available in the Feb. 16 meeting packet.