Archived Messages from Your Mayor
As the cooler weather and holiday season approaches and we turn our clocks back an hour (Sunday, November 5), we welcome the month of November. There are many important updates and news to share with our community.
Yacht Club Beach Reopening: I am thrilled to announce that our city just received the necessary federal permits to reopen the Yacht Club Beach, which has been a long time coming. Plans for the future of the Yacht Club Community Park will be discussed early this month by the City Council at a workshop meeting.
Progress on New Parks: Our commitment to providing green spaces for our community remains. Sands Park is open, and many residents are enjoying this new park. A ribbon-cutting event is planned for December to celebrate this addition to our city. Joe Coviello Park will open next month, providing residents with even more recreational and environmental opportunities. The bid for Crystal Lake Park is under evaluation, and we expect construction to begin soon. Bid opening for Festival Park will occur this month, with four new soccer fields and space for up to 10 fields total. The city received all the necessary state and federal permits for Lake Meade Park. The next step for Lake Meade Park is construction bidding. The city is awaiting a federal permit to proceed with Tropicana Park construction. The city is dedicated to completing these Parks GO Bond projects. The City’s website contains more details about these projects (www.capecoral.gov).
Veterans Day: We honor and express our deep gratitude to all the brave men and women who have served our great nation. Your sacrifices have ensured our freedom, and we are forever indebted to you for your service. To show our appreciation, the city will designate two new parking spots dedicated to veterans at City Hall. It is a small gesture, but we hope it reflects our respect for our veterans. The city is partnering with community volunteers to host this year’s Veterans Day Parade on Cape Coral Parkway on Saturday, November 11, at 11 a.m.
Transportation Improvements: The City Council remains dedicated to improving the City’s transportation system. We are actively working to encourage the Florida Department of Transportation to accelerate its plan to widen the section of Pine Island Road where the level of service is already failing. We are also advancing a transportation master plan and several other action plans focusing on safety to address the traffic concerns related to our rapidly growing City. We understand the importance of safe and efficient transportation and are committed to addressing this concern.
Hurricane Ian Recovery: We understand that hurricane recovery can be long and complex, especially when seeking state and federal reimbursement for repairs. The city completed stop sign repairs earlier this year. However, I urge residents to report any stop sign issues to the Cape Coral 311 call center or use the Cape Coral 311 app to ensure the safety of our roadways. Due to the complexity of reimbursement processes, traffic signal repair is still being conducted by Lee County, and the city is addressing other remaining traffic signs that need repairs or straightening.
In conclusion, as we move forward into the holiday season, we continue to work diligently to make our city a better place for our residents, businesses, and visitors. Together, we will overcome challenges and make our city even more vibrant. Please remember that my office is always open to your feedback and suggestions.
October 1 represents the beginning of the new fiscal year for the City of Cape Coral.
Cape Coral City Council adopted the FY 2024 budget on September 21 following two public hearings and months of preparation. This budget, slightly over $1 billion, maintains the millage rate of 5.3694 mills.
Most of the growth in our budget is the direct result of our need to expand services to keep up with the needs of our growing City. Public safety remains a top priority, and we are adding eight police officers and 11 firefighters. These new positions will help reduce response times and be utilized to staff the new police and fire training facilities under construction. Infrastructure is another priority in this year's budget. We have allocated $7.4 million for road resurfacing and $3 million for traffic lights and intersection improvements at four key locations. These improvements will make our residents' commute to and from work safer. We also are advancing the planning and design for the future widening of Pine Island Road. The Stormwater Fund will provide new positions to help reduce the backlog of drainage improvements and maintenance needed for our extensive stormwater system to help mitigate localized street flooding. City Council continues to focus on enhancing the aesthetics of our community by dedicating funding to increase beautification throughout the City, including median landscaping. We are also replacing trees and shrubs lost during Hurricane Ian because the state and federal governments do not fund landscaping reimbursements.
In addition to passing the FY24 budget, the Council recently appointed Michael Ilczyszyn to fill the City Manager position permanently. Since February, he has served as Interim City Manager and successfully demonstrated his ability to do the job well. The Council is confident Mike will continue to lead the City forward into the future.
With cooler temperatures on the way, the City will kick off our special events season with the return of Cape Bike Night on October 14 and the Second Annual "Trunk or Treat" at City Hall on October 27. These free events are open to the public, and we hope you will join us.
Thank you to everyone who attended the "Resilience Rally" on September 29. This event marked the first anniversary of Hurricane Ian, and it allowed us to give back to local charities who gave so much during and after Hurricane Ian. In addition to collecting hundreds of donations to help restock the shelves of local non-profit organizations, the event reminded us how far our community has come in the year since the devastating storm.
Speaking of Ian, we are still in hurricane season, and I would like to remind our residents to have a plan in place before a storm strikes. The 2023 Cape Coral Hurricane Preparedness Guide is an excellent resource with evacuation and shelter information and how to stay informed before, during, and after a storm.
I encourage residents to stay informed about city issues that are important to them. There are many ways to participate in the decision-making process, and provide us with your input. I look forward to what we can accomplish when we work together as a community in the new fiscal year.
It's remarkable how quickly September has arrived, bringing us closer to the peak of the 2023 hurricane season and the first anniversary of Hurricane Ian. While Ian left a mark as one of the most devastating natural disasters ever to strike Cape Coral, the anniversary serves as a stark reminder of the significance of having a hurricane preparedness plan in place. If you haven't already, I strongly urge everyone to download and follow the guidelines outlined in the Cape Coral 2023 Hurricane Preparedness Guide.
The path to recovery from Ian remains a lengthy journey, akin to a marathon rather than a sprint. Nevertheless, I take pride in witnessing the strength and resilience of our community in the face of adversity and the remarkable progress we've made over the past year.
We are fortunate we were spared the worst of Hurricane Idalia’s impacts, unlike some of our Florida neighbors.
In addition to monitoring the weather, September is budget season for the City of Cape Coral. Adopting the annual operating budget is one of the Council's most important responsibilities. As Mayor, I will ensure the budget allocates the limited resources across our Strategic Plan priorities that are vital to both our organization and our community. Cape Coral's status as one of the nation's fastest-growing cities brings with it both opportunities and challenges. Public safety will remain a top priority as we continue to grow. There also is an effort to improve community beautification in our residential neighborhoods and commercial corridors, which is reflected in the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues on City Council as we create a balanced budget that provides the appropriate level of service you expect.
As we transition into the fall season, I invite to our residents to venture out and explore some of our newest parks that were funded by the Parks GO Bond. The newest parks include Giuffrida Park, Del Prado Linear Park, Gator Trails Park, and Cultural Park. Several other new parks will open soon (Sands Park, Coviello Park, and Yellow Fever Creek Preserve).
I also implore our residents to stay well-informed and actively involved in matters that hold significance for them within our city. There are numerous opportunities to participate in the decision-making process and provide your input.
As always, it is an honor to serve as your mayor, and I remain committed to establishing high expectations for our community while steering our city toward a brighter future.
As we find ourselves amid hot summer days and prepare for a new school year, I want to extend my appreciation for your continued dedication to our community.
We must remain prepared with hurricane season in full swing until November 30. I urge you to utilize the Cape Coral Hurricane Prep Guide, it's a new resource to help you and your family get ready for any potential storms.
August is busy, and much of our efforts will be spent on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The City's operating budget is a municipality's most important work product. State law requires us to adopt a balanced budget annually. As a community member, understanding the budget and process will give you a voice in your community's priorities. Budget workshops will be held on August 8 and August 15, and you are encouraged to share your input during these public meetings.
The budget serves several functions. It prioritizes our community's needs and services, allocates resources among departments, reflects the City Council's legislative priorities and policies, and controls how much each department may spend. While public safety remains a top concern, we are devoted to addressing infrastructure, economic development, and water quality improvement.
Regarding water quality, the City's fertilizer restrictions prevent the use of phosphorous and nitrogen-containing fertilizers. These nutrients contribute to harmful algae blooms in our waterways. Bubble curtains were installed in 10 canals along the Caloosahatchee River last year to keep algae from the river out of our local waterways. However, many of our canals do not have bubble curtains, and reducing stormwater runoff is essential.
We will honor Purple Heart recipients with a new dedicated parking spot at City Hall this month. There also is a Purple Heart recognition ceremony planned for August 2. Later in the month, we are hosting a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Police Training Facility, which is crucial in ensuring our officers maintain the highest standards.
As the new school year begins, rest assured that the City of Cape Coral and the Police Department are fully committed to the safety and security of our students. Please use caution and drive carefully, allowing our students and school buses to safely travel to and from school.
It is truly an honor to serve as your Mayor, and I am dedicated to upholding high expectations for our exceptional community while propelling our city forward.
Thank you for your support and commitment to making Cape Coral a remarkable place to call home.
As the month of July begins, I wanted to take a moment to address some important matters and share updates on various initiatives that are shaping our city’s future. As we approach Independence Day, I invite you to celebrate with us at the City’s Red, White & Boom on Tuesday, July 4th. The event is free for attendees and will have music, food, entertainment, and the best fireworks display in Southwest Florida. This annual occasion reminds us of the hard-fought freedoms we cherish and the shared values that unite us.
In June, the City hosted its inaugural Flag Day celebration in Club Square. This special occasion allowed us to come together as a community to honor the symbol of our nation.
I am happy to announce the upcoming arrival of Aleksandr Boksner, our new City Attorney, who will join the City in August. Mr. Boksner brings professional experience and legal expertise that will undoubtedly serve our city well. The City Attorney is the legal advisor to the City Council, various City boards, and the City administration and departments.
Looking ahead, I anticipate a council discussion regarding the permanent appointment of a City Manager. Since February, Michael Ilczysczyn has diligently fulfilled the role of Interim City Manager, contributing his expertise and guidance. As we strive for continued progress and stability, it is imperative that City Council selects a qualified individual who will lead our city into the future with strategy and vision.
I want to express my gratitude to our Lee County Legislative Delegation for their support. Thanks to their efforts, our city will receive $17 million in appropriations from the State of Florida. These funds will be instrumental in advancing vital projects, improving our emergency preparedness and response, infrastructure, and providing additional irrigation water resources for all residents.
As we prepare for the upcoming fiscal year, the City’s budget preparations are well underway. We are diligently working to allocate resources effectively and prioritizing the needs of our community. Through careful planning and responsible fiscal management, we aim to provide essential services, promote economic growth, and invest in initiatives that enrich the lives of our residents.
Despite the challenges posed by Hurricane Ian, I am pleased to share that our Parks GO Bond projects are progressing. These projects, designed to enhance our recreational spaces, have endured setbacks due to damage from the storm. However, we are determined to overcome these obstacles and continue creating spaces for our community. Joe Coviello Park will be opening in the coming weeks, offering an environmental park with an outdoor classroom area for residents to enjoy.
Speaking of hurricanes, while hurricane season officially began on June 1, I urge each and every one of you to have a well-prepared plan in place. Our city recently hosted a highly attended hurricane expo, where valuable information and resources were made available to our residents. Additionally, our City’s Storm Season Prep webpage provides a comprehensive Hurricane Prep Guide and other essential information to help you effectively prepare for, endure, and recover from a storm.
In closing, I am filled with optimism for the future of our city. With the dedicated efforts of your Council and staff, the ongoing support from our legislators, and the resilience of our community, we will continue to prosper and overcome obstacles that come our way. Together, let us embrace the spirit of independence and unity as we work towards a brighter future.
Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable July.
Last month, we mourned the untimely death of one of our own, our City Attorney, Dolores Menendez. She worked for the City of Cape Coral for 32 years. She served the City with admiration and virtue. She will be missed dearly. Deputy City Attorney Brian Bartos will fulfill Ms. Menendez’s role until the Council appoints a new City Attorney.
Before we know it, the start of summer will be upon us. June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season, the beginning of our fertilizer ban period, and the end of school for our children. I want to convey my heartfelt congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2023. Graduation is a great accomplishment in a young person’s life, and the entire Cape Coral Community is incredibly proud of your hard work and success. I wish all of you all the best in your next endeavors.
Over the past year, our community has shown resilience while facing adversity. While most storm debris collection has been completed, infrastructure repairs and recovery efforts continue months after Hurricane Ian’s landfall. We hope no major storms will hit our city this season; however, I strongly encourage all Cape Coral residents to complete their hurricane preparation now and always be prepared for the unexpected.
As part of your preparations, please know your flood zone and determine where you would go if ordered to evacuate. Check your insurance coverage, inventory your possessions, and remember to secure valuables and essential documents. Knowing where to turn for reliable, up-to-date emergency information is crucial to navigating a disaster. Pick up or download a copy of the 2023 Hurricane Prep Guide, and regularly check the city’s website, www.capecoral.gov, and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information. If you have not signed up for Alert Lee, please visit alertlee.com to register and stay informed during a storm.
Directly after Hurricane Ian, Lee County established the “Lee County Hurricane Recovery Task Force,” and I was appointed a member. The Federal Government, through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Fund, has allocated Lee County 1.1 billion dollars for recovery efforts in our county. Additionally, I established an internal task force here in our city to identify the unmet needs of our community while developing specific projects to make our community more resilient against future storms. This complex endeavor will take the task force at least until the end of the year to develop a plan. Still, this type of funding will be extremely beneficial for our community and throughout our region.
Hurricane season is also our wet season, so this is a reminder that applying fertilizer containing phosphorus or nitrogen is prohibited from June 1 through September 30. Eliminating the use of phosphorus and nitrogen during the wet season helps to protect our canals and waterways, quality of life, and economy. Keep an eye out for City messaging on this topic and encourage your friends and neighbors to “Be Wise, Don’t Fertilize.”
My goals moving forward have been and will always be to promote quality of life through a safe and healthy environment with balanced opportunities to live, work and play, manage best practices for growth and economic development, and a clean, attractive, and environmentally friendly outdoor living space, and long-term financial stability.
As Mayor, I’m honored to continue serving the residents of our community. My passions have long been centered on the future of our city, and I will continue to pursue a brighter future for our citizens and the city.
May is Water Safety Month. As our weather’s temperature rises, so does activity in and around the water. Swimming and aquatic-related activities play a vital role in good mental health and physical activity. It enhances the quality of life for all Floridians and visitors to our wonderful state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ten people die from accidental drownings every day, with about one in five being children 14 years and younger.
It is very important for everyone to be aware of water safety rules and programs to prevent drownings and recreational water-related injuries. Some of the basics to remember; children should always be supervised by an adult; barriers, such as pool fences, should be installed; children should be given swimming lessons at a young age; and everyone, especially our caretakers, should learn CPR and have safety equipment such as floatation devices in arms reach. We live in a boater’s paradise where many can spend hours on the water. Making sure that your boat is operating properly is the key to safety. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free vessel safety checks. The safety check usually takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your vessel, and can be done at your docking location or your driveway.
Our Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of safe, fun, and affordable summer activities for children of all ages. Some of the benefits of participation for children include: a place where they can explore, learn, and grow; provides a safe environment for children to develop social skills, decision-making skills, and building of positive relationships. The Parks and Recreation Summer Activity Guide and Summer Camp Guide were recently released and are available on the city website with links to online registration.
The City Council will host a City Council Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, May 10, in Council Chambers. The event will be held from 6:00-9:00 p.m. This meeting will allow the residents to learn about the Lee County Recovery Task Force and provide input to assist in the recovery-planning process.
The city has two ribbon-cutting events in May. The first event will be to celebrate the opening of Sands Neighborhood Park. It will take place on Friday, May 5, at 10:00 a.m. The second event to celebrate the completion of Phase 1 of the SUN Trail will take place on Friday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. The SUN (Shared-Use Nonmotorized) Trail is a paved trail corridor for bicyclists and pedestrians that will eventually run from Del Prado Blvd to El Dorado Blvd, connecting with Van Buren Parkway and the Burnt Store Trail. The total project length is approximately 6.5 miles. The public is invited to both events, so I hope to see you there.
With the next Hurricane season due to begin in only a few short weeks on June 1, I encourage all residents to take the time to get prepared early. The City of Cape Coral will host an Inaugural Hurricane Preparedness Expo on Wednesday, May 31, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Mercola Market. City representatives and local businesses will be on hand to provide information to help residents prepare before, during, and after a storm.
To the young men and women of the graduating class of 2023, I would like to extend congratulations on your upcoming milestone achievement! The time you have invested in learning over the past years, along with the social and personal experiences along the way, have made you what you are today. As you embark upon the next venture in your life, I wish you nothing but success in your future endeavors. Congratulations again to all graduating seniors of the Class of 2023!
I am both humbled and honored to serve as Mayor of the City of Cape Coral. I will continue to ensure that the city works together to accomplish a common goal; a safe, thriving, happy community we can all be proud of.
April means spring is officially here. Spring is a hopeful season. It signifies new beginnings. Cape Coral continues to have a robust economic climate where individuals and businesses have opportunities to thrive in our region. The Office of Economic and Business Development has launched its CapeCompetes Incentive and Grants Programs to encourage organizations of all sizes to consider expanding or relocating to Cape Coral.
Progress is being made on several capital improvement projects, including recent groundbreakings for the Caloosahatchee Connect, Fire Station #13, and the Lake Kennedy Racquet Center. The Caloosahatchee Connect Project is a large, reclaimed water pipeline the City of Cape Coral is constructing between Cape Coral and Fort Myers that will provide additional irrigation water to residents. This project, slated for completion this year, will allow Cape Coral to purchase millions of gallons of reclaimed water from the City of Fort Myers that would otherwise be discharged into the Caloosahatchee River. This type of project will be the first of its kind in the world, and Cape Coral with continue to break barriers while moving our city forward.
City Council will also continue to discuss topics of interest to our residents, including ongoing Hurricane Ian recovery efforts, infrastructure support, and preparation for the upcoming storm season. I encourage Cape Coral residents to make their voices heard by coming to public meetings or submitting input via E-comment. Active citizens do make a difference. Your elected officials are here working for you. As your Mayor, I have been appointed and serve on the Lee County Recovery Task Force and will continue to fight for the needs of our community.
As snowbirds prepare to head north, we want to remind our residents to secure their homes and belongings. Create a checklist that will serve as a reminder of everything that you will need to do before you leave. The city will host a Family “Movie on the Lawn” night at City Hall on Saturday, April 1, and the season's final Cape Bike Night on Saturday, April 8, on 47th Terrace. Special Events are a wonderful way for residents and visitors to come together to enjoy free entertainment and experience a sense of community. Our staff is presently identifying additional special events we can have throughout the year to bring more sense of community to our city. Strong communities are critical because they're often an important source of social connection and a sense of belonging. Participating in a community bonded by attitudes, values, and goals is essential to enjoying a fulfilling life.
Later in the month, on Friday, April 21, at 10 a.m., the city will host a ribbon-cutting celebration at Cultural Park. After opening Gator Trails Park on March 31, we are thrilled to open Cultural Park as the second of seven new neighborhood parks funded by the 2018 Parks GO Bond to come to fruition. Cultural Park will host its first major event, “Culture Fest,” on April 22.
Every year on April 22, the nation celebrates Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual celebration that honors the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. We ask that our residents come together to promote a cleaner and safer environment by joining the Citywide Clean-Up event from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. This will help to beautify our community, and with enough participation, Cape Coral could even break a record for the largest community-wide cleanup!
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the City of Cape Coral’s award-winning Finance Department. They were recently awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for their Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the fiscal year 2021. This marks the 36th consecutive year that the City has achieved this prestigious award. This certificate is the highest recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Throughout the month, I encourage our residents to focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism. It gives a voice to people who want to be heard and understood. Simple things, like sharing awareness information on social media, can be powerful. Let’s commit to standing together to make a world of difference for people on the spectrum.
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as your Mayor. I will continue to work alongside my colleagues to implement the best policies for our residents. I can assure you that I always have the best interest of the community in mind.
March is when spring officially begins and when we turn our clocks forward. There are lots of reasons to look forward to spring: warmer weather, spring break, and Daylight Saving Time, which begins on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 2:00 a.m. At this time, we “spring forward” one hour!
Last month City Council appointed Interim City Manager Michael Ilczyszyn. After careful consideration, we made our decision. The City of Cape Coral must operate with a clear vision of responsiveness, trust, and transparency. Our city is rapidly growing, and with this comes the need to overcome many new and existing challenges. I believe the decision to appoint Mr. Ilczyszyn reflects our commitment to move forward and serve those we represent. Mr. Ilczyszyn is trustworthy, respectful, easily approachable, and possesses strong listening skills.
Last year, we broke ground on four of the City’s neighborhood parks and began improvement projects on other existing locations. This year we have begun scheduling ribbon-cutting events for those parks as they come to completion. Our parks are essential to the well-being of our residents. They promote health and wellness and encourage physical activity.
In addition to recreational opportunities, Cape Coral is thriving with new businesses and economic development. I am happy to report that the CapeCompetes Economic Development Incentive Fund, approved by City Council last year, has generated a lot of initial interest from the business community. Our goal is to attract larger businesses with higher-paying jobs so they may be offered to the residents of our community.
We are in the midst of our dry season, and, as such, the City and I are urging residents to conserve water. Current rainfall is almost two inches behind our average at this time of year, and water levels in drinking water aquifers are lower than at this time last year. Though groundwater conditions typically improve with the onset of the wet season in June, reducing usage now is vital to protecting Cape Coral’s water resources.
Remember that lawns need less weekly watering during the dry season. You can do your part to reduce water consumption by optimizing your irrigation system for high efficiency and following the City’s year-round watering schedule.
As always, I encourage you to stay engaged by following the City of Cape Coral on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and visit our website for the latest press releases and other pertinent information.
Looking forward to the opportunities we have on our horizon, I am excited for our city and to see what the future holds. This is a remarkable place to live, and I’m honored to serve as your mayor. I’m committed and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community while moving our city forward. At the end of the day, we are a city that works together to accomplish a common goal; a safe, flourishing, cheerful community we can all be proud of.
It’s hard to believe we’re already a month into 2023; time is flying fast. We anticipate that 2023 will be an extremely busy and productive year.
Some of our top priorities will continue to be the recovery efforts as a result of Hurricane Ian. We have made great strides in our cleanup efforts, but we still have more to accomplish. We also need to continue improving our city's day-to-day operations while planning for our city's future. While moving our city forward, our priorities will continue to be public safety, utility expansion, commercial growth, and progress on our strategic plan. Our strategic plan includes managing the city’s increase in population and ongoing development while providing exceptional services to our community.
Two of my personal priorities while serving our community for the next four years will be EMS response for our residents and having the appropriate healthcare facilities in our city. Presently, our ambulance service is provided by Lee County. We have recently engaged in a conversation with them to evaluate our city’s needs and how to implement any identified improvements. Additionally, I feel we need to complete a needs assessment on the appropriate number of healthcare facilities, with identified services needed for a city of our size. As a growing city, we must recognize our current needs while planning on future needs to maintain an exceptional level of healthcare for the residents of our community.
Popular discussion topics from our residents include the future of the Yacht Club Community Park, permits, and affordable housing. City Council has begun discussions with City staff to determine the future of the Yacht Club. After Hurricane Ian passed, parts of the Yacht Club Park were severely damaged that were not a part of the original project plan. The Yacht Club is the Jewel of our City, and we will continue to remember its history. As we move forward, we recognize this facility has served us well over the last 50 years, but we will also be planning so this facility will continue to serve our city for another 50 years. This park is a foundation for celebrations and community events, and we are committed to continuing its legacy.
The City recently launched 12 push-button permits, dramatically decreasing the turn-around time of permits to 0 days. To receive most types of roofing, electrical, fence, garage door, plumbing re-pipe, or shutter/awning permits immediately, you can apply through the City’s Self-Service portal at www.CapeCoral.gov/energov. If you need assistance applying at EnerGov, visit our EnerGov Citizens Self-Service kiosk at the south end of the Permitting Counter. The Permitting Counter now only accepts and verifies permit application documents. While we have made several improvements in our permitting process, we still have more to accomplish. We aim to have an outstanding permit process for our community and are committed to achieving that goal.
City Council is aware of our community's rising concerns regarding workforce housing. Recently, a legislative bill has been introduced to help with workforce housing throughout our state, and we will continue to monitor its path. We will continue to identify any current and future opportunities for our community that will assist in this regional problem.
The February edition wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Valentine’s Day. As we all know, family is the most important to us, but sometimes we forget to mention that in our busy schedules. Please take the time on this special day to tell your loved ones how much you care. I wish your family a Happy Valentine’s Day on this day and throughout the year.
I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our community while moving our city forward. Thank you for the opportunity to represent our beloved city. My life has always been about public service, and it will remain so. I thank my colleagues and the city staff for their dedication to our city.
As I look ahead to 2023 and reflect on the past year, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have been elected to represent this incredible community. Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as your Mayor. It’s my hope for all residents that 2023 is filled with opportunity and joy. I hope we come together and celebrate when amazing things happen and rally around those in need of support. We are stronger when we work together.
As the New Year begins, we reflect on the resiliency, and tremendous goodwill found throughout our community in 2022! Hurricane Ian brought us some unexpected challenges, uncertainty, and worry; however, it also demonstrated our great city's profound thoughtfulness and compassion. We embraced neighbors and found ways to support our local businesses. I witnessed a community join together and stand strong in the face of adversity. Hope is a powerful thing, and it will inspire us to do the impossible and help us carry on during difficult times.
The State of our city is strong, resilient, and focused on the future. We are a growing and vibrant city that we want you to call home. We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented community. Our highly rated schools, churches, parks, safe and family-friendly neighborhoods, and state-of-the-art medical facilities are extraordinary and speak for themselves.
I am committed to working with City Council and our state and local leaders to continue our efforts into the New Year on projects and community improvements that are critical to strengthen our vital infrastructure and improve access to essential services for working families while growing the City of Cape Coral’s economy. Going into 2023, we are gaining momentum and moving forward together. We all need to keep working together, think creatively and tackle our challenges.
The City has finalized its strategic plan, Cape Compass, which will serve as the foundation for our policy-making decisions. This is a vital tool to ensure that priorities set by the City Council are conveyed in the organization’s goals. It will be the foundation for the city’s overall, long-term vision for the future. A blueprint which will allow our city to achieve these goals and measure our success. While we cannot predict exactly what the future of our city will look like, we continue to make strides on having a well-planned and collaborative roadmap.
Improvements we will continue to work on in 2023 include road resurfacing, canal dredging, sidewalk construction, median landscaping, expansion of broadband services, alley paving, and the expansion of water, sewer, and irrigation services in the northern part of the city. We continue looking for ways to attract new businesses; voters approved the Ad Valorem Tax Referendum, which will provide incentives for business development and job creation. We can best support our businesses by empowering them to succeed.
As your Mayor, public safety remains a top priority of mine. We are committed to keeping residents, visitors, and businesses safe. We continue to make substantial investments in public safety, increasing the number of police officers and firefighters and acquiring cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art training.
We continue to keep those impacted by Hurricane Ian in our prayers. We remain committed to ensuring all residents have the resources and assistance needed to rebuild their homes and lives.
Whether you’ve lived here for a long time, or just moved here recently, I am thankful that you have chosen to be a part of this vibrant community. From my family to yours, my warmest wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Join me as we stride forward into the New Year always together, always resilient, with the strength of community.
As we embark upon the holiday season, family, and friends, near and far, will gather to share stories of what has transpired in their lives during the past year.
As I continue my term as Mayor of the City of Cape Coral, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our residents for their civic engagement and continued support. During these times of uncertainty and change, I can reassure you that my leadership will be authentic and straightforward. As your leader, I will continue to negotiate and work with others that will enable our community to thrive.
Despite the challenges of Hurricane Ian, this has been a productive year. Cape Coral experienced significant economic growth. We have several large-scale multi-family developments in the works and several thousand square feet of commercial projects under construction. More than 4,000 new construction building permits were issued in 2022, and our population continues to grow.
One of the primary responsibilities of the City Council is to adopt the annual operating budget. Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2023 budget in September, and we lowered the millage rate from 6.250 mills to the rollback rate of 5.3694 mills. This budget allows us to expand public safety and invest in our infrastructure. It is the single most effective way to stimulate our economy and rebuild our city to be more resilient, equitable, and prosperous. We want Cape Coral to remain one of the safest cities in Florida.
We held ribbon cuttings on several projects completed over the past year, including the SW Irrigation Tanks and High-Service Pump Station, the completion of Giuffrida Neighborhood Park, and we unveiled the Utility Box beautification project and the roundabout art sculpture project, both located in downtown Cape Coral on SE 47th Terrace. These projects are crucial to the city's success because they stimulate the economy, enhance property values, instill a sense of civic pride, reduce crime, and help current businesses and attract new ones.
City Council remains committed to improving water quality and will continue to work closely with other local, state, and federal officials on solutions to water quality issues. The Waterway Advisory Board, created by your City Council, provides valuable input and recommendations concerning decisions regarding the city’s waterways.
As we head into 2023, we will continue moving forward with extending utilities to property owners in the northeastern part of Cape Coral. The extension of our utilities is necessary for the environment and the city’s future economic development.
Recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Ian continue and are likely to continue for months and possibly years. As debris is removed from the streets, some areas look almost back to normal, but I’d like to remind you that many of our friends and neighbors continue to face challenges in the wake of the storm. The City is prioritizing the work ahead of us, a crucial element of our community’s recovery. Recovery efforts will demonstrate the importance of building new infrastructure that is stronger and better equipped to meet our city’s needs.
We encourage our residents to visit our website capecoral.gov and click on the Hurricane Ian Recovery button. There you will find answers to your questions related to emergency permitting, individual and business assistance, hurricane debris collection, internet provider contact information, and more.
Cape Coral is a great and unique city with a bright future, for which there is much love and admiration. Because of that, we’ve become something we never set out to be; a big, striving, and prosperous city. A great place to start and raise a family. A place that we can call our own. We ask that everyone be good stewards of our environment and continue that kindness and support.
From our family to yours, I offer you all my warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year. I look forward to a new year, which offers exciting opportunities for a fresh start and new beginnings.
A little over a month ago, Hurricane Ian made landfall, which devasted our region. Hurricane Ian was the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida since 1935. We are still feeling the aftermath of its destructive force. In the storm’s wake, millions of us were without power. The devastation left behind could be seen for miles, with snapped power poles and power lines littering the roadways. It heavily damaged our homes and building structures, many of which took on water, and the impact of the storm surge could be seen all along the coast as well as inland. Many people were forced to flee their homes, and sadly some had no homes to return to.
As soon as it was safe, our Public Work crews were in full force and could be seen clearing the debris off of the major roadways. This allowed our search and rescue teams to access those in dire need of assistance and provide aid to those in distress or imminent danger. As many of you know, it will take months, even years, to rebuild. As we continue to recover, please know that you are not in this alone. Many of you are experiencing emotional distress, overwhelming anxiety, and constant worrying. Together, we must remain strong and remain unified as a community.
We encourage our residents to visit our website capecoral.gov and click on the Hurricane Ian Recovery button. There you will find answers to your questions related to emergency permitting, individual and business assistance, hurricane debris collection, internet provider contact information, and more. If you don’t have a means of going online, our 311-call center is available from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 a.m. Monday – Friday for Hurricane information as well.
In the hours after the storm passed, millions of residential and business customers were without power. Thousands of utility workers traveled to Florida to help with the daunting task of restoring the power grids. As of today, over 97% of accounts have been restored. LCEC urges customers remaining without power to inspect the damage to their homes or business due to Hurricane Ian. It is essential to understand what LCEC is responsible for and what the customer is responsible for. Please www.lcec.net/reliability/storm-center/hurricane-repair for additional information.
If you are experiencing internet connectivity issues with Xfinity, Comcast, CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber, and/or Lumen, customers are encouraged to contact their provider(s). For contact information on each provider, visit capecoral.gov, select the Hurricane Ian Recovery button, and scroll down; it’s on the main page.
Over the last several weeks, FEMA has deployed additional Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRICs) in Cape Coral to assist residents with the initial registration and application for FEMA assistance. As of Friday, November 4, FEMA opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the Lake Kennedy Center, 400 Santa Barbara Boulevard in Cape Coral, to help residents with their initial registration and provide recommendations and assistance for individuals based on their unique needs. The site is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. To check your FEMA application status or get more information about available resources, visit https://www.fema.gov/.
The challenges faced by many after a hurricane is evident, but at the same time, we need to channel our resources. We are prioritizing the work ahead of us, which is crucial to the recovery of our community. The recovery efforts will demonstrate the importance of building new infrastructure that is stronger and better equipped to meet the modern needs of our city. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay strong. We are all going to pull through this together as one. #CapeCoralTogether
Council is currently reviewing the budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). We have been successful over the past several years by having sound financial policies in place. Although we have been divided on selecting the millage rate, no matter which rate is selected, Council is looking to reduce your property tax rate. I am recommending the Rollback rate to ensure residents will not see a tax increase.
One of the primary responsibilities of your City Council is the adoption of the annual operating budget. The annual budget is among the most important documents a local government produces, and the budget process is an undertaking that requires a great deal of consideration by the City Council. The budget allocates limited resources among various priorities deemed important for the organization and the community.
Cape Coral is among the fastest-growing cities in the nation. This impressive growth presents both benefits and challenges. We intend to ensure that the FY23 property tax rate allows us to keep pace with the growth we are continuing to see. We will not only maintain our current level of service but will exceed it in many areas.
Two local referendums passed in the primary election in August. The Filling of Vacancies of Mayor and Council Members as well as Authentication, Codification, and Availability of City Records. There will be an additional referendum on the November Ballot; for details on the referendums, visit our City website at www.capecoral.gov.
I, along with city staff, am working diligently with other elected officials, and the Army Corp of Engineers, in the final stages of developing the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). This agreement will be in place for many years, and we must ensure we make the right decisions to protect the best interest of our city and this region involving water quality. One of my priorities will always be water quality, and as we all know, water quality is essential for the success of our community.
On September 9, the city is hosting a ribbon-cutting event at Giuffrida Park. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. The park improvements include two Pickleball courts, a multi-use path, upgraded parking, improved landscaping, a shade structure over the playground, new concrete curbing, installation of sod, and more. This is another neighborhood park improvement in our city that will better serve our residents.
I encourage residents to stay informed and engaged about city issues that are important to them. There are many ways to participate in the decision-making process, and provide us with your input. I look forward to what we can accomplish when we work together as a community. As we work together, I forecast a brighter future for our community.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our community while moving our city forward in a positive direction.
It’s August already, and as our rainy season continues, I encourage residents to continue to refrain from the use of phosphorous and/or nitrogen-containing fertilizers. Runoff from these nutrients feeds algae in our waterways and can cause harmful algae to bloom and affect our quality of life.
The hurricane season began June 1, and being prepared for severe weather is the best way to keep you and your family safe. Our city is well-prepared thanks in part to our Fire Department and its Emergency Management Division. Hurricane season continues and I encourage residents to be prepared as storm threats remain through November 30.
Speaking of safety, the new school year begins this month, and your City Council and the Cape Coral Police Department’s school resource officers are committed to the safety and security of our students. I’m asking all motorists to be extra careful so students can get to and from school safely. City Council is doing its part with plans to continue to fund the construction of more sidewalks prioritizing those near schools. Also, last year the city expanded the partnership between the city and the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Cape Coral by replacing deteriorating picnic tables at school bus stops with new longer-lasting benches.
City Council is in the process of setting the FY 2023 Operating Budget for the City. What is before us now is the responsibility of establishing a budget for the year ahead. We are working with the City Manager and his staff to develop a budget that will provide the level of service our community expects and to confirm our priorities for the next fiscal year. Public safety is always a top priority; however, we have several other priorities including infrastructure, economic development, and water quality improvement. City Council is also working on determining the millage rate with a strong consideration to decrease the rate. Input from our residents who volunteer their time to serve on the Budget Review Committee is important in establishing the budget. Public hearings on the budget will be held this month to gather input from our residents.
One of our largest projects underway is the Caloosahatchee Connect joint project, which will reduce Fort Myers’ discharges into the river while providing more irrigation water to Cape Coral property owners for lawn watering and fire protection purposes. Cape Coral has one of the largest reuse water systems in the country. Our reclaimed water system has eliminated the City of Cape Coral’s discharges of treated wastewater into the river. Another important water quality project is the installation of bubble curtains. City Council approved funding for these devices to help keep harmful algae in the Caloosahatchee River from entering 10 of the canals that open to the river. We recently received the necessary state and Federal permits, and staff hopes to complete the installation process in the next few months.
In the first week of August, the City is hosting a ribbon-cutting event for the SW Pine Island Reuse Pump Station Project. The event will be August 5 at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. The new facilities include two prestressed, reinforced concrete ground storage tanks, a high service pump station, and an electrical room. The new facility will provide up to 10 million gallons of additional reclaimed water storage and provides increased irrigation pressure and flow.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community while moving our city forward.
Cape Coral is flowing with possibilities!
On July 4, 1776, almost 250 years ago, Congress declared our independence and founded our nation on the ideals of liberty, justice, and equality. As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day with gratitude and the blessings of freedom, I would like to thank active duty and veteran members of the military for preserving our peace and security and protecting our freedom.
I encourage all Cape Coral visitors and residents to join us on July 4th for the City’s Red, White and Boom celebration. The event is free for attendees and will have music, food, entertainment, and the best fireworks display in Southwest Florida. I will be attending, and I hope to see everyone there to bring our community together for this great yearly event.
June was a busy month; we celebrated the groundbreaking of Yellow Fever Creek Preserve. The finished product will be an innovative park concept that will host a fantastic nature preserve with hiking, equestrian trails, a dog park, primitive camcampsites, and more! To get an idea of what it will look like upon completion check out the renderings on our Go Bond Project webpage.
The City’s Southwest Water Reclamation Facility received the first-place Earle B. Phelps Outstanding Wastewater Treatment Facility Performance Award for the third year in a row. I’m proud to report we are the only city in Florida to receive first-place recognition for three consecutive years.
The City’s Fleet Services received awards in two categories, they were recognized as one of the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas by the National Association of Fleet Administrators, and as one of the top 50 Government Leading Fleets in the U.S. and Canada.
On June 1, the Lee County Property Appraiser provided the City with a tentative taxable value which indicates a 20.77% increase in value year over year. The City Council also started budget discussions in June and will continue those discussions thru September. During these discussions, Council will need to determine the financial impact to our residents when developing our upcoming FY2023 budget due to the largest taxable value increase that Cape Coral has ever experienced.
I’d like to take this opportunity to tell our police and firefighters that I appreciate them and the work that they do for our community. We are blessed to have a very safe city. As our city continues to grow, I am committed to keeping our community safe and being proactive when it comes to crime in Cape Coral. I have a long-standing respect for our police and firefighters, and I’m pleased to report that Cape Coral has great leadership when it comes to our Police Chief, Fire Chief, and Command Staff.
Finally, I want to remind Cape Coral residents to practice hurricane preparedness. As Floridians we know it’s not “if”, but “when” the next storm will strike. This hurricane season, I’d like to encourage all Cape Coral residents to have a plan in place to ensure that you and your loved ones are prepared. Visit our Storm Season Prep webpage for information and helpful links.
In closing, I hope to see you at Cape Coral’s Red, White and Boom event, and I hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer. Additionally, I’d like to remind you to continue to limit your use of phosphorous and nitrogen-containing fertilizers so we may experience the best possible water quality for our community.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community while moving our city forward.
It’s hard to believe it’s already June, which is shaping up to be a very busy month. June marks the start of hurricane season, the beginning of our fertilizer ban period, and we have several City events to look forward to.
Officials are once again predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2022. While we keep our fingers crossed that no major storms hit our city, it’s important to be prepared. I want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to review their emergency plans and assemble a hurricane supply kit to ensure you are well-prepared if a storm should impact our area. It is important to create a list of supplies that you could take with you if you are forced to evacuate.
I strongly encourage all Cape Coral residents not to be complacent and begin your hurricane prep now if you haven’t already. As part of your preparations, please know your flood zone and determine where you would go if ordered to evacuate. Check your insurance coverage, inventory your possessions, and remember to secure valuables and important documents. Please don’t forget to ask your neighbors if they need any extra help or assistance. Knowing where to turn for reliable, up-to-date emergency information is also crucial to making it through a disaster. Be sure to regularly check the city’s website www.capecoral.gov and our official social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information.
Hurricane season is also our wet season. During our rainy season, I want to remind all Cape Coral residents that fertilizer use rules changed on June 1. The application of fertilizer containing phosphorus or nitrogen is prohibited from June 1 through September 30. Eliminating the use of phosphorus and nitrogen during the wet season helps to protect our canals and waterways, quality of life, and economy. Excess nutrients can cause harmful algal blooms that can cause fish kills, harm pets, and wildlife, and potentially injure people who encounter them. Keep an eye out for City messaging on this topic and encourage your friends and neighbors to “Be Wise, Don’t Fertilize.” [link to webpage with more info.
Coming up on June 8, we will celebrate with the South Cape Community Redevelopment Agency as the newest addition to 47th Terrace, an art sculpture is unveiled at the roundabout located at SE 47th Terrace and Vincennes Boulevard. Art sculptures are a distinguishing part of our public history and our evolving culture. The event will take place at 4 p.m. near the roundabout, and the public is invited, so I hope to see you there.
Then later in the month, we will have a groundbreaking ceremony at Yellow Fever Creek Environmental Park at 10 a.m. on June 24th. City Government officials and Executive staff will be there for the event, and we hope the public joins us for this one as well.
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the City of Cape Coral’s award-winning Finance Department. They recently received two separate awards, one for Excellence in Financial Reporting and another for Distinguished Budget Presentation. The Finance Department was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for their Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for fiscal year 2020. This certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.
The Finance Department also received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for their fiscal year 2022 Budget Presentation. The award represents a significant achievement by the City of Cape Coral’s Finance Department, reflecting the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. The City of Cape Coral’s Finance Department is pioneering its efforts to improve the quality of budgeting. I am very proud of these accomplishments and thankful for the outstanding team who earned them. I’m honored to say that the City’s work provides an excellent example for other governments throughout North America.
In closing, I’d like to again encourage our residents to join us in celebrating the downtown art sculpture installation and the groundbreaking at Yellow Fever Creek Park and remind you to start preparing for Hurricane season and begin limiting your use of phosphorous and nitrogen-containing fertilizers.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community while moving our city forward.
Cape Coral continues to have a robust economic climate where individuals have opportunities to thrive in our region. Cape Coral is a wonderful place for businesses and families to grow their footprints. The City is working hand-in-hand with its partners to create innovative and valuable opportunities for our residents and business community. Smart growth in our community moving forward is essential for our success In future economic development.
City Council will continue to discuss several topics of significant interest to our residents, including the Storm Shutter Ordinance. No matter which side of the issue you are on, I encourage Cape Coral residents to make their voices heard by coming to public meetings or submitting their input via E-comment. Community input by our residents is always important when making decisions that will impact our community.
City Council has set a public hearing for April 6 regarding ordinance 27-22 to amend the City Charter. The ordinance stipulates that when a special election is required to fill a Council vacancy if there are three or more qualified candidates, a special primary election will be required. This change in our Charter is needed so we can meet the State requirements in the current election laws pertaining to Special Elections.
Since April is Autism Awareness Month, and I imagine we all have a neighbor, friend, or family member whose life has been affected by autism, I encourage you to support Autism Awareness. It gives a voice to people who want to be heard and understood. Simple things, like sharing awareness information on social media, can be powerful.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community while moving our city forward.
As we spring into March, I am thankful for all the upcoming opportunities and enhancements coming to our City and our Parks.
Last year, we broke ground on four neighborhood parks and began improvement projects on other existing locations. With how popular sports and recreation are in our community, thankfully we have so many parks that while one is under construction there are many more to consider.
The Yacht Club Community Park is still set to begin renovations; however, it will happen a little later than originally anticipated. I encourage everyone to continue to visit the Yacht Club Community Park before construction begins, as spring is a perfect time of year to enjoy this waterside venue.
In addition to recreational opportunities, Cape Coral is thriving with new businesses and economic development. The Seven Islands project in Northwest Cape has selected a master developer and is currently negotiating the terms. In south Cape Coral, we will soon break ground on a transformational project, the Cove on 47th.
Council approved a city-initiated Future Land Use Map amendment from Commercial/Professional to Mixed-Use for about 182 acres referred to as “Academic Village,” located near the intersection of Kismet Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard North. The amendment will provide additional opportunities for light industrial and flex space which is a greatly needed development in our community.
I am happy to report the CapeCompetes Economic Development Incentive Fund, approved by City Council in December, has generated a lot of initial interest from the business community. The city is currently working on the applications and guidelines that will establish the process to begin accepting applications this summer. Our goal is to attract larger businesses with higher paying jobs so they may be offered to the residents of our community.
Looking forward to the opportunities we have on our horizon, I am excited for our city. I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our exceptional community, while moving our city forward.
It’s only the second month of the year and already 2022 is shaping up to be an extremely busy year for Cape Coral.
Some of our top priorities, which include the expansion of utilities, the addition and renovation of city parks, residential and commercial growth, public safety, and finalizing the strategic plan, have built significant momentum and continue to propel us forward. Our strategic plan includes managing the city’s increase in population and ongoing development while providing exceptional services to our community.
Like any large city, we have challenges we are working to overcome. As many of you are acutely aware, our community is experiencing horticulture and bulk waste pickup delays throughout our city. I am committed to resolving this issue, and I’m asking for your help. I am asking residents to use our 311 Call Center to report missed waste collection pickups. Reporting your missed pickup helps the city to analyze the magnitude of the problem, as well as to resolve individual concerns by identifying homes where waste collection has been delayed. Council will be discussing possible alternative solutions at our upcoming meetings. In the interim I appreciate your continued patience and support until we get this issue resolved.
Finally, I can’t complete the February edition without mentioning Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a great time to recognize the people who are the most important to us. Please remember your family, friends, neighbors, first responders, city employees, and volunteers who make a positive impact in our lives. Our community is a great place to live because of the people who live and work here. Whether you give them a smile or send a thoughtful thank you message, a little goes a long way.
I am honored to serve as your Mayor and will continue to work diligently to set high expectations for our community while moving our city forward.
Happy New Year!
Happy holidays to our residents and visitors. Welcome back to our snowbirds.
As I wrap up my first year as your mayor, it has been an honor serving the Cape Coral community. The end of the year is a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, this has been a productive year. The City witnessed significant economic growth. The City has five large-scale multi-family developments in the works and several thousand square feet of commercial projects under construction. More than 4,000 new construction building permits were issued in 2021, and the most recent population estimates indicate that just over 200,000 live in Cape Coral.
One of the primary responsibilities of the City Council is to adopt the annual operating budget. Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2022 budget in September, and we lowered the millage rate from 6.375 to 6.250. This budget allows us to expand public safety and invest in our infrastructure. We want Cape Coral to remain one of the safest cities in Florida.
We broke ground on four new parks and looking forward to breaking ground on others in the coming year. These parks are part of the citywide parks and recreation expansion (Parks GO Bond) that our voters approved in 2018.
City Council is committed to improving water quality and will continue to work closely with other local, state, and federal officials on solutions to water quality issues. The Waterway Advisory Board, which Council created, provides valuable input and recommendations concerning decisions regarding the city’s waterways.
As we head into 2022, we will be extending utilities to property owners in the northeastern part of the city. Future expansion areas will be determined in the coming months. The extension of our utilities is necessary for the environment and the city’s future economic development.
Cape Coral is a great city with a bright future. We appreciate the continued support from our residents, visitors, and businesses.
I wish you and your family a happy holiday season.
One of the primary responsibilities of your City Council is the adoption of the annual operating budget. The annual budget is among the most important documents a local government produces and the budget process is an undertaking that requires a great deal of consideration by the City Council. The budget allocates limited resources among various priorities deemed important for the organization and the community.
Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Budget at the end of September and this budget helps us to expand public safety, invest in our infrastructure, add more sidewalks than any previous year, attract businesses, protect our environment, and support our charter schools. We have been successful over the past several years by having sound financial policies in place and we reduced your property tax rate from 6.375 to 6.250 or $6.25 per $1,000 of assessed value. While I initially advocated for the rolled-back rate of 5.992, the additional $8.7 million in revenue will be used in part to increase staffing in our police, fire, and parks and recreation departments.
Cape Coral is among the fastest-growing cities in the nation. This impressive growth presents both benefits and challenges. The FY22 property tax rate is a good compromise that allows us to keep pace with the growth.
For the tenth consecutive year, the city’s property tax base increased over the previous year and property values increased 10.88 percent citywide. Florida’s “Save Our Homes” amendment restricts the annual increase of the assessed value of homesteaded properties to the lesser of three percent or the percent change in the National Consumer Price Index. For FY22, homesteaded properties are limited to an increase of about 1.4 percent. Non-homesteaded properties are limited to a 10 percent increase.
The FY22 budget went into effective October 1, 2021, as our fiscal year is October 1 through September 30. We will begin work on our next budget at the beginning of the new year.
In addition to passing the budget, your City Council recently adopted stricter fertilizer regulations to help improve our local waterways. The Waterway Advisory Board recommended changes to the fertilizer regulations that have been in place for more than a decade. The Waterway Advisory Board makes recommendations and provides input on decisions concerning the city’s waterways.
Looking ahead, the City’s updated strategic plan will be finalized in the coming months; and we hope to share some important economic development news about future projects planned for Cape Coral.
I encourage residents to stay informed about city issues that are important to them. There are many ways to participate in the decision-making process and provide us with your input. I look forward to what we can accomplish when we work together as a community in the new fiscal year.
Cape Coral City Council adopted the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget on September 29 following two public hearings, several joint meetings with the Budget Review Committee, and months of preparations. Council lowered the millage rate from 6.375 mills to 6.25 mills following an overall increase of 10.88 percent in taxable property values in Cape Coral. The increased taxable values from $16.6 billion to $18.4 billion is below the city's peak of $21.7 billion in 2007.
The FY 22 budget allows the City to expand public safety, invest in infrastructure, improve facilities and city amenities, add more sidewalks, attract businesses, protect our environment, beautify neighborhoods, and strengthen our charter schools.
The annual budget is one of the most important documents a local government produces. It functions as a roadmap for accomplishing the financial, infrastructure and service delivers goals we establish for the upcoming year. It allocates limited resources for the community and the organization with input from staff, elected officials, citizen volunteers appointed to the Budget Review Committee, and the public.
Welcome to our new monthly e-newsletter, Cape Connect. Through recent surveys and information gathered by the Florida Institute of Government as part of our strategic planning process we learned that many residents prefer to receive city news and information delivered to their email inbox.
We are moving into the second half of the hurricane season. Let’s continue to be prepared as storm threats remain through November 30. The hurricane season began June 1 and being prepared for severe weather is the best way to keep you and your family safe. Our City is well-prepared thanks in part to our Fire Department and its Emergency Management Division.
Speaking of safety, the new school year is under way and your city council and the Cape Coral Police Department’s school resource officers are committed to the safety and security of our students. I asked all motorists to be extra careful so students can get to and from school safely. Your city council is doing its part with plans to fund the construction of more sidewalks especially near schools. Also, we recently discussed expanding the partnership between the City and the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Cape Coral to replace deteriorating picnic tables, that were placed by community groups, at school bus stops with new longer-lasting benches.
In Cape Coral, September is the month when the Council sets the budget and confirms our priorities for the next fiscal year. Public safety is always a top priority; however, we have several other priorities including infrastructure, economic development, and water quality improvement.
Recently, we opposed the Army Corps’ proposed version of plan CC of the Lake O System Operating Manual. The river and estuary have shouldered the burden of the Lake O releases and increasing these releases to the Caloosahatchee River as proposed is unacceptable. Cape Coral is one of the fastest growing communities in the country, with 409 miles of salt and freshwater canals. To help preserve our unique environment, the City has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure to improve water quality.
One of our largest projects underway is the Caloosahatchee Connect joint project, which will reduce Fort Myers’ discharges into the River while providing more irrigation water to Cape Coral property owners for lawn watering and fire protection purposes. Cape Coral has one of the largest reuse water systems in the country. Our reclaimed water system has eliminated the City of Cape Coral’s discharges of treated wastewater into the River. Another important project that helps to improve water quality is North 1 Utilities Extension Project (UEP). The engineering and design for this project is well underway. The North 1 UEP will eliminate about 3,000 septic systems. The North 2 UEP was recently completed and extended potable water, sewer, and irrigation services to abut 9,000 parcels in the northern part of the city. Septic systems are one source of excess nitrogen that contributes to poor water quality. Other water quality projects include the installation of bubble curtains. City Council approved funding for these devices to help keep harmful algae in the Caloosahatchee River from entering 10 of the canals that open to the River. The permitting process for these devices is underway and installation should be taking place soon. Later this month, city staff will be presenting a pilot project for another water quality improvement pilot project that may be helpful in removing nutrients from stormwater drainage areas before these nutrients can enter our brackish canals.
What is before us now is the responsibility of establishing a budget for the year ahead.
City Council is in the process of setting the FY 2022 Operating Budget for the City. We are working with the City Manager and his staff to develop a budget that will provide the level of service our community expects. Input from our residents who volunteer their time to serve on the Budget Review Committee is important in establishing the budget. Public hearings on the budget will be held this month to gather input from our residents. Details about the public hearings are available in this newsletter