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Mayor

Mayor's Message

September 2021
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 storm water 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.
 
Cape Coral is growing rapidly and how we manage this growth will determine our future.
 
We also have information in the newsletter about the Parks General Obligation (GO) Bond. I am happy to share that construction will begin on some of the new neighborhood parks in October. These parks were approved by Cape Coral voters in 2018. We hope you will join us for one of the groundbreaking events that city staff will be planning. 
Regards,
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