Fort Myers City Council met on August 21, 2017 at Fort Myers City Hall. You may download a copy of the meeting agenda on the City's website (www.cityftmyers.com/agendacenter). To watch the full meeting video, click here.
Lydia Black, executive director of Alliance for the Arts, shared the local results from the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study. This nationwide analysis was conducted by Americans for the Arts to document the economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in 341 communities.
Cultural audiences pump $36 million into Fort Myers restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other local businesses. Black noted that for every dollar invested in the arts in Fort Myers, the community experiences more than $8.00 in return on investment. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations also support nearly 1,400 full-time equivalent jobs in Fort Myers. View the Fort Myers Arts & Economic Prosperity Study online.
The Fort Myers Police Department is on a five-year improvement plan to implement 32 recommendations made in a needs assessment by Freeh Group International Solutions, Inc. On August 21, City Council declined a motion to extend the Freeh Group’s oversight of the implementation process for another 1-2 years.
The Council’s 3-3 vote entrusts the FMPD to oversee its own continued improvement and execution of the recommendations. Police Chief Derrick Diggs noted that the FPMD is well ahead of schedule in fulfilling the recommendations. At City Council's request, the Freeh Group will also return to an upcoming Council meeting to discuss the FMPD’s recommendations in more detail.
City Council approved the 2017-18 tax assessments for fire rescue services, solid waste service, and stormwater management. Fire assessment and solid waste fee rates will stay the same in the next year. Fire Assessments will remain at $77.91 per residential living unit. Solid Waste collection and disposal fees will also hold steady at $228.96 per residential living unit. The City will continue its three-year plan to gradually increase the City’s stormwater management fees. Like last year, the stormwater management fees will increase 26% in the new fiscal year.
Fire rescue, solid waste, and stormwater management fees are paid through a property owner’s property tax assessments. Property owners received notice of the fees in the first week of August. The new fiscal year begins October 1, 2017.
Green fees at the Fort Myers Country Club and Eastwood Golf Course will change slightly to help fund the ongoing maintenance of the two City-owned courses. City Council approved changes to the fee ranges. These ranges give the course manager flexibility to adjust rates for peak and non-peak times. In many cases, the new non-peak rates are unchanged, and in some cases, fees are even lower. However, players hoping to play when the courses are busy may see some increases in green fees.
Council also voted to increase rates for annual and nine-month memberships. Combined, the rate changes will result in additional expected revenue of $400,000 annually between the two courses.