Bonita Springs City Council passes resolution aimed at groundwater protection and recharge
By Patrick Riley
Bonita Springs’ city council breezed through its meeting Wednesday morning (June 17th) until a resolution regarding water quality and quantity initiatives made waves.
The seven measures of the resolution, which range from supporting projects that create additional water storage in protected lands in East Bonita Springs to fostering more collaboration between city, state, county and private agencies, were eventually approved, 4-3, but not without a spirited discussion.
Councilmen Bill Lonkart and Peter Simmons, who were joined by Mike Gibson in voting against the resolution, were concerned about what the initiatives would mean for the city’s budget.
“We don’t know how much money is left,” Simmons said after city staff wasn’t able to tell Lonkart what the state of the water-related budget for the year is.
“Are we putting a horse before the cart or not? So I think we’re voting prematurely. We don’t know how much money’s left and you’re getting out ahead of this thing a little bit.”
The measures are part of 34 recommendations from a citizen-led task force, the Citizen Water Task Force, that were presented to city council during a workshop earlier this year. Council boiled down the initiatives to 29 and instructed city staff to come up with a suggested plan of action and timetable for each. The initiatives are categorized as either short-term, mid-term (about a year) or long-term, and deal with water quality, quantity, supply and miscellaneous items.
Wednesday’s resolution included the creation of a multi-agency group that would facilitate water projects in and around the Density Reduction Groundwater Resource (DRGR) area “from concept to implementation,” according to city documents.