Water-Related News

Stormwater fee surging toward vote

A monthly stormwater utility fee nows seems eminent, as Fort Myers Beach Town Council members appear to be down to deciding not if, but how much.

A public hearing is set for Feb. 1, with a vote to follow. The proposed average monthly fee has been at $26.50, based upon a determined impervious (non-absorbent) surface average of 4,414 square feet per home.

However, council members at their Jan. 4 meeting discussed reducing it to $19.50 per month, knowing it will cause delays in settling the debt but might be more digestible for residents.

Either way, the fee is needed they say to eliminate what is now $2 million in debt to the town's general fund for the portion of an ongoing and non-budgeted stormwater project for the town's side streets. Jim Steele, a member of the town's audit committee who is providing consultation as the former controller in Indianapolis, said directly: "It's critical you do something right now. You have no funding mechanism for this."

Otherwise, the project would need to come to a screeching halt, something council member Rexann Hosafros doesn't want to see.