Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Cape Coral Watchdogs

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February 19: U.S. District Court Judge Steele has dismissed the complaint filed against the City, the mayor and members of City Council by the Cape Coral Watchdogs. The Watchdogs had challenged the City’s special assessment program for utilities. Fundamentally, the Court agreed with the City’s assertion that the plaintiff’s action was barred in federal court as the result of the federal Tax Injunction Act. The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint on juridictional grounds.

While the City is pleased with Judge Steele’s decision to dismiss the action from federal court, we are aware that the plaintiff may institute a similar action in state court. If that occurs, the City will take appropriate action.

Previously:

The City has filed a “Motion to Dismiss” in response to the lawsuit brought against the City of Cape Coral by the Citizens Action Committee of Cape Coral Incorporated, aka “Cape Coral Watchdogs.” The motion was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of the City, the mayor and individual council members by Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, the law firm representing the City.

The motion to dismiss the complaint raises a number of issues including: lack of federal jurisdiction and statute of limitations concerns. Click here to download a copy of the City’s Motion to Dismiss.

The Cape Coral Watchdogs filed a lawsuit against the City of Cape Coral, the mayor and council members regarding the ongoing utilities expansion projects in the city. The plaintiff’s attorney typically has 10 days to respond to the motion; however, a 10-day extension was requested by plaintiff’s counsel and granted by the City’s law firm.

Cape Coral’s Growth Cracks U.S. Census Top 10 List

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Cape Coral, which is growing at about 5 percent per year, was ranked the ninth fastest-growing of cities with populations more than 100,000 for the period July 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Wednesday, July 9.

The Census Bureau ranking puts Cape Coral behind seven cities from western states and Joliet, Ill. Gilbert, Ariz., was the fastest growing with a 10.3 percent increase.

The Census Bureau bases their estimate on the number of building permits issued each year. Cape Coral issued 2,783 single-family home permits in FY 2002, which was a record for the Cape. With three months left in FY 2003, Cape Coral already has surpassed that record number with 2,822 single-family home permits thus far.

Official Census Bureau figures show that the Cape’s population grew 4.8 percent from July 1, 2001, to July 1, 2002, for a population of 112,899. Just 13 years ago, the Cape’s population was about 75,000. The City estimates that the current population level is near 120,000 residents.

With nearly 85,000 vacant home sites, 400 miles of canals, 3,236 miles of paved streets and the second-lowest crime rate in the state for cities of more than 100,000 people, the Cape is poised for continued growth.

In fact, population expert Paul Van Buskirk likened Cape Coral’s current growth stage to that of Miami’s in the 1960s. He also estimated that the city will pass 200,000 in population within the next 13 years.

“All the indicators say the growth rate will continue,” said City Manager Terry Stewart.

Update on City Lawsuit Against USFWS

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Update 2/19/04: With respect to the pending federal lawsuit that was filed by the City against the federal agencies involved in the matter commonly referred to as the “dock permitting” action, the Save the manatee Club filed a Motion to Intervene in the action as a party. The City opposed the intervention, and the U.S. Magistrate recommended that Judge Moody (the judge in Tampa before whom the lawsuit is pending) not grant the Club’s Motion to Intervene as a party, though the Save the Manatee Club could participate as an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.” The Save the Manatee Club has filed objections to the magistrate’s recommendation, and the City filed its response to the objections on Tuesday, February 10. The parties will await a decision from Judge Moody regarding the intervention issue. In the meantime, the federal government has filed a Motion to Partial Summary Judgment regarding the City’s dock permitting claims. The City has filed a response to that motion.

Update 8/29/03: The City of Cape Coral filed a lawsuit in the Middle District Court of Florida (Ft. Myers) charging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to follow their own mandatory review timelines in the issuance of dock permits in Cape Coral. Even though the Service released 660 permits last week, the City does not believe the controversy has ended. Several hundred permits await review and hundreds more could be in the pipeline over the next several years. The City also questions the need for additional federal speed zones in the lawsuit, saying that the existing zones are being properly enforced and have resulted in a significant reduction of watercraft-related deaths of manatees. The City is seeking some firm assurance from the federal government that dock permits can be issued in the waters of Cape Coral without constant federal intervention.

Update 8/25/03: The City of Cape Coral and most of Southwest Florida continue to wait for the issuance of nearly 700 dock permits, following the USFWS’ release of their biological opinion. On August 19, the USFWS released the opinion, which said that docks do not have a negative impact on the manatee.

Nearly 700 permits have been held up for the past two years while the USFWS decided what to do about the Caloosahatchee River. The federal government implemented and then removed a designation of “Area of Inadequate Protection” on the river, and also published new speed zones for the river on July 1.

On August 19 and 20, representatives from Preston Gates, the City’s Washington-based law firm, were in town meeting individually with City Council members to discuss possible courses of action. City Council will discuss the issue at their August 25 meeting.

Update 7/31/03: The City of Cape Coral and most of Southwest Florida continue to wait for the USFWS to issue a biological opinion that will release more than 600 permit applications for constructing boat docks. The agency has missed several target dates to complete the work. In response to the continued delay, the City is bringing together the Coalition for another strategy meeting. Cape Coral continues to hold to the possibility that a legal challenge against the federal government still may be necessary to protect the property rights and boating rights of the citizens. New speed zones will be filed with the federal register today.

Update 6/26/03: USFWS Decision Delayed Until Mid-July. City Manager Terry Stewart spoke to USFWS Regional Director Sam Hamilton concerning the delay in issuing dock permits. Mr. Hamilton acknowledged that USFWS had not met its self-defined deadline on June 21; however, he explained that some final high level review is required before they can move forward. Based upon the conversation, it now appears they are targeting the second week in July.

Update 6/13/03: City Awaits Completion of Biological Opinion by USFWS. The City of Cape Coral is awaiting the completion of the USFWS’ biological opinion, which will allow the review and issuance of the 600+ dock permits that have been held up for the past 30 months. USFWS anticipates that the opinion will be completed no later than June 21.

Update 5/13/03: USFWS Lifts the “Area of Inadequate Protection” Designation from Caloosahatchee River. Citing the continued low mortality rates attributed to watercraft-related activities in the Caloosahatchee River, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that they are lifting the “Area of Inadequate Protection” designation. The letter from Sam Hamilton, Regional Director for the USFWS, stated that the USFWS had been impressed with the efforts put forth by Lee County and Cape Coral to improve signage and increase law enforcement activities in the area. According to a USFWS representative, USFWS will begin processing boat dock permits for the area immediately, adding that they are placing additional staff in Vero Beach to help with the backlog of 600+ permits.

Only two manatee mortalities related to watercraft activities have been recorded in Lee County this year, none in the Caloosahatchee River. In fact, in the past 15 months, only three mortalities have been recorded in the Caloosahatchee River that could be attributed to watercraft.

To help reduce the number of manatee/boat collisions, Cape Coral increased their marine patrol unit and added more signage to increase awareness. Lee County also increased their information efforts. Marine enforcement agencies at the local and state levels worked together to provide added enforcement of existing speed zones.

The City of Cape Coral also notified the USFWS, Department of the Interior, Army Corps of Engineers, and Department of the Army of the City’s intent to sue if they did not end their illegal embargo of dock permits. The letter was sent last week to the agencies.

The issue of federal speed zones has not yet been resolved. Proposed federal speed zones could add significant time to any travel in the river, as well as create more hazards for the manatee. While Cape Coral and Lee County acknowledge the need for speed zones, the placement of these zones must be based on sound science that protects the manatee and still allows boaters to have reasonable access to the waters.

Update 5/6/03: City of Cape Coral Notifies Federal Agencies of Intent to Sue. The City of Cape Coral has sent a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City alleges that the agencies’ failure to issue permits for the construction and repair of docks and other watercraft access facilities within Cape Coral violates the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and Administrative Procedure Act. To view Notice, click here.

“The failure of these federal agencies to take the required action on these permits is causing serious economic hardships on our community,” said City Manager Terry Stewart. “Permit applications have been held for nearly two years while these federal agencies and environmental groups quibble in court and make unilateral agreements that have no regard for our citizens. We will not sit on the sidelines and watch these organizations destroy the hopes of our current and future residents.”

The federal government has given no indication that their unlawful de facto moratorium on permits within the waters of the city will end anytime soon. Therefore, the City retained the services of Preston Gates & Ellis, a law firm based in Washington, DC. The law firm delivered the notice of intent to sue on behalf of the City today via facsimile to the named agencies.

The City of Cape Coral has taken unprecedented steps to provide added protection for the manatee. The City imposed laws to govern watercraft speeds within City limits. City Council also committed significant resources to expand our marine police unit, at a cost of $300,000. Cape Coral maintains more than 100 regulatory signs alerting boaters to manatee restrictions.

“Despite these and other efforts, which have contributed to a significant reduction in watercraft-related manatee deaths in the Caloosahatchee in the past 12 months, we see no progress on lifting the permit moratorium,” said Stewart. “We are left with no other option than to initiate legal proceedings and seek judicial relief.”

The Notice of Intent provides the federal agencies with the required 60 days notice prior to the City filing a lawsuit in federal court.

Update 5/5/03: USFWS Takes No Action on Proposed Incidental Take Regulation. The USFWS issued a decision of “No Action” on their proposed incidental take regulation for the state of Florida. The decision leaves Cape Coral in the same situation — under the label of “Area of Inadequate Protection” and still dealing with a de facto moratorium on boat dock permits. USFWS cited several reasons in withdrawing the regulation; however, the Save the Manatee group hailed the decision. Save the Manatee wants to pursue even more-restrictive regulations in Southwest Florida and the state.

Moratorium Madness II Scheduled for May 10. Standing Watch and the ALERT campaign will be holding a rally at Cultural Park on Saturday, May 10 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. The rally is being held in advance of the public hearing on May 13 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take comment on the proposed incidental take regulation. Signs will be distributed for use at the rally and the public hearing. Cultural Park is located about 1/2-mile north of City Hall (City Hall — 1015 Cultural Park Boulevard).

Please plan to attend and show your support for the protection of your property rights.

Scheduled speakers include:

Terry Stewart, Cape Coral City Manager

Arnold Kempe, Cape Coral Mayor

Gloria Tate, Cape Coral City Council

John Albion, Lee County Commissioner

Andy Coy, Lee County Commissioner

Jeff Kottkamp, State Representative

Lindsay Harrington, State Representative

Stephen Webster, Florida Marine Contractors Association

John Kinney, Standing Watch

Ken Stead, SW Florida Marine Trades Association

UPDATE 4/8/03: CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MORE MONEY FOR LEGAL ACTION. The City Council approved spending additional funds for potential litigation in the continuing boat dock issue. “Incidental take” regulations regarding the manatee are expected to be implemented by the USFWS within 30 days. These regulations, if implemented as reported, will cause a serious hardship on the City of Cape Coral, requiring the City to seek legal relief in a court of law. The City retained the services of Preston-Gates, a Washington, DC law firm, and will be in discussion with the attorneys to chart the City’s course of action.

UPDATE 3/19/03: JUDGE ACCEPTS STIPULATED AGREEMENT. A federal court judge in Washington, DC signed off on a proposed stipulated agreement imposing manatee speed zones throughout the Caloosahatchee River. The court action also mandates biological reviews on a case-by-case basis for all federal dock permit applications. This basically ensures that no dock permits will be issued. The City of Cape Coral now will pursue available avenues to address the concerns that this ruling has raised. The City will consult with Preston-Gates, its Washington-based law firm, to plan the next course of action. This may very well involve a lawsuit against ,not only the federal government agencies, but the Save the Manatee Club.

UPDATE 3/5/03: FLORIDA MARINE CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION FILES NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE USFWS. On March 3, the Florida Marine Contractors Association filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the USFWS’ de facto moratorium on dock construction and its regulatory authority over Florida waters. Several other entities and organizations (such as the City of Cape Coral, State of Florida, Lee County) are awaiting the outcome of Judge Sullivan’s hearing on March 18 to determine their next actions.

UPDATE 3/4/03: HEARING POSTPONED UNTIL MARCH 18. Judge Sullivan again has postponed his decision on the Proposed Stipulated Agreement until March 18 due to the weather conditions in Washington, DC.

UPDATE 2/26/03: HEARING POSTPONED UNTIL MARCH 6. The hearing on the Proposed Stipulated Settlement Agreement in Washington DC scheduled for February 27 has been postponed by Judge Sullivan. The judge rescheduled the hearing for March 6 due to inclement weather. The City of Cape Coral, along with the State of Florida and other interested parties, are awaiting the decision of the Washington DC court judge on the Stipulated Agreement filed with the court on Friday, January 24 by the USFWS and the Save the Manatee Club. The judge was expected to rule on the agreement on Thursday, February 27. The stipulated agreement proposes more federal restrictions on watercraft-related activities in several Florida rivers, including the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County (scroll to Update 1/27/03). The City of Cape Coral and the State of Florida submitted written comments to judge through one of the official intervenors in the federal lawsuit.

UPDATE 2/10/03: CITY MANAGER SENDS LETTER TO GOV. BUSH ASKING STATE OF FLORIDA TO INTERVENE ON BEHALF OF CITIZENS OF FLORIDA. Cape Coral City Manager Terry Stewart has sent a letter to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, officially asking the State of Florida to step into the growing controversy with the USFWS regarding their proposed additional statewide manatee protection measures. In the letter, Stewart encouraged the Governor to assert state control over a manatee management plan that has been taken over by Washington DC bureaucrats and attorneys. To read Stewart’s letter, Click here. UPDATE 1/28/03: 1) SECOND SYNOPTIC SURVEY PRODUCES NEAR-RECORD NUMBER OF MANATEES. Survey shows 3,113 in Florida waters. 2) SWFMIA ATTORNEY OFFERS LEGAL OPINION ON USFWS MEMO FURTHER RESTRICTING BOAT PERMITS. Recent memo from USFWS’ Regional Director imposes more restrictions on getting permits to build boat docks. UPDATE 1/27/03: USFWS AND SAVE THE MANATEE CLUB AGREE TO MORE RESTRICTIONS ON CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER. Entire river basically declared a slow speed zone. (see more information on these updates below) UPDATE 1/28/03 #1: Second Synoptic Survey Produces Near-Record Number of Manatees. The second synoptic survey, conducted January 21-22 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, produced a near-record number of manatees in Florida waters. State biologists counted 3,113 manatees, second only to the 3,276 manatees counted in 2001. A spokesperson for the Save The Manatee Club tried to downplay this important report by pointing to an outdated state report that had said the population might be declining in the area. However, these counts prove that manatee numbers throughout the state and in Lee County are increasing. For Lee County, state biologists counted 420 manatees, up from the 299 recorded in early January and the second largest total ever. These numbers make the recent actions of the USFWS even more disturbing. Their proposals to implement additional onerous restrictions on waterways throughout the state, and specifically in the Caloosatchee River, when there is evidence that the manatee population is increasing fly in the face of logic. To view the latest count information, visit the Florida Marine Institute site at: http://floridamarine.org. UPDATE 1/28/03 #2: SWFMIA Attorney Offers Legal Opinion on USFWS memo restricting boat permits. The Southwest Florida Marine Industries Association attorney has issued a legal opinion on the January 22 memo from USFWS’ Regional Director Steve Williams, which imposes more restrictions on getting permits to build boat docks. The SWFMIA is an intervenor in the federal lawsuit between the USFWS and several environmental groups. The general opinion by the organization’s attorney is that all permitting activity throughout the state of Florida that “may affect” must now go through the USFWS for a “biological opinion.” The USFWS has not issued a biological opinion on a permit in the past two years and currently has a backlog of 1,300 applications. This means that dock permits in the saltwater canals of Cape Coral in the Northwest Spreader (north of Pine Island Road), which the USFWS recently said would be issued, now will be embargoed by the agency as well. To read more about the attorney’s opinion, (click here) UPDATE 1/27/03: The USFWS and Save The Manatee Club have agreed to more restrictions on the Caloosahatchee River, basically declaring the entire river a slow speed zone and making speeding violations a federal offense. The Stipulated Order (click to read) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday, January 26. The new proposed speed zones are being implemented in spite of the fact that the manatee population continues to increase, and boating-related fatalities on the Caloosahatchee River dropped from 23 in 2001 to 13 in 2002. The City of Cape Coral will hold an emergency meeting this week of the local Coalition to discuss strategy in response to these extreme and unwarranted restrictions. The parties to the lawsuit have 10 days to respond, and the City will be providing comments through one of the lawsuit’s intervenors. However, the City holds no illusions that the District Court judge or the USFWS will read or consider any of the comments. USFWS indicated to a local media reporter that the City’s written response on the proposed incidental take regulation would be too late to be considered, even though it was submitted on Friday, January 26. This comment by the USFWS is a clear indication that the federal government already has made up their mind and that public input will have no bearing on their decision. City Manager Terry Stewart will be working with the City’s law firm, Preston Gates, and he will present a plan of action to the City Council within the next few weeks. To view the new proposed speed zone map for the Caloosahatchee River, click here. UPDATE 1/17/03: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conduct another synoptic survey count of manatees in the Lee County area after staff biologists admitted that two areas had been omitted from the survey. During the week of 1/6, biologists counted 299 manatees around Lee County and 183 in Collier County. However, biologists inadvertently overlooked a large area of Estero and Ten Mile Canal, requiring them to conduct the count again. The annual survey, conducted by the Florida Marine Institute, counted 2,861 manatees in the state of Florida. This is the second highest total since the count began in 1991. (see www.floridamarine.org) UPDATE: The USFWS has extended the public comment period on the proposed regulation. Public comment will be accepted through January 27. Email your concerns to manatee@fws.gov. Include your full name within the email or the USFWS will disregard your comments. Also, the USFWS now is issuing dock permits for saltwater properties located north of Pine Island Road. That area of Cape Coral currently is not considered part of the USFWS’ “Area of Inadequate Protection.” 2002 MANATEE MORTALITY UPDATE: The Florida Marine Institute has issued its 2002 report on manatee mortality. Lee County watercraft-related mortalities dropped from 23 in 2001 to 13 in 2002. Go to www.floridamarine.org and view the press release under “Latest News.” UPDATE: The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission Meeting in Ft. Myers on January 22, 23, & 24, 2003. According to the agenda, on Thursday, January 23, the Commission will address the results of the manatee reclassification process, along with discussing the criteria they plan to use for establishing biological goals. The latter part of the day’s agenda (probably after lunch) allows for public input on any subject and may be the best time to address the Commissioners with your concerns regarding certain manatee zones in the Caloosahatchee River, Matlacha Pass, Estero Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and the Peace River, along with creating an alternate back-island corridor around Shell Island in the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, etc. Another strong SW Florida showing at the meeting would send a message to the state as well as the federal government.

City Departments’ Weekly Report 4/2

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CITY MANAGER’S OFFICE

 

* City Manager and Finance Director Mason reviewed report analyzing value ratios used to establish support for water and sewer utility installation in Southwest 2.

* Fire Chief Van Helden and his staff, along with City Manager, met with Mr. Will Stout regarding proposed fire impact fee increases.

* City Manager Stewart participated in a telephone interview with Mr. Joe Route, AM 1240, regarding various subjects.

* Public Works Director Pavlos and City Manager met with Mr. Ed Delgiacco regarding his concerns about the cost allocations for storm water system repairs resulting from utility installation.

* Platted lands legislation was presented before the local government subcommittee on Wednesday at 8:00 am. The City has been a strong proponent of this legislation and has a high vested interest in its passage. Others involved with the Bill were to be available for testimony before House Committees, but for various reasons were unable to be present. I flew to Tallahassee on Tuesday evening and attended the subcommittee meeting on Wednesday morning and the full committee meeting on Thursday morning. I am pleased to inform you that HB 1513 on platted lands cleared the subcommittee unanimously and the full Committee on Local Government as well. Of additional note is the fact there were no opposing comments from the public. The next step is for the Bill to gain passage through the House Judiciary Committee. This committee is chaired by local representative Jeff Kottkamp and it is critical the Bill be scheduled and gain passage from the committee. Please contact Representative Kottkamp and let him know of your support for this legislation.

* City Manager and various staff members met with property owners of Southwest Community Park properties to begin negotiations for the acquisition of this site.

* Assistant City Manager, Financial Services Director and Public Works Director conducted a charter school presentation before the MOM’s Club, a support group for parents, at the Cape Coral Hospital Life Center. The attendees were generally enthusiastic about the project and urged the City to move forward for an August 2005 opening.

* Staff from Public Works, Community Development and City Manager’s Office met to review the plans review permitting process in an effort to identify areas where we can streamline the procedures. Suggestions will be forthcoming.

* A request from Lee County to provide potable water on an emergency basis to their franchise area was received and will be discussed under the City Manager’s report at the April 5, 2004 Council Meeting.

* Assistant City Manager and Public Information Director met with representatives from the Sands Boulevard and Beach Parkway neighborhood pertaining to their issues with a potential charter school location. We will take into consideration their concerns as we complete our analysis of charter school sites.

* City staff conducted public information meeting for Southwest 2 property owners regarding assessments for utility expansion.

* Legislative Coordinator traveled to Tallahassee last week to join members of the Florida Recreation and Park Association to visit with legislators and reinforce the Association’s and City’s position on several critical legislative issues.

Economic Development

 

* Director and Assistant City Manager met with Mayor and Council Members to explain the Interim Academic Village project and participated in media interviews that resulted in positive coverage.

* Director met with SCORE representative to set up a new business workshop to be scheduled in April or early May on pre-business planning and research.

* Director discussed completion and expansion issues and incentives with owners of the Mid-Cape Racquet and Health Club.

* Director met with engineers representing a new (confidential) commercial development on Veteran’s Parkway to discuss concerns about handling of County road right-of-way land that is impinging on the project.

* Director submitted outline of a funding plan to City Manager for four-laning Pine Island Road between Burnt Store and Chiquita.

 

CITY CLERK

 

* Records Division has completed the transfer of all records that were in storage in the six different locations throughout the City to the central records storage facility.

* Licensing Division, along with Police and Code Compliance, visited construction sites three times this week to inform contractors about putting their Cape Coral license numbers on their vehicles. NBC 2 News televised a segment about this as well, and the News Press had an article about this in Sunday’s newspaper.

* Citizens Action Center staff received 664 inquiries/complaints for the month of March, which is a 9% increase from February’s total.

* We issued 596 garage sale permits for the month of March, which is a 35% increase from February’s total.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

* DCD’s inspectors conducted a record 14,681 inspections during the month of March. This is 2,779 more inspections than were conducted during February’s record setting total of 11,902. This represents a 23.3% increase in inspections in one month. The next closest month was January at 11,588 inspections. At this rate, the department may be conducting over 150,000 inspections this year. This would eclipse the number of inspections conducted last year (111,798) by over 38,000.

* Director and the Panning Division Manager will be making a presentation to the Council for Progress on Friday morning. The purpose of the talk is to update the Council on what has been accomplished by the Planning Department over the past year.

* Finishing touches were added to the staff recommendation to expand the Viscaya CRA boundaries into the City Centrum area. This recommendation should be ready for distribution early next week.

* Director will be attending the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando next week. In his absence, Shirley Burns will serve as Acting Director.

 

 

FINANCIAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT

 

* The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2003 has been submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association to determine its eligibility for another Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

* Advertised this week was one new bid for the purchase of a Mobile Stage, one proposal for Construction Manager at Risk for Cape Coral Transportation Facilities, and quotes for a new 2004 fifth passenger van. Staff received ten proposals for Miscellaneous Professional Engineer Services.

* Financial Services Director and the City Manager’s Office received a Draft Version of the Revenue Manual.

* Support has continued by staff to departments in the FY 2005 budget preparation process.

* The Delinquent Billing Section sent no new properties to foreclosure last week. The dollars collected on properties sent to foreclosure since September 20, 2002 is 702 properties with $5,822,390.38 of delinquent assessments, lot mowing and stormwater bills. As of this date, $3,747,664.95 has been collected by the foreclosure attorneys for 491 of the 702 properties (a 64.37% collection rate). A total of 16 properties (12 vacant and 3 developed non-homesteaded and 1 homestead properties) have been sold in foreclosure sales.

* During the week ending March 29th, the Billing Section completed and returned 971 fax requests for payoff information (for assessment, betterment, impact fees, lot mowing, seawall and stormwater accounts) to title companies, realtors and attorneys.

* On March 30th, Notice of Availability letters were sent to 260 developed properties in the SW 3, Phase 4 utility expansion area. These letters provide a 90-day notice to connect to water/sewer utilities and include information regarding connection costs, permitting, etc.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT

 

* Special Operations and Confined Space Rescue training evolutions are ongoing this week in the City for Fire Department Special Operations personnel working alongside Public Works personnel. With the rapid utility expansion in the City and the potential for a confined space or trench failure during construction, the Fire Department is training and equipping its personnel to effectively deal with these situations.

* Fire Chief and City Manager met with Will Stout to explain the upcoming proposed changes to fire impact fees.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

 

* Held open enrollment for our new dental provider, CompBenefits.

* The Risk Manager and the Safety, Health and Environmental Officer attended a Council on Education seminar on managing workers’ compensation claims.

* Posted 4 new positions: (3) Public Works (1 internal) and (1) Parks and Recreation. There are 50 positions currently available on the Web page.

 

ITS

 

* The conversion of the City’s e-mail system from GroupWise to Exchange/Outlook is now complete and all employees are on the new system.

* Four pilot cellular wireless laptops were placed into operation with DCD Inspection for access to our systems while in the field.

* The ITS office area was reconfigured to optimize work space.

 

PARKS & RECREATION DEPARTMENT

 

* On Saturday, March 27, the Tony Rotino Senior Center Supervisor met with 250 members of the Mark Ford Senior Softball League to discuss future plans to include a softball tournament in the Lee County Senior Games.

* Coral Oaks spring time rates go into effect April 1, 2004. Spring rates are: $36.75 for non-resident, $31.25 for residents and $16.25 for City employees.  All rates include tax.

* All Brazilian pepper trees have been removed around the entire perimeter of Coral Oaks Golf Course.

* As of March 30 Coral Oaks rounds for the month were at 6,052.  Last year’s rounds for March were 5,242.  The last year that Coral Oaks broke the 6,000 mark was in March 2000 with a total of 6,594 rounds.

* The Arts Studio Supervisor met with the Manager of Cultural Park Theatre and agreed to work with him to develop the Gallery Program there.

* Cougar Contracting Company completed a side walk on the east of the preschool, a cement picnic area and concrete pad under the dumpsters at Four Freedoms Park.

* Repairs to the Yacht Club pool diving boards were made and the boards were reopened for public use the same day. The handrails for the handicapped ramp will be repaired on Monday, April 5th, but this is a cosmetic repair and does not affect current functionality. The handrail repair will be the final item on the punch list for the pool project.

* The Parks Division has replaced the main park signs at the following parks: Storm Football Complex, Giuffrida Park, Camelot Park, Glover Bight, and Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve.

* The Parks Division, working with the Public Works Department, had a handicapped pathway constructed at Jason Verdow Park. The location was from the concession/restroom building to Field #1 bleacher area.

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

* Chief provided opening remarks at Cape Coral’s annual Relay For Life at the Cape Coral High School Football Field on Friday evening, March 26, 2004 followed by a presentation of flags by the Department’s Honor Guard. The large crowd was enchanted by Officer Cothran’s music in song, which he delivered in his rich, country style.

* Another undertaking of Operation Safe Streets, the Department’s traffic safety program, was conducted on March 30th and resulted in 90 uniform traffic citations being issued. Our intent, through this program, is to bring about a significant reduction in the number of traffic crashes resulting from violations.

* Chief presented a Certificate of Appreciation to a citizen, who provided life-saving assistance to a seriously injured victim following a criminal act of violence outside her place of business.

* Chief and the Special Services Bureau Commander attended the annual Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, in which scholarships were presented to 13 deserving high school seniors living in Cape Coral.

* The Cape Coral Police Department and the Florida Department of Transportation conducted a commercial vehicle checkpoint on March 29 in which approximately 100 commercial vehicles were checked. Twenty two safety inspections were conducted and 37 citations were issued.

* We are currently in the process of installing Mobile Computer Terminals into our police vehicles and look forward to the scheduled training in Mobile Field Reporting.

 

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT

 

* The “new” Everest Clarifier No. 4 was successfully tested and placed on line and is in full operation.

* Industrial Waste Survey was mailed out to industrial and commercial wastewater customers recently.

* Apac Paving has completed paving of Unit 41 (between Diplomat Parkway/Tropicana Parkway and Chiquita Boulevard/Nelson Road). A total of 12,380 tons of asphalt was laid for a total of 14.2 miles of roadway resurfacing. Better Roads has also completed spot paving in Unit 52, as well as paving in Unit 36 from Diplomat Parkway/Kismet Parkway and Andalusia Boulevard/Juanita Boulevard. A total of 4,500 tons of asphalt was distributed in the spot-paving area as well as a total of 6,590 tons in Unit 36. Also, to be completed this week is 28.5 miles of roadway that is being sprayed with Reclamite (a pavement rejuvenator) in the southwest section of the City. Pavement Technology will be completed with this project on April 1, 2004, at a cost of $180,000.00.

* The scope of work by the contractor is complete except for minor punch list items which will be completed this week for the Old Burnt Store Road stormwater improvement project. The east side is to be completed by the City. This includes bridge matting at the lateral pipe intakes and the elevation adjustments on the north and south ditch are forthcoming.

* The City has entered into an Off-Site Utilities Agreement with the owners of the Coral Lakes development to allow them to extend water and sewer to the site.

 

SW 2 Utilities Expansion Project (Q&A)

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The City has entered the final project area (SW 2) of its $200-million, five-year utilities expansion project.  A public information meeting was held in March to address questions and talk about the various financing options, including the new deferment program.  For detailed information on the SW 2 project, click here.

General questions and answers about the utilities expansion project are provided below.  The City is attempting to address some misconceptions or inaccurate information that may circulate relating to the utilities expansion.  The City has started planning for the next five-year program and will be taking the recommended expansion areas to City Council for approval soon.  The project will continue to bring City water, sewer and irrigation lines to thousands of property owners in the Southwest part of the Cape.  With rapid development occurring throughout the city, the need for public utilities becomes greater.

Here are some potential misconceptions (bold) about the utilities expansion program that may arise (followed by the actual facts about the project):

  1. a) The City never put the “utility contract” out for bid. The selection of Kellogg, Brown & Root as the “Construction Manager at Risk” was done in accordance with Florida Statutes (F.S. 287.055). The statute provides for the competitive selection of an engineering firm based on qualifications, not price. (For example, you probably want the best-qualified engineer to build the Space Shuttle and not the lowest bidder, so you select the most qualified and then negotiate prices.)  Eight of the top engineering firms in the country submitted packages.  The top three firms were interviewed by the City’s Selection Advisory Committee who then ranked them.  City Council also interviewed the firms and selected Kellogg, Brown & Root (MWH/KBR).
  2. b) The City did not bid out the work. MWH/KBR bids out all construction work related to utilities expansion through the sealed bid process.  The bids are reviewed by MWH/KBR and the City, and the work is awarded to the lowest bidder.  This bid process is required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the City to receive low-interest, State Revolving Loan Funds.
  3. c) The “Construction Manager at Risk” contract added excessive costs to the project. In comparing recent utilities projects between Cape Coral and a neighboring municipality (Bonita Springs), Cape Coral’s construction costs averaged $9,547 per benefited customer while Bonita Springs was about $9,455 per customer. (Note: These are construction costs only.)  Also, Cape Coral customers receive water, sewer AND irrigation lines, while Bonita customers receive only water and sewer.
  4. d) Cape Coral residents pay three times as much as Bonita Springs for the “same services.” First, Cape Coral and Bonita residents do not receive the same services; Cape Coral residents also receive irrigation.  Cape Coral residents ($15,000) do pay more for everything than Bonita ($6,217); however, that is due to a difference in the collection policy, not in actual costs.  In Cape Coral, the benefited property pays for 100% of the cost; in Bonita, all customers subsidize the projects through higher monthly water/sewer bills. In Cape Coral, “growth pays for growth.”  In Bonita, everyone pays.

While Cape Coral could change the policy to mirror Bonita’s, there are serious ramifications. The City has more than 40,000 accounts that already have paid (or are paying) assessments from previous expansion projects in the 1980s and 1990s.  Changing the policy would mean that these customers would pay twice and subsidize other property owners who did not do the same for them.  One resident suggested refunding the assessments paid previously to make it fair. However, this could mean refunding more than $200 million (plus interest), which would have to be recouped from all citizens.

  1. e) The Construction Manager inspects their own work, which is a conflict of interest. The Construction Manager (MWH/KBR) is an agent of the City.  They hire the subcontractors and inspectors to do the work. It is their reputation, their warranty (a three-year warranty at that) and their bond on the line.  They have a financial interest in making sure the work is done properly.
  2. f) The City should have a State Audit. As a requirement to receive State Revolving Funds, the City must conduct an independent audit of each utilities expansion project receiving SRF monies.  Past projects were audited by KPMG and submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for their review.

Independent audits have shown that the City’s finances are in order. A prior request for a complete state audit in 1998 by the same individuals calling for one now was deemed unnecessary by state officials.

The possibility of seeking an injunction to stop the project has been broached by some residents; however, any work stoppage on current projects will result in higher costs to all property owners in the expansion areas.

Anyone who has questions about the utilities expansion project should call the Utilities Expansion Office at 574-0712, the Construction Manager’s Office at 573-1191, or the City Manager’s Office at 574-0447.  Our records are open to the public, and our process is transparent.

City Reduces Interest for Property Owners in Expansion Areas

Due to lower interest rates on the construction bonds issued to install utility lines, customers in the three current utilities expansion areas who financed their assessments will be seeing a reduction in their annual installments beginning with their November 2003 tax bill.

The City of Cape Coral constantly seeks the best financing options available to help property owners who choose to pay the utilities assessments over time.  In addition to issuing bonds for construction, the City also applies for and receives low-interest state revolving funds (SRF) from the Department of Environmental Protection, which helps reduce the combined interest rate.

At the beginning of each project, the City establishes a tentative interest rate and then adjusts the number accordingly based on the rates received from the bonding companies and for the SRF monies.  The interest rates for the Pine Island Road, SW1 and SW3 utility assessment projects are being lowered to the following rates:

Pine Island (water, sewer and irrigation projects) will be lowered from 7.25% to 5.25%

SW1 (water, sewer and irrigation projects) will be lowered from 7.25% to 5.25%

SW3 (water, sewer and irrigation projects) will be lowered from 7.0% to 5.5%

United States Department of Defense and NRO

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As with most government agencies, building equipment often is contracted. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), responsible for the development and operation of airborne and spaceborne sensors, long was a joint operation of the CIA and the United States Department of Defense. NRO had been significantly involved in the design of such sensors, but the NRO, then under DCI authority, contracted more of the design that had been their tradition, and to a contractor without extensive reconnaissance experience, Boeing.

John Brennan, the current director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Boeing jointly with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), were the prime contractors in the U.S.

By late 1976, acts such as the Ramones and Patti Smith, in New York City, and the Sex Pistols and The Clash, in London, were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement. The following year saw punk rock spreading around the world.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) is a US company headquartered in McLean, Virginia that provides government services and information technology support.

The Ramones recorded their debut album, Ramones, in April 1976.

April 1976 issue of Punk. The cover image of Joey, by Punk cofounder John Holmstrom, was inspired by the work of comic book artist Will Eisner.[28] Holmstrom would go on to do album art for Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin.[29]

“I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” the slowest song on the album, was solely written by Tommy, and pays homage to love songs by pop music acts of the 1960s.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has defined 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) for the United States and seven for Puerto Rico. The OMB defines a Metropolitan Statistical Area as one or more adjacent counties or county equivalents that have at least one urban core area of at least 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.

Open Web Analytics (OWA)

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Open Web Analytics (OWA) is open source web analytics software created by Peter Adams.

IP Intelligence, or Internet Protocol (IP) Intelligence, is a technology that maps the Internet and catalogues IP addresses by parameters such as geographic location (country, region, state, city and postcode), connection type, Internet Service Provider (ISP), proxy information, and more. The first generation of IP Intelligence was referred to as geotargeting or geolocation technology.

In geo targeting with geolocation software, the geolocation is based on geographical and other personal information that is provided by the visitor or others.

Online retailers and payment processors use geolocation to detect possible credit card fraud by comparing the user’s location to the billing address on the account or the shipping address provided. A mismatch – an order placed from USA on an account number from Tokyo, for example – is a strong indicator of potential fraud. IP address geolocation can be also used in fraud detection to match billing address postal code or area code. Banks can prevent “phishing” attacks, money laundering and other security breaches by determining the user’s location as part of the authentication process.

The standard display for secure browsing from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s was the padlock. In 2005, Mozilla fielded a yellow address bar as a better indication of the secure connection.

In Opera and Safari, the address bar can double as a progress bar that indicates how much of the contents of the page has been loaded.

Internet Explorer 11’s address bar when visiting a secure site (Wikipedia secure, not displaying nonsecure items) that does not have an Extended Validation Certificate

Safari 2.0 was released on April 29, 2005, as the only web browser included with Mac OS X v10.4.

On June 6, 2005 at the WWDC in San Francisco, Jobs reported that nearly two million copies had been sold in Tiger’s first six weeks of release, making Tiger the most successful operating system release in Apple’s history.

The Dashboard allows for miniature applications called “Widgets” to appear and disappear rapidly from the screen.

On March 24, 2011, BoltBus expanded its service into Newark.

Some historical examples of oligarchy

Beautiful house in the colombian countryside on a sunny day

Some historical examples of oligarchy are the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

States by their systems of government. For the complete list of systems by country, see List of countries by system of government.   presidential republics   semi-presidential republics   parliamentary republics   parliamentary republics, an executive presidency elected by and dependent on parliament   parliamentary constitutional monarchies in which the monarch does not personally exercise power   constitutional monarchies in which the monarch personally exercises power, often alongside a weak parliament   absolute monarchies   states whose constitutions grant only a single party the right to govern   states where constitutional provisions for government have been suspended

The Soviet Union suffered greatly in the war, losing around 27 million people. Despite this, it emerged as a superpower in the post-war period.

According to M. V. Philimoshin there were in addition to the above losses civilian deaths during the Siege of Leningrad; 641,000 due to starvation and 17,000 killed by artillery fire.

By September 1941, the link with the Volkhov Front (commanded by Kirill Meretskov) was severed and the defensive sectors were held by four armies: 23rd Army in the northern sector, 42nd Army on the western sector, 55th Army on the southern sector, and the 67th Army on the eastern sector.

Meretskov was appointed Commander of the 4th Army which fought in the defense of Leningrad against the Army Group North of von Leeb.

Soviet offensive in Manchuria

Wilhelm Josef Franz Ritter von Leeb (5 September 1876 – 29 April 1956) was a German field marshal of the Second World War, during which his younger brother, Emil Leeb, rose to the rank of General der Artillerie.

Grave at the Sollner Waldfriedhof (Nr. 17-W-2)

On 22 June 1941, Germany, supported by Italy and Romania, invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, with Germany accusing the Soviets of plotting against them.

Operation Barbarossa (German: Fall Barbarossa, literally “Case Barbarossa”), beginning 22 June 1941, was the code name for Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. Over the course of the operation, about four million soldiers of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a 2,900 km (1,800 mi) front, the largest invasion in the history of warfare.

The last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, ruled the Russian Empire until his abdication in March 1917 in the aftermath of the February Revolution, due in part to the strain of fighting in World War I, which lacked public support.

This revolution appeared to break out spontaneously, without any real leadership or formal planning. Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems, which were compounded by the impact of World War I. Bread rioters and industrial strikers were joined on the streets by disaffected soldiers from the city’s garrison.

The geopolitical divisions in Europe

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This list focuses on differing approaches that political systems take to the distribution of sovereignty, and the autonomy of regions within the state.

Other tribes included the Banu Murra, with 400 men led by Hars ibn Auf Murri, and the Banu Shuja, with 700 men led by Sufyan ibn Abd Shams.

The main contemporary source of the battle is the 33rd Surah of the Quran.

Mosque Salaman pharsi, battle of trench, Medina

Verses 5-6 are concerned with the differences between adopted and blood-related persons. Verse 5 refers to Adoption in Islam and verse 6 contains a reference to the term Mother of Believers, who were Prophet’s wives.

The geopolitical divisions in Europe that created a concept of East and West originated in the Roman Empire. The Eastern Mediterranean was home to the highly urbanized cultures that had Greek as their common language (owing to the older empire of Alexander the Great and of the Hellenistic successors.), whereas the West was much more rural in its character and more readily adopted Latin as its common language.

Turkey, an EU candidate and member state of the Council of Europe, in the European Union Customs Union

Although Greek continued as the language of the Byzantine Empire, linguistic distribution in the East was more complex. A Greek-speaking majority lived in the Greek peninsula and islands, western Anatolia, major cities, and some coastal areas. Like Greek and Latin, the Thracian language was of Indo-European origin, as were several now-extinct languages in Anatolia attested by Imperial-era inscriptions. Various Afroasiatic languages—primarily Coptic in Egypt, and Aramaic in Syria and Mesopotamia—were never replaced by Greek.

Greece has a great deal of magnificent islands, with estimates ranging from somewhere around 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account.

What Can We Learn From government?

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This list focuses on differing approaches that political systems take to the distribution of sovereignty, and the autonomy of regions within the state.

Countries highlighted in blue are designated “electoral democracies” in Freedom House’s 2014 survey “Freedom in the World”.[39] Freedom House considers democracy in practice, not merely official claims.

Map of Vatican City, highlighting notable buildings and the Vatican gardens

Following the Second World War, UNESCO adopted the Hague Convention (1954) which created rules to protect cultural goods during armed conflicts.

Aircraft were used for reconnaissance, as fighters, bombers, and ground-support, and each role was advanced considerably.

A reconnaissance aircraft is a manned or unmanned military aircraft designed, or adapted, to carry out aerial reconnaissance.

Surveillance and observation aircraft use radar and other sensors for battlefield surveillance, airspace surveillance, maritime patrol and artillery spotting.

AEW&C aircraft are used for both defensive and offensive air operations, and are to the NATO and US forces trained or integrated Air Forces what the Command Information Center is to a US Navy warship, plus a highly mobile and powerful radar platform.

The idea of such a centralised control room is surprisingly old; it can be found in science fiction as early as The Struggle for Empire (1900).

Cole’s works are mostly out of print and are difficult to find.