The City of Naples has been very busy this summer. Our city council and staff have been working on many projects for all of our residents to continue to make Naples the best place in America to live and work. The question that comes to most about any city is the budget…
The budget approved was a $122 million budget that keeps the millage rate in place for the sixth year in a row, however it does increase taxes for some property owners, due to increased property values.
The fiscal 2014-15 budget, which increased from $106.3 million, didn’t pass without a debate, mostly focused on a new fire station and additional firefighters removed from the airport.
There was debate about the proposed $15.1 million Baker Park, with some against transferring $4 million in city funds to help finance it. The City Manager explained that council already capped city park funding at $7.5 million, meaning the rest must come from private donations. Slightly more than $5 million already has been raised.
GULF SHORE BOULEVARD NORTH
A majority of the City Council members supported adding $500,000 to the tree project on Gulf Shore Boulevard North. The funding will be used to replace the large canopy trees.
Funding for construction has been delayed because a majority of City Council has decided to reconsider the park design. Once a design is selected, the project then requires engineering and architectural work, followed by competitive bids and award of contract for construction. We are confident Baker Park will move forward and be one of the most beautiful parks not just in Naples but in America.
CENTRAL AVENUE PROJECT
This is a major transportation enhancement currently underway along the Central Avenue corridor between 8th Street and Goodlette-Frank Road. The purpose of the Central Avenue Improvement Project is to:
- Provide a road that will accommodate traffic through at least 2035.
- Provide continuous sidewalks along the corridor that are safe and unobstructed by parked vehicles.
- Construct dedicated bicycle lanes to match up with the existing bike lanes on Central Avenue, west of 8th Street.
- Provide continuous bicycle connectivity from the beach to Baker Park and the Gordon River Greenway.
- Add on-street parking.
- Beautify Central Avenue with streetscape improvements.
- Address major stormwater flooding issues.
- Install a section of water main.
- Implement The Blue Zone concepts for a healthier urban environment.
City Council asked the Mayor to sign a notice of termination pursuant to the contract with the NAA on September 18, 2015 the question came up, “May the City of Naples contract with a third party to provide aircraft rescue and service and have the City receive 100 percent reimbursement from the NAA?” It is the position of the City of Naples that it has an obligation to provide fire service to the entire City.
Should the NAA want additional specialized coverage for the airport the NAA must pay 100 percent of the cost. The city Manager was directed to provide a contingency plan to maintain the current staffing in the Naples Fire Department retaining six firefighters from the airport.
NAPLES PIER PROJECT
The renovation of the Naples pier is almost complete. It has been exciting to watch the progress. We are having a ribbon cutting on Friday November 13 at 5:30 p.m. Please check our website www.naplesgov.com for updates and ticket information. We are serving beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. It will be a party casual event and the best part it’s only $50.00 per person.
PIER PLANK PROJECT
Our pier plank sales project has been going very well. We have sold over 400 planks in less than a week. We still have more available and if you have a heart for Naples, I am sure you will want to purchase one. Many folks have told me they are going to use them as Christmas gifts this year.
The city is in full focus on our residents’ wants and needs. I will continue to work on these and many other projects for you.
As always I ask our residents who have ideas, suggestions or comments to contact me at 239.213.1000 or email@example.com.