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City, council accept awards

Issue of gas-powered leaf blowers continued

June 10, 2019
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The city of Sanibel and three members of the Sanibel City Council were recently presented with separate awards related to water quality initiatives and advocacy for municipal home rule.

At the council's meeting on June 4, the Florida League of Cities recognized the city's efforts on clean water, awarding it the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award for its "excellent winning program." In addition, league Legislative Director Scott Dudley presented Mayor Kevin Ruane, Vice Mayor Mick Denham and Councilmember Holly Smith each with the Home Rule HERO Award for their actions and participation leading up to and during the 2019 legislative session in regards to the topic of home rule.

During the start of the meeting, the council also held several proclamations and recognitions.

Article Photos

Mayor Kevin Ruane, with the rest of the Sanibel City Council and city staffers, accepts the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award from Florida League of Cities Legislative Director Scott Dudley.

Sanibel Police Chief William Dalton was honored for his 25 years of public service to the city, while proclamations were read for the 40th anniversary of the Sanibel Captiva Optimist Club's Road Rally and the 47th annual meeting of the Conchologists of America. Community Services Director Keith Williams was also recognized for recently earning his master's degree in public administration from South New Hampshire University.

The council presented the city's Employee Dependent Scholarship Program Awards to: Jacob Crandon, son of Lt. Frank Crandon; Amber Schweitzer, daughter of Steve Schweitzer; Haley Upchurch, daughter of Jocelyn Upchurch; and Alissa Vetter, daughter of Holly Vetter. It also recognized the recipients of the employee dependent scholarships to the Captiva Island Yacht Club's Junior Sailing Summer Camp over the summer - John Kelly, son of Scotty Lynn Kelly, and Landon Woolfe, son of Veronica Runge.

As for the meeting, the council briefly discussed a staff report on gas-powered leaf blowers before deciding to continue the discussion to the July meeting, as well as talked about regulating plastic bags. In addition, a discussion on a proposed ordinance for electric bicycles was deferred to next month.

On the subject of leaf blowers, Smith pointed out that the council had received the report only days before and she voiced hesitation on making a decision one way or another until she could sift through the information. Smith added that regulation due to health concerns is one thing, but not annoyance.

"I would like to take a little bit more time," she said.

Denham reported that he reached out to people for input and there seemed to be a consensus.

"Eliminating, modifying, reducing," he said. "I believe we should do something, but I'm not exactly sure what that something should be."

Councilmember Jason Maughan voiced opposition to property owners being held responsible for violations if a ban is approved, adding that any violations should be put on the landscapers. He also reported that he is not convinced the alternative products, such as electric blowers, are any better.

"I really think we have some more to do on it," Maughan said.

Councilmember Richard Johnson reported a similar sentiment, pointing out that landscapers also use gas-powered trimmers, edgers and such, and questioned if the city planned to ban those devices as well. He also suggested that the city reach out to homeowners associations to aid with mitigating the issue.

"So it doesn't require us to do this as an outright ban," Johnson said.

Ruane said he would like the city to do something, but recognized a lack of consensus on the dais.

"There's quite a few items that we need to digest to give you good direction," he told staff.

City Attorney John Agnew provided the council with an update on Florida law relating to local legislation on disposable plastic bags. He explained that there is an existing preemption, which has been on the books for about 10 years, that prevents cities from putting any regulations in place.

Agnew added that such a move would likely end with the city losing a lawsuit.

Smith pointed out that a resolution could be approved instead.

The council directed Agnew to draft one "with teeth," but also one that would not get the city sued.


- The council voted 5-0 to accept the ranking of the selection committee and authorized the city manager to enter into contract negotiations with ADG Architecture for architectural services. The work will involve providing professional and technical services for the rehabilitation and expansion of the police wing at the Sanibel City Hall building.

- The council voted 5-0 to approve the engineering proposal from TetraTech for the Sanibel Sewer Expansion Phase 4B for the final design civil and mechanical and final design electrical systems, plus permitting, in the amount of $58,700.

- The council voted 5-0 to award the 2019 street resurfacing contract to Community Asphalt Corp. in the amount of $534,000 and authorized the city manager to execute the contract.

- The council voted 5-0 to approve an agreement between the city and the Zambelli Manufacturing Company for the Independence Day fireworks display in the amount of $20,000 and authorized the city manager to execute same; a refund due to rain in 2018 was applied.



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