by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
Sanibel City Council voted on Monday to promptly appoint a new member in November and December to fill the current seats of Councilman Maughan and Mayor Kevin Ruane respectively.
Maughan expressed a desire to keep his seat on council, after resigning to run in the Republican primary for Florida House District 76. Since he lost that race to Adam Botana, Maughan said he would like to be appointed to finish his term and plans to run in the city’s March 2021 election.
“It is a happy, sad joy to return to the city, so I can concentrate on the place where I made my entire life, built my career and raised my family, and now have had the honor and privilege to serve for the last four years as a city councilman,” said Maughan. “I look forward to continuing to doing that….”
Ruane resigned from council to run in the Republican primary election for Lee County Commissioner, a race in which he defeated Michael Dreikorn. Ruane will face write-candidate Kelsey Hotchkiss, a Florida Gulf University student from Lakeland, Fla., in the November General Election.
In other agenda items:
Council approved a 2 percent increase for residential, commercial and reclaimed water rates, which is down from the previously proposed increase of 3 percent.
The licensing application deadline for rental dwelling units has been extended to Oct. 30. The process was suspended in March due to the virus pandemic. The city has mailed nearly 2,000 advisory letters and applications to holders of existing Business Tax Receipts as of Sept. 3.
Currently, 1,035 license applications have been submitted to the city; 299 have been approved with issuance of licensing pending; 526 have been reviewed and determined insufficient; 71 are under review; and 139 returned or refunded to applicant pending a potential reclassification as hotel/motel.
The projected revenue for 2020 from limited rentals is $138,600 with $50,800 received as of Sept. 3. The unlimited rental revenue for the year is projected to be $147,000 with $88,300 received. Additionally, the city has hired a full-time code enforcement officer.
Acting Director of Natural Resources Holly Milbrandt said water quality was good over the summer. However, the recent heavy rainfall will undoubtedly have a negative impact on it. She also reported small deposits of red drift algae observed on beaches, but overall the beaches are in good health. And there have been no outbreaks of red tide near the island.
Milbrandt also presented a draft ordinance promoting boating speed regulations in two zones around the island to ensure the protection of manatees. Sanibel does not currently have an ordinance that complies with Florida statutes for a slow speed buffer on the bay side of the island, from Woodring Point east to Point Ybel. Council members supported the ordinance and unanimously voted to have a first reading of the ordinance in October.