In its annual reorganization, the Lee County Board of County Commissioners appointed Commissioner Larry Kiker to serve as chairman at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday morning.
Kiker, a Fort Myers Beach resident who has served as vice chair since taking office in November 2012, will serve a one-year term for 2013-14, along with Commissioner Brian Hamman, the newly elected vice chairman. He plans to focus where former chairman Cecil Pendergrass left off.
"I would like to continue what Cecil has done, use all the resources that we did not have a year ago, strengthen policy, concentrate on the budget process and move forward," Kiker said. "I really enjoy working with this board. I'm just trying to take county business back to basics."
Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker (center) was appointed as chairman of the board Tuesday morning. The Beach resident is pictured with (l to r) Commissioners John Manning, former chairman Cecil Pendergrass, newly appointed Vice Chairman Brian Hamman, Commissioner Frank Mann and Clerk of Courts' Linda Doggett.
Kiker's political history ranges back to his time in Town of Fort Myers Beach government. He served
on the Fort Myers Beach Local Planning Agency for a number of years and was elected to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council in March 2007. He became vice-mayor in 2007 and mayor from 2008 until October 2012.
As a member of the town council, he represented Fort Myers Beach on committees including the Southwest Florida Planning Council and the Human Resources Council. In 2006, he received the "Citizen of the Year" award from the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Kiker was inaugurated into the County commission back in November 2012. He was appointed chairman of the Tourist Development Council one month later. The nine-member TDC was established by the BOCC in 1983 to increase tourism to Lee County.
Commissioner Kiker has an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston, Mass. He worked for major corporations throughout the United States for 20 years before moving to Southwest Florida in 1995. He relocated to the area to pursue his passion for fishing and boating. He became a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and has charted offshore fishing and diving excursions for more than 10 years.
Clerk of Court Linda Doggett presided over the annual election of the new County Commission chair and vice chair.
- Mound House CIP - An overall project scope for Estero Island's oldest standing structure is now clearer after Town officials reviewed contract and grant figures and identified funding sources at a workshop on Monday morning. A balance for a remaining funding amount was agreed to be handled incrementally.
Newly appointed Town Parks & Recreation Director Randy Norton provided a funding summary for the Mound House capital improvements plan to the Fort Myers Beach Town Council, He disclosed funding for four main projects within that scope: the Search Inc. project, the Fowler contract, the observation pier and the orientation museum seating. The estimated cost for combined projects is $1,971,316.
The funding source identified for such projects include a Cultural Affairs grant ($445,000), Lee County Tourist Development Council monies (586,438), a state-budgeted Florida Historical grant ($333,614) and the Town General Fund through reserves (up to $500,000).
"All that being said, that leaves us with a remaining amount of unfunded Capital Improvement Project of $106,264.24," said Norton.
Town officials will look into how to segment that remaining balance at an upcoming meeting.
The overall project has been a long time coming since the Town of Fort Myers Beach acquired the Mound House property with funds from Florida Communities Trust in 2000.
Since the purchase, the Town of Fort Myers Beach has received generous support from the Florida Division of Historic Resources, Florida Humanities Council, Florida Communities Trust and Lee County's Visitors and Convention Center Bureau to provide funding necessary to professionally restore what is known as the Williams H. Case House to its 1921 grandeur and to develop the underground exhibit from an actual Calusa shell mound.
Restoring the interior would help open the complete Town-owned property for tourism. The property is now open for pedestrian traffic, and tours for the walk-in shell mound exhibit and landscape plantings are available for donations only.
- Elevated pools - Proposed elevated pools along the canals on Palermo Circle are raising concerns. Recently submitted building permit applications regarding the construction of new single-family homes with pools are causing anxiety among residents in the neighborhood.
Some construction permits have involved requests for elevated swimming pools to allow direct access from the elevated first floor of the homes to the pool deck due to FEMA-imposed base flood elevation requirements that range from 10 to 13 feet above adjacent grade in that particular neighborhood.
Town officials discussed the issue by looking into requirements of the land development code and questioning whether these proposed elevated pools have or should have to comply with the principal structure setback of 25 feet or if a 5-foot accessory structure setback for such structures apply.
Before Council discussed the issue, Town staff and attorney gave the matter much reviewal and determined that, as long as pool and deck are not attached to principal structure, an elevated pool should be allowed a 5-foot setback from a canal. It was also determined that an enclosure (fence, railing or wall) would be allowed for a minimum safety code requirement.
Next week, a more in-depth story will be provided.
- Waterline Replacement Project meeting
With Phase 1 construction of the Fort Myers Beach Waterline Replacement Program set to begin in December, Town officials are inviting Basin Based Neighborhood residents to a preconstruction neighborhood meeting at Chapel by the Sea Presbyterian Church on Thursday, Nov. 21, to meet the project team and learn about utility work. Residents can view construction plans and learn details specific to the Basin Based Neighborhood. Construction information is specifically for the Basin Based Neighborhood. Preconstruction meetings for Laguna Shores and Bay Beach Lane will be held next year.
A presentation begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by an open house from 5 to 6.
Visit the project website at www.reFRESHFMBeach.com for more information or contact the reFRESH waterlines public information officer at 239-337-1071 (Toll-free 877-496-1076).