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Cape City Council: Ceitus spreader a dead issue

April 17, 2013
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Pine Island Eagle

Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan is getting a little fed up with the Lee County Board of Commissioners and its insistence on keeping the Ceitus Boat lift issue alive.

The mayor expressed this position during a discussion at the Monday, April 15, City Council meeting in reaction to the BOCC insisting that the Cape sign a tolling agreement. Sullivan said this would keep the issue on the table although both the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corp of Engineers have ruled against putting a new lift back in the North Spreader as the county desires.

He seriously considered canceling Friday's joint meeting between the BOCC and city council at 1 p.m. in council chambers.

Councilmember John Carioscia told the mayor, "Now's not the time to take our ball and go home."

"I don't want to take my ball and go home," Sullivan retorted. "I want to take a baseball bat and bash them over the head."

Sullivan laid out three options for council: To approve the tolling agreement, to send a message that everything is on the table, or to disagree on the issue, or disagree on the issue and take them to court, which Sullivan said the BOCC seemingly wants to do anyway.

"The county is determined to keep the barrier. We need to get it off the table along with Chapter 164," Sullivan said.

Chapter 164 is a Florida State Statute that requires government entities that have disagreements to mediate and come up with an agreement before resorting to litigation.

City attorney Steve Griffin pointed out that all three parties must sign off on the tolling agreement, and that the DEP is not part of the Chapter 164 process.

Council decided to tell the BOCC that the Ceitus barrier is a dead issue

According to Councilmember Kevin McGrail and others, the DEP is not interested in signing any agreement and that the county can do whatever they want since the waters favor them.

"To sign an agreement the DEP has no intent to sign would be spinning our wheels," McGrail said. "We need to look them in the eye and put this to bed. It's time we address the BOCC on important issues."

"Everybody is saying our science is better than your science. At the end of the day, it's what the DEP says," Councilmember Marty McClain said. "If they want the barrier, let them apply for a permit."



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