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The buzzing sound you hear isn't a mosquito

May 30, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

The buzzing sound you hear isn't from mosquitoes but the sounds of the Independent Special District called the Lee County Mosquito Control District and it's coming from staff meetings with LCMCD attorneys over a land deal for a chunk of property on Pine Island called Woodstock Airport.

So what's the deal with the LCMCD's staff and these meetings? We already know that the LCMCD never filed a Public Facilities Report with Lee County showing that they had any need for an airport on Pine Island as required by Chapter 189 f.s. The Public Facilities Report is required by law to allow the county to see if it fits into their land use plan. There was no money in the LCMCD's budget for an airport on Pine Island. So how can there have been a need for an airport on Pine Island?

Looking at the June 9, 2016, board meeting of the LCMCD, we first learn that the board's attorneys had discussions with the land owner about buying the Woodstock Airport? And the attorney wants to draft a letter of intent to buy the property? So how did the LCMCD's staff spend funds on attorney fees if it wasn't in the budget and there was no Public Facilities Report filed with the county showing a need for an airport on Pine Island?

The buzz going on at the LCMCD gets even quieter when you look at the special June 29 board meeting of the LCMCD. You could go on the LCMCD and read it, but I forgot, it isn't on their website as required by law. The reason it isn't on the website could be because there is a bid for an approach to the Woodstock Airport for $270 k or so and the board chairman is going to help in the attorney on the contract? There is nothing in the June 9 board meeting mentioning an approach to Woodstock Airport and a need to acquire it and yet three weeks later a bid turns up and the chairman of LCMCD is going to help the attorneys on the contract?

Maybe the board had another special meeting between the regular meeting and the June 29 special meeting that I couldn't find that they voted to buy the Woodstock Airport and needed more land for the landing approach and voted to get a bid on it?

There is a Sunshine Law that states all negotiations done by the board or their representatives for real property purchase or leases must be done in an open meeting, it's also referred to as the Sunshine Laws. There was the original contract for Woodstock Airport and there were 5 changes to the contract and a lot of the changes were done between regular board meetings. I can't seem to find any minutes of any LCMCD regular meeting whereby the sellers or their representatives appeared before the board in negotiations for the contract or the 5 changes to it. I had to do an open records request to get the unapproved minutes from the special June 29, 2016, meeting that wasn't on the LCMCD website and there could be more meetings that haven't been put on the LCMCD website that I haven't found information about.

It seems like finding out what is going on at the LCMCD is just like looking for mosquitoes. LCMCD is going to fly drones around to find those buzzing mosquitoes. I just wonder if they could use those same drones to fly around the LCMCD buildings to find out how deals are made between board meetings without the public knowing about it.

Leo Amos




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