(Letter from Councilman Finlay to Terry Forshier, RHAss’n Pres.)
I received the below from Moss. Feel free to forward to your Association or ENB members so they are informed. I found out from Moss that Auqualane used Hummiston and Moore for their engineering.
As you probably know, this project has been going on since 2006 or earlier. Dr. Bauer was the project coordinator when I came on the scene at the end of 2007. After some time, I transferred the responsibility to Ron Wallace, believing the project to be more engineering that environmental science.
I do not know PBS&J’s dredging experience, but I would have given greater preference to local engineering firms who understand the systems in Collier County. The plans and specs should not have been advertised for bids without the required engineering data. Council will have to authorize additional funds for survey, and we may recommend retaining a different firm to supervise and monitor the project.
In any event, it happened, and I doubt this will be the last problem. Dredging projects, in my experience, are fraught with problems. They take a long time, many complaints will be received from property owners, and some may not be satisfied with the final product.
While the project is funded by the E. Naples Bay Taxing District, City Council will still need to confirm advanced funding by the city with payback by the district over a specified period of time. Unlike Aqualane Shores and the pending Port Royal dredge project, this is not a special assessment project paid equally by affected property owners.
If staff had its way, there would be no dredging projects. They are complicated, time-consuming, and require extensive involvement with property owners. However, they are projects that are occasionally in demand by property owners, and their options to do the project themselves are very limited. So, local governments do what others themselves cannot accomplish without assistance.
We have a lot of time invested in this project, and the Port Royal proposed project continues to involve staff on a weekly basis.
City of Naples