President’s Update, May 11

Membership Booklets are out and everyone should have had theirs delivered or mailed. There were 2 errors.
1.Jim Gillis at 1980 Tarpon, (wrong name) for Yeaton,  Minot and Sue should be
please take a minute and change these. If you did not get yours, let me know and I will get you a replacement.

The resident discount cards are now being addressed to all members. Those without email will get a list of the vendors in their envelopes. The updated list will be online on our site hopefully by next week when you should get your NEW card.

The dredging is still moving along and the city council is planning a vote in June to fund this. (through our taxing district). However, now the plan is to dredge by your home when the dredge passes through your canal. The city is going to mail out notices to all residents asking if they want their area dredged. Watch for this notice as it will be up to you to sign up for extra dredging. They should have price estimates in the application. When this starts I will continue to notify everyone by email that you need to get this done. Expect the dredging to start in July or August.

Some of you may be following the discussion on storm water rates. Some on the council want to change the system we are now ($12 per household) on to a new one that would cost us (in Royal Harbor) more. I am attaching an argument against this from a Port Royal resident. I find his conclusions valid and especially since I see absolutely no benefit from this program at anytime to Royal Harbor residents. Still the residents of the affected area want us to not only pay but now to pay more. Read this and see what you think. You may weigh in at see below

Reasonable & intelligent people can look at the same data & reach different conclusions. Public policy is not a matter of right or wrong, but what is appropriate in the specific circumstance. Typically those causing a problem, or benefiting  the most from the resolution, are those most likely to pay for that problem resolution. 

As an example, only Aqualane Shores & Royal Harbor residents paid for dredging their canals, & only Port Royal residents will be assessed $1.8M to dredge their canals, although non residents, tourists, & commercial boats also use those canals.

We first determine what is the problem? There is significant    flooding in some city areas caused by clogged storm drains, structures built too close together, structures built below FEMA flood levels, & poorly designed drainage.

What is the resolution? Normal storm drain maintenance & CIP funding to replace old pipes, pipes that are too small, install swales, improve drainage, repair or replace pumps.

What is the cost? Based on the past few years & projected 5 year expenditures, $2-3M per year for CIP projects, plus matching grants for some, plus normal citywide maintenance costs.

Where is the problem? There is $10M Basin 5 – Coastland Mall, Lake Park; and $10.6M Basin 3 – Old Naples, 5th Ave, Broad Ave.

Who should pay to resolve these problems? I see two options. Either only the residential & commercial entities in the affected Basins, as is done with the canal dredging. Or the entire city’s residential & commercial entities.

One method proposed  is based on impervious surface of a home/condo site. This appears to be logical. But is it appropriate, if the homes or condos are not located in the area where the flooding occurs? Thus the impervious surface in one basin, has no relationship, has no relevance what so ever, to the problem cause, nor the problem resolution, in a different basin.

Some Gordon Dr. homes have a large foot print & thus a large impervious surface. But why disregard the amount of grass & landscape around those homes, which absorbs the rain water? It would seem much more appropriate to calculate the impervious surface area as a percentage of the total lot area. But, you would do this only if, the property had any relevance to the problem.

R1-15A district homes, have much stricter building setback codes & landscape requirements than the rest of Naples. There is more space to the street, to the waterways in the rear, & between homes, plus more green space requirements, than do homes in the areas that are flooding. R1-15A homes mostly retain the rain water on their own lots. So I do not see the relevance of impervious surface in R1-15A to the Basin 3 & Basin 5 flooding problems.

It was also suggested using impervious surface. But residents of Gulf Shore Assoc. or Little Harbour are not the cause of the Lake Park flooding, nor are they causing major flooding in their own neighborhoods.  Maybe someone can explain why a home or condo owner, not in Lake Park, should pay more to solve the $10M flooding problem in Lake Park, than do the Lake Park residents.

If you decide the problem & resolution is a Neighborhood/Water Basin issue that should be funded by those in the respective Water Basin, then impervious surface in that Neighborhood, may be a valid method of charging.

But, if you decide it as an entire citywide issue that should be funded by all city residential & commercial entities, the current method of charging each residential unit (condo big or small, home big or small) seems most appropriate. Although we may not live in the flooding areas, & most homes & condos are not the cause of the flooding, we do drive in the areas, and we do not want any flooding in Naples. I happen to believe it is an entire city issue. I do not think that Sam & his neighbors, nor those living in Old Naples should have to bear the entire $20.6 M CIP cost burden that needs to be spent just in Basins 3 & 5.

Another issue is the quality of water flowing into the bay due to the oil & tire rubber on the streets. Maybe charging a fee for each car or truck at a home, or condo, & at any business located in, or doing business in Naples, is more appropriate, than impervious surface. Naples generally has 2-3 people per residence, & 2 cars, no matter the size of the condo or home. Cars & trucks cause this problem, not the home or condo size, & not the lot size. The oil flows on to the impervious Naples city roads, then into the bay.

If the issue is that Condo’s, in their entirety, should not pay more than commercial, there is another alternative to consider. Raise the rates on the commercial properties in those areas where the flooding is caused by those specific properties, & then maybe the city can lower all the residential rates, both home & condo.

I hope someone will explain why unrelated impervious surface is an appropriate metric to use to calculate, & pay, to resolve this citywide flooding issue. As I said, reasonable people can look at the same data & reach a different conclusion. So my logic & my view, that this is a city wide issue may be wrong.

If you decide it is a Neighborhood/Water Basin Issue, & therefore only the respective residential & commercial entities in each Water Basin are to be assessed for the CIP’s in their specific Water Basin, then an impervious metric may be a part of the formula to determine who pays, and how much, in each water basin.

In summary, I do not think it appropriate to fund city wide flood  mitigation, by charging homes differently than condos, & charging some condos, differently than other condos. In particular, when the potential funding reduction of $580,000 per year will have to be made up by increasing the rates for everyone else. It seems to me that a $12.01 monthly fee for each residential unit is both a very fair amount & an appropriate way to charge for city wide flood mitigation. Also, there already is a procedure available to apply for a 30% credit, reducing the fee to $8.41 per condo unit, if the condo qualifies by retaining water on their own property.

You may be following the ambulance discussion,. here,below,  is a synopsis of cost from Doug F.


Below are some interesting numbers to consider. We are a long ways from the city setting up our own EMS because many discussions must be had and lots of numbers crunched as well as county, double taxation and funding issues. Still, I will offer the below, which assumes Naples’ customary assignment of 2 ambulances rather than the very recent addition to 3.
1. County, General Fund (ad valorem) support of EMS is about $11,000,000.
2. Of that $11,000,000, Naples contributes about 24% or $2,600,000.
3. With only 2 ambulances, Naples contributes $1,300,000 per ambulance.
4. The county has 23 ambulances. If we deduct the 2 ambulances assigned to the city and the $2,600,000 the city pays to EMS to fund those ambulances, we are left with 21 ambulances and $8,400,000 in remaining ad valorem. That works out to $400,000 per ambulance in the rest of the county vs the city funding of $1,300,000 per ambulance–a huge disparity.


We know we can use numbers in many different ways to illustrate a point. The above is just one example. If I added the city of Marco Island to the mix, the per unit funding of ambulances in the unincorporated areas would fall even more. All the above exercise is meant to do is to show the city contributes a huge amount of ad valorem for the stationing of only 2 ambulances. The same could be stated for Pelican Bay or Marco property owners. The bottom line is the high valued coastal areas contribute most of the EMS funding, thus subsidizing the inland and rural areas. In general, I can accept some disparity because that is the nature of ad valorem–but if I do, the city of Naples must receive top notch EMS service for all of the money we contribute and that issue is being worked on, though we don’t yet know how effective new policies will be or the ultimate structure–with the city on its own, or not.
Beyond funding, we also need to look at the demand for services at all of the EMS stations and those numbers I do not have. My guess is, based on demand, the city of Naples needs more than two ambulances, at least in season, because our snow bird and tourist population increases so dramatically as well as the huge influx of county, day visitors to our beaches, shopping, restaurants, parks and special events.
Doug F.
(after this email went around the county assigned another ambulance to the city)


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3 Responses to President’s Update, May 11

  1. Bob Dove Center Marine Contrcting LLC says:

    We are bidding the East Naples Bay Dredging project. The City will not pay the successful contractor to dredge within 10 feet of any structure, dock, priviate property. They will allow us to negotiate with individual homeowners to dredge around their docks and private property while also performing City work. Each homeowner must pay for our work on his property. It would be most helpful in preparing our bid if we could get some idea of how many homeowners would be interested in purchasing this service. Thanks for your help.

  2. Laurie and Joseph Rose says:

    2180 Snook – I would be interested in seeing about additional dredging around my dock.

    • Ed says:

      The City has not yet awarded the dredging contract, so the promised notice to residents hasn’t been sent out. City Council has the dredging on the agenda for tomorrow’s (06/15/11) meeting. You may want to attend.

      Ed Thieme

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