Royal Harbor Updates : 07/07/16

This is extreme heat even for here. In the years we have been here, this tops them all for a prolonged and early heat wave. At least there are no storms on the horizon. Guess we have to be thankful for air conditioning. The heat has really put a damper on the market though, as there are not too many buyers looking right now. This is a good time to be out on the water fishing the coast early mornings or catching the tide looking for Reds or snook. (I myself have not been very lucky but some are doing great)

In the city there are a few things going on. One is the settling in of the new Fire Chief. As you know our last chief was let go. He was not a favorite of mine, as I, and many of my colleagues, felt he was empire-building and exaggerating in his reports. It now appears this was the case as many of the firefighters have now acknowledged.  He was eager to enlarge the department and increase the numbers. Since we already have a huge unfunded pension liability in this department, the city managers were trying to get a handle on this and also trying to keep the balance of what we can afford and what we really need. The fireboat is a good example. The old administration tried unsuccessfully to get council to vote them a new fireboat, but they would not. After a couple years getting no where on this, the Police requested a new boat for the harbor. This boat was approved, but to make this story short, after a couple years, this is now the new fireboat. Working the system.

Anyhow, the department is now transitioning how they do calls.

As you know if you live here… If you call in for an accident or health problem, you get an ambulance, a ladder truck and a police cruiser. Well, this is a pretty big response for someone who fell or someone who had a stove fire and put it out but still called it in. Or any number of minor accidents that get called in. So I believe these calls are now being screened and the department has a smaller vehicle they send out for these calls. The utilization of these vehicles is now being looked at. (the reason being we do not need a million dollar ladder truck being used for minor calls) So using smaller specialized, less expensive vehicles makes sense. Next is the review of staffing these vehicles and the ongoing discussion of whether we need new people for this or if we can cross-use personnel. This is what is happening now. I will keep you informed as we go along since our taxpayer dollars are funding this. Do not expect logic to prevail on the first round.

Another big thing going on is the Triangle redevelopment. You must know that this area is undergoing a major transition. Those little shops in that area will be gone in a year or less and in their stead will be bigger, taller, expensive enterprises. Exactly what and how they will all go in there is still under review, but now there is a 9-story condo building and an 11-story and an 18-story building proposed. Chances are these will be toned down some, but the values here will increase many fold in a few years. This is why we have county commissioners and county staff to review these projects and make sure they fit  and are safe and do not cause a burden on existing residents and businesses.  Lastly, the RaceTrac gas station will be decided this coming fall. I know many are against this, but I also know many are not. I will say this, those against have put up a valiant fight against near impossible odds. We will see.

Real estate values continue to slowly rise in the area, but we are not nearly as high as 8 years ago. Maybe this is good? New homes continue to sprout up as every piece of unused ground is being snapped up and converted to housing. I will look at this as the summer progresses and have more to report then. Prices on these look big now, but perhaps in a few years people will be saying. “boy we should have bought then”

Taken with my iphone on the intra coastal between here and Marco island. Wild hogs


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