July 2022 Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Greater Pine Island Civic Association Meeting — July 5, 2022, Greater Pine Island Elks Club

Board Members present: President Helen Fox, Vice President Nadine Slimak, Treasurer Mike Sweeney, Members Cindy Bear, Connie D’Alessio, Deborah Swisher-Hicks. (Excused: Scott Wilkinson, Shari Perkins.)

39 members and non-members signed in.

The meeting was also livestreamed on Facebook (though there were technical issues). View the recordings here.

President Helen Fox opened the meeting at about 6:35 p.m. with a broad overview of how the Pine Island amendment to the Lee County Comprehensive Land Use plan was developed and why it was updated in 2016-2017. (For fuller background and additional information, please visit this page and also follow the link to the fuller summary from Phil Buchanan.)

Helen introduced Board Member Connie D’Alessio, who showcased a donation from local photographer Martha Huard, whose print on canvas will be raffled off at the end of Mango Mania on July 16. The beautiful image Martha donated is “The Kiss” and shows two great blue herons. Connie also sold tickets for a 50/50 raffle that was drawn at the end of the meeting and raised $31 for the GPICA.

Board Member Cindy Bear then reminded attendees that the deadline to register to vote in the primaries is fast approaching. She also gave an overview of other important dates:

  • Monday, July 25, 2022 is the deadline to register to vote or change party affiliation.
  • The deadline to request a mail-in ballot for the Aug. 23 primary is 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.
  • Oct. 11, 2022 is the registration deadline to vote in the November general election.
  • The deadline to request a mail-in ballot for the November general election is Oct. 29, 2022.

Cindy also gave an overview of the helpful info available on the Lee County Supervisor of Elections website and encouraged anyone who has questions to visit the site or call the elections office directly at 239-LEE-VOTE/239-533-8683 between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Helen then reviewed the minutes from the May and June meetings. Treasurer Mike Sweeney made a motion to accept, it was seconded, and both were approved. (View May here and June here)

Helen introduced Michael, who provided the financial report:

  • Money Market: $16,762.27
  • Business Checking: $4376.74
  • Cd Investment*: $76,366.65 (*Cd to rollover in mid-October)
  • May income: $721 (membership dues), online sales: $91; checks/cash: $630
  • May expenses: $50 (table for Mango Mania)

Connie made a motion to approve the report, it was seconded by a member of the audience and the motion was passed.

Helen then introduced Mikes Maillakakis, General Manager of the Greater Pine Island Water Association, who provided an update on what the Water Association is doing to fight “Annexation by a Special Act” that Cape Coral is currently seeking.

“Annexation by Special Act” in Florida is when a city asks their state representatives to introduce a special law that would allow it to annex enclaves without following the typical annexation rules contained in Florida Statute 171.0413 (found here)

If a member of the state House of Representatives and of the Senate introduce a bill and it is approved by both houses, and the Governor signs the bill, it then becomes law — which would allow the properties to be taken over by Cape Coral.

No property owners’ input or any kind of vote by the residents/owners of the affected properties or City residents would be required. (View the details of the Cape Coral Annexation Strategy here)

The parcels initially proposed by the Cape to be annexed are 1-6.

The Water Association, the GPICA and other stakeholders affected (and opposed) to the Annexation by Special Act (including representatives from the Matlacha Civic Association, the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire District, the Saddlewood Community — shown here as enclave 3 — along with others, have been meeting with our state elected officials to discuss our reasons for the opposition to a special act.

So far, the group has met with Representatives Adam Botana (R-District 76), Mike Giallombardo (R-District 77) and Senator Ray Rodrigues (R-District 27). Giallombardo stated that he will be submitting a bill for this special act.

The other representatives have not committed.

It’s important to note that Ray Rodrigues is NOT seeking re-election, so he will not have an opportunity to introduce a bill in the Senate during the 2023 session.

Mikes said that the most recent map of the areas under the Cape’s wish for Annexation by Special Act no longer includes Saddlewood Farms.

Mikes and Helen both reiterated how important it is for resident to express their opposition to these annexations, which potentially affect the Water District’s budget.

  • Find template letters to help you write to your representatives and more information on the Water District’s efforts here

It’s also important to note that the Water District has made significant capital outlays to services these areas that are within their district (as required). Additionally, Matlacha-Pine Island residents will have to make up for any revenues lost if these enclave parcels are later serviced by Cape Coral, as would be the eventuality if Cape Coral takes them over.

Then Helen provided an overview of the incorporation process — the steps a community must go through and the requirements a community must meet before it can become it’s own city.

  • View the powerpoint presentation here

Helen also discussed the things that GPICA has done in the past (including initiating the development of a feasibility study and creating a draft charter — more info here and here), the reasons why the GPICA had stopped exploring incorporation, and the need for consensus — without divisiveness — required in order to move forward with incorporation in order to be successful.

While meeting attendees had a variety of important questions — including the financial viability of incorporating, specifics about the process, the history of incorporation efforts on the Islands, why the GPICA isn’t moving faster for incorporation and what next steps could be taken — they seemed in concert in support of updating the feasibility study to update the financial information to gain a better picture of whether incorporation makes sense for the community.

No formal vote was taken, but Helen stated that the GPICA will continue to seek additional input from Matlacha-Pine Island residents and that the GPICA Board would meet the following week (July 13, 2022) to further discuss the issue and decide next steps.

Connie then pulled the 50/50 raffle ticket and awarded the money to a new member.

Mike Sweeney made a motion to adjourn, it was seconded by Deb Swisher-Hicks and the meeting adjourned at about 8:20 p.m.

—Minutes respectfully submitted by GPICA Vice President Nadine Slimak

Minutes approved by membership at the August 2022 meeting.

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