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City approves terms of lease for Ford’s Boathouse

August 28, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

It was a night in which a lot of things were changed around by City Council. Many items set to the back of the meeting were brought forward earlier in anticipation of the fire assessment vote.

Rather than leave many people to linger until late at night, council moved to bring three items forward during Monday's regular meeting at City Hall.

Council voted unanimously to approve the lease for Ford's Boathouse, which would allow it to move into the home of the former K-C's River Stop at the Yacht Club.

The terms, described by the city's Financial Director Victoria Bateman, will be a five-year lease with three five-year options. Rent will be $3,500 per month, with the city getting a small percentage of Ford's profits.

"The more successful they are, the more money we have," Bateman said.

The hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with the option of extending hours on the weekends after six months.

The thought of late hours in an area where homes sit just a few hundred feet away brought pause to some on council. Chris Chulakes-Leetz was especially concerned.

"Places that close at 10 p.m. tend to have hang-arounds. K-C's had no problem with closing an hour after sunset," Chulakes-Leetz said. "Lease language of 9 p.m. assures people that there will not be noise."

Zak Kearns, owner of Ford's, said he would make sure late noise was at a minimum, with last calls and acoustic entertainment.

In other business, the Budget Review Committee made its presentation of the 2014 city budget. In it, it affirmed City Manager John Szerlag's budgetary concepts and included a few suggestions which would take a larger burden off the people in the city.

Among them was to encourage the BOCC to consider a referendum dealing with the Local Government Infrastructure Surtax that would raise the local sales tax by one-half to 1 percent, evaluate fees and increase them if feasible, and to ensure the city is getting its equal share of incentives from the Horizon Council.

Council also discussed a new state law that could affect the city's charter school system.

The new law states that an employee at a charter school, or spouse, or an employee of the charter management organization, or spouse, could not be a member of the governing board of the charter school.

Currently, the city is in violation of the law, with two governing board members who have spouses employed by the system.

Cape Charter Schools Superintendent Angels Pruitt met with the council, concerned over the negative repercussions the system would face if the issue were not addressed.

Chulakes-Leetz said the law was the law and that action should be taken at once.

"Inaction would be in violation of the law. It would put them and your leadership at risk," Chulakes-Leetz warned.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail wanted a second opinion.

"The state has had difficulty differentiating between for-profit charter schools and municipal ones. We have among the largest systems in the state and we always get lumped together," McGrail said.

The city voted unanimously to request the city attorney's office to draft a request for the state attorney general to give a legal opinion on the law.

The council also voted to hire Pearl Taylor as the mayor's executive assistant to replace Kelley Fernandez, who left to become the assistant city clerk.

 
 

 

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