Additional SROs top Council agenda Monday
After kicking off its busiest time of its year this week , the Cape Coral City Council will have more than setting the millage rate cap when it meets Monday.
Facing the city is the hiring of school resource officers for its municipal charter school system as well as SROs for North Nicholas High School, Unity Charter School, and Southwest Charter Foundation, which also owns a charter school.
The SROs are a mostly unfunded mandate made by the state when it adopted the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act which requires all public schools provide a law enforcement officer on campus. The legislation passed following the shooting at the school the bill was named after in February.
“We need to have it done. Let’s get it in place. We have to recruit police officers. We’re taking officers from various units until we can get them replaced, and moving forward with it,” Councilmember John Carioscia, a retired law enforcement officer, said.
The SROs will be provided by the Cape Coral Police Dept. at a cost of about $50,000 per officer. The Lee County School System will foot the other half of the bill.
The city’s private schools are free to determine how they want to address security, Carioscia said.
These are consent items which, if not pulled, are passed.
Another consent item is the city’s application for the Florida Division of Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. The city could receive $3.55 million with a city match of $887,582 (25 percent) to help the Cape Coral Fire Department mitigate and reduce the risk loss of life and property in a future disaster.
The scope of the grant is very narrow. Eligible projects include the acquisition or relocation of hazard-prone structures, retrofitting or relocation of existing facilities, elevation of flood-prone structures, infrastructure protection, minor structure flood control and generators for important facilities.
The city has identified nine projects that meet the criteria, with the funding coming from the Utilities and All-Hazards funds.
City Council will also receive an update on the Southeast 47th Terrace Streetscape project, mostly regarding where the ornamental trees and plants are expected to go. The streetscape project, which began in January, is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The roundabout, for which construction started last month, is to be completed by the start of the school year.
Water quality is expected to again be a major issue. Last Monday complaints about landscapers reportedly dumping cut grass in the canals came up.
The Lee Board of County Commissioners will meet today to declare a local state of emergency regarding the algal bloom.
Carioscia said he has received countless e-mails from people who have had it with pea-green water, and that whatever they do may address the symptom, but not the cause, discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
“It’s one thing to have algae in your canal. It’s another to where you can’t even use your own pool because of the smell. Whatever is brought up, we will discuss,” Carioscia said. “Grass clippings are the least of our worries. It starts with Lake Okeechobee. If we don’t address the cause, we will never find a solution.”