Photo: Elected officials alongside State Senator Kathleen Passidomo (center)
By Carla (Ulakovic) Brantley
The Board of Commissioners of the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District Welcomed a full house on December 17, 2019 for its Seventh Annual Holiday Town Hall Event at the district Headquarters.
The annual event provides a forum for community members to hear from elected State Official and Lee County officials on efforts impacting Lehigh Acres, Featured guests: Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples/Lehigh Acres); Commissioner Cecil L Pendergrass, District 2, Lee County BOCC; Commissioner Ray Sandelli, District 3, Lee County BOCC; Commissioner Brian Hamman, District 4, Lee County BOCC and Numerous Other Elected Officials.
The Municipal District is a multi-county, multifaceted Chapter 189 Special District Agency. From roads and bridges, to a storm-water management system, to parks and passive recreation, to community projects, the Board of Commissioners guides the agency towards continuous progress-making it the vehicle for the future of Lehigh Acres.
The agency is governed by a five-member, publicly elected board; Michael Bonacolta, Chairman; Katyna Hoover; Vice-Chair; Ken Thompson, Treasurer; Julie Camp; Secretary; Michael Welch, Emergency Operations Director and Coordinator.
“The seventh annual holiday town hall event had wonderful turnout. The event is important to our community as it provides residents a more centralized venue to hear from their elected officials,” noted Michael Welch, Municipal District Commissioner and Event Chair.
Commissioner Welch served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, welcoming a variety of representatives from agencies through Lee County including Cathleen of the Lee Country School Board, Therese Everly of the Lee Country Health System, and Kathy Kruse of the Lehigh Acres Fire District.
Chairman Michael Bonacolta spoke about the District’s collegiate partnerships and welcomed L.K. Nandam, District Secretary at the Florida Department of Transportation.
The Municipal District was an integral partner with FDOT on the State Road (SR) 82 widening project in Lee and Hendry Countries, providing approximately 100,000 dump truck loads of fill dirt.
Among other public improvements, the Municipal District’s stormwater management system (SWMS) including an interconnected network of canals designed to collect and convey stormwater away from adjacent properties.
An agreement between the agencies, led to improvements in the Municipal District’s Canal System that will improve stormwater management and drainage capacity and efficiency, which improvements include West Marsh Preserve Project, Hendry Extension Canal Widening Phase I Project, the Halfway Pond – Moving Water South Phase II Project, Nine Mile Canal to Panther Canal Connection, Hendry Canal Structure Modifications and other canal system improvements. The cooperative partnership led to millions of tax payer dollars SAVED, expedited schedules, enhanced capital projects and improved community aesthetics (eliminating the need for retention pods along SR82).
Mr. Nandam thanked the District for their innovation, persistence and dedication to be stewards.
Senator Kathleen Passidomo provided an overview of the efforts the area’s legislators have put forth to improve Lehigh Acres.
Commissioner Hamman noted that the Board of County Commissioners approved a $2.3 million contract for resurfacing and other improvements to improve Lehigh Acres roads.
Light refreshments were provided by Building Industry Issues of Southwest Florida, Kenneth Thompson Attorney at Law, Persson, Cohen and Mooney, P.A. Commissioner Julie Camp and 2911 Designs, and AIM Engineering and Surveying, Inc.
“The Board of Commissioners is dedicated to moving Lehigh Acres forward and making decisions that are both fiscally beneficial to our rate payers and that enhance our community. The partnership with FDOT is a prime example of good that can be achieved when agencies partner together”, said Commissioner Bonacolta.”
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