By Commissioner Brian Hamman
One million full-time residents. It’s a reality that will happen in Lee County in the not too distant future. Census projections have us reaching this milestone around the year 2040, however it is likely to occur sooner than that. The good news is that your County Commissioners are planning for this and taking the steps necessary to be able to expand our services to meet this growth in population.
You may be hearing reports about deficit spending and budget cuts at the federal and state levels of government. I can ensure you that here at home your Board of County Commissioners have remained diligent in producing a budget that is financially strong and focuses on keeping our major projects on track.
Because of this conservative approach, we have been able to fund major road projects like the widening of Homestead Road, which wrapped up last year. The wider and safer roadway also features new drainage, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes in both directions. The County also remains committed to repaving the 1,500 miles of roads that we maintain in Lehigh Acres. Commissioners upped their annual road paving commitment in Lehigh from $1 million to $5 million per year. Through this initiative, the county will be targeting 300 different streets to address the growing number of concerns that residents have relayed to us.
Another concern to residents was how dangerous State Road 82 was becoming. That growing concern is what lead the Board of County Commissioners to push the State of Florida to accelerate the widening by several years to ensure that the thousands of commuters traveling that road every day can do so knowing it will be safe. Now that the project is complete, we will continue to work with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol to ensure that drivers are travelling along the road in a safe manner.
One of the main responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners is to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. That responsibility was never more important than during the pandemic. One of the main issues we have recently encountered is an increase in people being affected by homelessness. In an effort to combat this emerging crisis, Commissioners recently committed $2 million to quickly house families living on the street. Our family sheltering program will help 69 households, including 147 children, move from the street into a hotel room and provide them wrap-around services to help them eventually attain employment and permanent housing.
Through a combination of good money management and sticking to our conservative principles, we can ensure that the entire county has the tools necessary to take advantage of our growing population and that Lee County remains a destination of choice for businesses and visitors. I am confident that we will continue to meet future challenges head-on and I promise that the steady leadership you have come to expect from your local elected officials will also continue. I am honored to serve as one of your County Commissioners, and if I can ever be of service please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (239) 533-2226.