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Monday, March 26, 2007

The Fleecing of Marco Island

Agenda Item 7(B) passed at the march 19th City Council Meeting is what Mr. Moss hopes will be the final chapter in the Quality Enterprises Asbestos Debacle, but ultimately that will be up to all Marco Islanders. If we all sit back and allow this deal to go forward here are the consequences:

Under the Court Ordered Mediation Settlement Agreement ending the CARES lawsuit, the City agreed to demand and pursue the recovery of taxpayer dollars spent on cleaning up the asbestos on Site A & C of the Glon Property from Quality Enterprises. They also agreed to enforce certain sections of the contract with QE for the South Collier Project that would assure Marco Islanders that those responsible for contaminating our Island paid to clean it up, not the taxpayers.

In this latest attempt to shield QE from any financial responsibility this contract states “The City agrees that any and all claims against Quality associated with any expenses incurred by the City for remediation at Site A and C are satisfied, contingent upon Quality’s satisfactory performance of the activities provided in the contract” The “Contract” referred to provides the following:

Quality will pay nothing to the City to reimburse taxpayers for monies spent to date relating to the asbestos problem, over $250,000 of our tax dollars. Quality will haul the debris pile, they contaminated with asbestos, from Site A to the Collier County Landfill and charge the cost of that, estimated to be $650,000, to the City of Marco Island’s account.

The City of Marco Island already has credits in their account for materials removed from the Island relating to the North Collier Project, and will allow more material, our property, to be taken from the Island under the STRP FY-07 Contract and the value of that material will be used to offset the cost to dispose of the debris pile from Site A.

So in essence this new contract gives Quality Enterprises $900,000 taxpayer dollars to clean up the mess they made on our Island. The City will tell you that there are offsetting values we are receiving from Quality in return such as $500,000 in Cost Avoidance to provide a staging area in lieu of Site A, and $180,000 to place limestone on a future tank site, but what they aren’t saying is that these are specious arguments as there is nothing in the existing contracts that give Quality the right to charge the City for these items in the first place.

So the only question we must ask at this point is just who’s best interests are served by this latest deal between The City and QE? And it just might be time for citizens to ask our Councilors why they approved this deal?

by Butch Neylon

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