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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Actually Doing Something for the Environment

Some "environmental" organizations are merely political. Others say a lot, do much arm waving and posturing, but rarely take on a cause. And yet others act seemingly by happenstance.

Regrettably we have seen too many of these outfits when it comes to Marco Island.

It is a welcomed act when the City Council of Marco Island voted unanimously to abate the City's portion of the cistern conversion fee, and penned a letter to the Collier County Health Department asking them to do the same. CLICK HERE FOR THE LETTER.

This effort was spearheaded by Councilor Kiester, for which we are grateful.

As a reminder, it is unquestionable that a cistern-from-septic saves an appreciable amount of water by each house.

Following up on the letter, this week this blog spoke with the County Department of Health and again asked that the county's fee/tax for cistern conversion also be abated.

Here is our follow-up email to the conversation;

dear councilors kiester, recker & forcht,

i had the pleasure today to speak w/ dr. craig who, along with her team at the dept. of health here in collier, was kind enough to explain the details of the locally-imposed cistern fee. if you will recall, that fee is $295, and under your authority you had directed the city manager to send a letter asking that said fee be abated. dr. craig delineated all of the elements of that fee and how, with the exception of a $50 state fee, how these elements in effect cover actual expenses.

i expressed to dr. craig that all parties desirous in conserving water and being genuine stewards of our environment need to have a stake in each and every opportunity to conserve water and to protect the environment irrespective how small it may seem to some. namely, we all need to have 'skin in the game' each and every time we can. we have already proven that cistern use saves an appreciable amount of water per house ergo this is one of those opportunities.

we citizens have a major stake in the cistern-conversion process - in part upwards of $2,200. the city of marco island city council showed their leadership, seriousness and commitment to protecting the environment by unanimously voting to abate the fee for cistern conversion imposed by the city - hence the city has a stake. on behalf of the citizens of marco island, today i simply asked the local department of health to do the same and follow the lead of this city council - and in this case abate their portion of the $295 (which is $245).

dr. craig promised me that she would look into the possibility next week.
i want to again thank dr. craig and her team for their genuine interest, speaking with me, and for considering our request.
thank you.

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\ mario sánchez, m.s., ph.d. /
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And here is Councilor Kiester's own initiative as a true steward of our precious environment;

Mario,

Thanks for the update on your negotiations with the County Health Department. Also thank you for spear-heading the septic-to-cistern opportunity for hopefully all the citizens of Collier County. As a retired urban & regional planner, I am well-versed on the need to conserve potable water everywhere, but especially in Southwest Florida. We already have had water shortages which has required the water management district to impose restrictions on the watering of lawns the last several years. That is why I am personally pushing for allowing permeable driveways on Marco (similar to Sanibel) which our current code does not allow.

As Marco’s elected representative to the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (currently vice-chair), I intend to bring this issue to the attention of my fellow city and county commissioners so that other counties can enjoy the benefits of this opportunity should they wish to follow Collier County’s lead.

Last, but certainly not least, I thank the Collier County Department of Health for considering the reduction of fees so as to encourage the conversion as has the Marco City Council.

Chuck Kiester
Marco Island City Councilor


The City of Marco Island city council actually did something for the environment. We call on the Collier County Department of Health to do the same. Additionally, we call for those local, regional and national private, public and pan-public organizations that claim to be for the environment to petition the Collier County Health Department for the cistern fee/tax to be abated.

In essence, we are asking for those who claim to be for the environment, to put "skin in the game" and actually do something for the environment.

And the citizens can help too - a simple email to the Department of Health will go a long way.

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