Fort Myers Beach residents packed town hall Monday afternoon as council members discussed implementing a controversial stormwater utility fee. Many of the attendees were residents of the Beach Bay community on the south end of Estero Island, who are already paying for their own stormwater treatment system.
"They're required to handle all their stormwater on site," said Michael Ciccarone, an attorney representing Beach Bay residents. He said they were concerned that they would be asked to pay for a utility fee that they wouldn't benefit from.
"It would be like me charging you a water bill, and I don't provide any water," Ciccarone said. "You wouldn't think that's fair."
Council members say that a fee is necessary to pay off a $2 million debt for an ongoing project to deal with the stormwater on the side streets of Fort Myers Beach. Earlier in the month, the fee was proposed at $26.50 per month for all residents.
But at Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Anita Cereceda proposed an amended fee of $19.98. She also suggested exempting Beach Bay residents from the utility fee, since that community is already required to treat their runoff before it drains into other bodies of water.
Council is expected to make a final decision on the stormwater utility fee at their next meeting on February 16.