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Golden Gate Estates residents relieved county will take over water service

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 07:16:47-05

An empty Publix sits on a lot at Immokalee Road and Randall Boulevard in Collier County, brand new and waiting for water service.

"The fact that we can't get water service is mind-boggling," said nearby resident Philip McHenry.

McHenry would like to be able to use the supermarket, and said other Golden Gate Estates facilities have been off-limits due to lack of water service from the Orange Tree Utility Company.

"The Corkscrew Island Park and our current development that recently received a new clubhouse, we can't use any of these facilities," McHenry said.

"For the customers of the system, it's been more than frustrating," said Anthony Solomon, whose company the Ronto Group owns numerous properties in the Orangetree area.

"It's very difficult just to get things done," Solomon said. "They're a small operation."

At Tuesday's Collier County Commission meeting, Solomon urged commissioners to have the county take over water service for the area from Orange Tree Utility Company. The company has resisted those efforts since 2013.

Bruce Anderson, an attorney for Orange Tree, went before commissioners Tuesday to iron out some sticking points of the deal. Commissioners then voted to complete the take-over by March 1.

"This is a great deal for the county," Anderson said. "You're getting free waste-water and water plants."

Solomon applauded the move.

"This needed to happen a while ago, and it's great to see the county commission and the staff worked hard to get it accomplished today," he said.

"We can see Publix operational soon," said County Commissioner William McDaniel.