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Immokalee to talk incorporation

Posted at 10:24 PM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 06:53:17-04

Although discussions have come up about it in the past, serious talk about incorporating Immokalee have fizzled out, until now.

Danny Gonzalez, a life long resident of the eastern Collier County community is spearheading the latest effort.  "Me, as a homeowner, I don't mind paying for sidewalks, for new parks.  We've had the same parks here since I've been little," said Gonzalez, who owns Lozano's Mexican restaurant.

With a mayor and city council, Immokalee could decide on its own how to fix its infrastructure, instead of going through the county.

It could also decide whether to form a police department, rather than using the Collier County Sheriff's Office for patrols.

Many of Immokalee's residents, including Harvey Galvan, commute into Naples for work, or to go shopping.  He says incorporation would change that.  "We want it to grow, so we could have more opportunities for the kids, skating rinks, a mall, Wal-Mart."

But it's become a chicken before the egg argument, some say the tax base needs to grow first before the city goes out on its own.  "Bring more companies over here, create more jobs, and after that they can think about it," said Pierre Joseph.

Gonzalez says incorporation is about having a seat at the table when important decisions are made county-wide.  He says right now Immokalee's needs aren't being met.  "You have your voice to your commissioners, but sometimes they don't push the issue a lot."

The state legislature has final approval on whether any community can incorporate in Florida.

There will be a meeting at Lozano's to discuss the issue Wednesday morning at 8:00 am.