Lee commissioners vote to give company more funds for Irma clean up

Published: Updated:
Chris Grisby / WINK

Homeowners in San Carlos Park expressed their frustration with a company receiving additional funds to repair and clean up debris after after Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida.

“We lost the vote and they’re getting paid an extra million dollars for doing a job that’s not finished,” said San Carlos Park Joe DeStefano.

Lee County commissioners voted 4-1 to give Daniels Tree Service more money for the work they did earlier this year.

“We gave an estimated amount in the beginning not knowing how much actual debris was in the waterways,” said Roland Ottolini, Director of Lee County Natural Resources.

It cost taxpayers more than $2.5 million, upsetting many people in San Carlos Park as well as the county chairman.

“The work is not done and I would not vote for that contract unless everything has been fixed in the area and all the damage they caused to the residents,” said Cecil Pendergrass, Lee County Commissioner.

“The county is not doing the right thing by giving them a bonus for doing their work but they still haven’t finished the clean up work,” DeStefano said.

The county said its holding $190,000 from Daniels Tree Service until all the clean up and repairs are complete

But is that retainainer enough to compensate everything?

“Again, they’re contracted to a cubic yards removed from the creeks, streams and ditches so they got paid for amount they removed,” Ottolini said.

But some of the debris removed has been sitting for months.

“It’s worse that what Irma left,” said San Carlos Park resident Lynn Crain.

DeStefano has a message for those in charge.

“Don’t forget about us people, we are the ones that vote you in November,” DeStefano said. “We want to be taken care of the right way. That’s the way we feel.”

The county said they’re meeting with Daniels Tree Service in the coming weeks to establish a deadline for homeowner repairs.

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