Fewer voices could represent Cape Coral neighborhoods, communities

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Fewer voices are being heard about Cape Coral neighborhood issues, like whether to put food trucks and a bar in a city park that backs up to homes.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is one of nine that could get eliminated.

All nine committees and boards not required by the state are potentially at risk. It includes the Budget Review Committee, Cape Competes, and Youth Council, to name but a few. Members of the City Council, including the Mayor, pointed to the budget review committee, saying the council rarely follows their recommendations.

The Mayor said that the board is more of an oversight rather than an advisory committee.

There are 19 committees and boards that exist in Cape Coral. Ten are required under Florida statutes, but the rest are at the mercy of the Cape Coral City Council.

“It will be a slap in the face to the volunteers. Instead of ‘thank you for your service,’ it’s ‘sit down, shut up, we don’t want or need your input,'” a speaker at the meeting said.

Wednesday, people spoke out in favor of one particular board, the Budget Review Committee.

“It’s all volunteer. It’s all based on qualifications that they select us. And then we’re actually working for them. We’re actually there to help them do their job better,” Tom Shadrach, the Chair of the Budget Review Committee, said.

“The fact that there are boards there and you get to be appointed, you get to ask to be appointed to a board, and you get to be involved shows the regular residents that there is engagement by the community. And that’s a good sign,” Shadrach said.

Shadrach feels it would be a mistake to eliminate them. He said their recommendations have saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is one that council will discuss. It comes at a time when some big changes could potentially come to popular Jaycee Park.

Some like the idea of an advisory board. Those who like the idea see it as another way their voice can be heard.

“One voice means a lot, right? Or you got to get more voice just to try to make it happen, I guess,” a person at Jaycee Park said.

Others feel they can represent their own voices and don’t need advisory councils to speak on their behalf.

“Just show up to the council meetings, and you know, people speak their mind,” a person at Jaycee Park said.

However it unfolds, people don’t want to lose their voice in matters affecting their lives.

Cape Coral City Council was expected to discuss the boards and committees and possibly vote Wednesday night. However, the item was pulled from the agenda. It’s not expected to be discussed in June at City Hall.

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