Advisory committees within the jurisdiction of the Town of Fort Myers Beach will officially face changes that will "loosen" requirements and "clean up loose ends" in a Town document.
During a public hearing Monday evening, the Beach Council unanimously approved to adopt an ordinance to make amendments and allow more uniformity in policies and procedures that govern the Town committees. The changed criteria involve term of office, term limits, minimum number of meetings, quorum requirements and qualification of members.
Before the hearing, Town Attorney Marilyn Miller was directed to review any ordinances that regulate advisory committees, then suggest amendments for consistency reasons.
"I had done a spread sheet showing what the differences were in membership meetings requirements for various Town committees," she said. "It was Town Council's direction that I try to make all the criteria the same. (The amended ordinance) also cleaned up some items, because we no longer have a Traffic Mitigation Agency or a Times Square Advisory Council. It repeals that."
The ordinance to amend code relating to advisory committees was introduced at the March 4 Council meeting and a public hearing was set for Monday.
The discussion to "open up" Town advisory committees began back in early December 2012, when Beach Councilman Dan Andre asked about criteria during a meeting.
Andre made suggestions regarding participation on the volunteer boards, particularly the Marine Resources Task Force, which had to disband due to insufficient participation. His request was to expand the area to the full 33931 zone rather than just residents of Beach proper. That would allow more volunteers to become active in committees.
The suggestions were discussed further as a Council workshop agenda item in early January.
Ted Schindler, a resident of Siesta Isles just a mile off Beach, has tried to volunteer on either MRTF or the Anchorage Advisory Committee for years, but did not meet qualification requirements due to the location of his residence. He voiced his opinion during public comment before the issue went to a vote.
"I would hope that you recognize that there is some new blood out there that wants to volunteer. I think to limit it to the island is the wrong thing," he said.
Schindler, a Beach fire commissioner, has enjoyed the waterways around Fort Myers Beach and wants to have input on cleaning up the Back Bay and surrounding water.
"I think you will have a plethora of volunteers if you do pass this," he said.
Council appoints MRTF volunteers
Two members of the Beach area community were appointed to the Marine Resources Task Force.
Council approved the appointments of Peter Pin and Cristina Denegre to fill the final two slots on MRTF, a Town advisory board that promotes stewardship of the area's marine resources. The committee was disbanded until the appointments became approved.