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Council will have major makeover in March

By Staff | Nov 20, 2019

With three out of five seats up for election and all three incumbents holding those seats not seeking re-election, the Town of Fort Myers Beach Council will undergo a considerable overhaul in March.

Filing deadlines are rapidly approaching for those who may wish to fill the seats being vacated by Mayor Anita Cereceda, Councilman Bob Butcher and Councilwoman Joanne Shamp.

Cereceda’s seat is term limited while Butcher and Shamp have chosen not to run again.

Thus far, audit committee member Jim Atterholt is the lone candidate to have filed papers with the town clerk to run.

Candidates must submit petitions with at least 49 signatures from registered voters in the town by Dec. 9. The candidate must first file forms appointing a campaign treasurer and designating a campaign depository with the town clerk before collecting any signatures. Those forms can be picked up at the town clerk’s office at the Town Hall at 2525 Estero Blvd.

Butcher cited the amount of time the position takes to serve on the council between attending various meetings and preparing for them, as factors in his decision not to run. “It’s not just three meetings a month, it’s more than that,” Butcher said. “I got on the council to do a few things. The few things I’m interested in we’ve accomplished. I think we’re in good shape now.”

Butcher said he was proud of having worked to improve the town’s finances, roads and the initiation of a light study. He also cited the council’s approval of the TPI project as another accomplishment.

In a letter to the editor, Shamp stated that she was proud of her work on the town council in improving finances, working on water quality issues and short-term rental regulations. She expressed hope that more will be done to improve water quality.

“The town is standing with neighboring municipalities to improve water quality and is being an environmental steward with control of fertilizers, storm water and single use plastics. More can and should be done to continue to strictly protect our beach and island environment,” she stated.

Previous to serving on the town council, Shamp was a member of several advisory boards including the Marine Resources Task Force, the LPA, the Historic Advisory Board and the Historic Advisory Council. Camp stated that she intends to spend more of her time with her husband and on personal endeavors after her term is up.