JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, Director of Government Relations
ERICA FISH, Public Policy Intern
ERICA FISH, Public Policy Intern
Naples City Council reiterated its commitment to Naples Bay, voting unanimously on Sept. 15 to reaffirm and readopt the city’s fertilizer ordinance.
Gregg Strakaluse, the city’s streets and stormwater director, provided City Council with an overview of the ordinance, explaining how the use of fertilizer impacts the area’s water quality. First put in place in 2019, the updated ordinance specifically targets regulating toxins in runoff, water pollutants, and how close fertilizer can be used near a water source.
Strakaluse said Naples Bay has identified as a water body that was impaired, which means it has not met state water quality standards due to nutrient pollution. According to a staff report, Naples Bay has been listed as an impaired waterbody in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
So, what does this mean for the area?
Any recycled water used for irrigation, which already contains all needed nutrients, does not need additional fertilizer applications. Additionally, all fertilizer applications should be granular; phosphorus elements aren’t allowed unless explicit circumstances are listed by the city; and no fertilizer use is allowed within 10 feet of a water source.
Any damage that can be reversed or reach a level of improvement for the surrounding habitats is an essential consideration for Naples because the city council has the authority to regulate the code, making it more restrictive than that of Florida’s code on fertilizer.
The ordinance will remain in effect through the end of September, as rainy season continues. During this time, the city asks that no fertilizer be used and to refer to their additional information regarding application, management, overuse and misuse.
For more information on the city’s fertilizer ordinance, visit www.naplesgov.com/fertilizer.
GUEST CONTRIBUTER, SUNSHINE ACE HARDWARE
Sunshine Ace Hardware has had amazing success with interns, particularly those recommended by the Greater Naples Chamber. They have always been professional, smart and energetic. This year’s intern Annie Stockham was no exception.
Alex Breault at the Chamber has been a great resource for talented intern candidates. “Alex has always brought us top quality talent for our intern program. One hundred percent of the time we have been sad for our interns to return to school. They have delivered so much value to our business and become great teammates” said Scott Hamblen, Sunshine Ace Hardware’s Chief Merchandising Officer.
Annie is currently a University of Florida student who is majoring in Economics with a minor in Business Administration. She plans to graduate in December and continue her education in graduate school. “I initially thought I wanted to work in data analytics; however, Sunshine exposed me to so many different aspects of their business. I really found that I had an interest and talent in marketing which will help me with my future education and career” said Annie.
Sunshine Ace Hardware has utilized interns from the Naples Chamber in the Support Office that supports their 12 stores from Marco Island to Tampa. “The interns have helped us with data management, sales analysis, creating our company newsletter, developing in-store signs, implementing marketing campaigns and supporting our great employee engagement activities like our Team Appreciation Week event.”
“Sunshine would definitely recommend Alex and the Greater Naples Chamber as a great resource for identifying interns to support your business. Alex is a great resource to help develop the next generation of leaders in Collier County as well as infuse youthful energy into a business today. It really is a win for the intern, the business and the community,” said Scott.
To learn more about the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce internship programs, contact Alex Breault.
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
With the 2022 Florida legislative session quickly approaching, two Collier County lawmakers encouraged business and community leaders to get engaged in the process early if they want to affect change.
“Don’t call any of us the night before we’re going to the floor (to vote on something) and say, ‘this sucks.’ That’s the worst thing you can do,” said Sen. Kathleen Passidomo. “If you have an issue, you can only affect change as the bill moves through the system. My suggestion: Get to us early on.”
Passidomo joined Rep. Lauren Melo for a discussion about the 2022 legislative session during Wake Up Naples on Wednesday, Sept. 1. The event, sponsored by the United Way of Collier and the Keys, was an opportunity for the lawmakers to discuss their priorities for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 11, and highlight some of their achievements from the previous session.
The pair also encouraged Southwest Florida business and community leaders to get involved in the legislative process, telling attendees to reach out to their offices with questions or concerns.
“We are all available to you,” said Melo. “A lot of times, we have so much happening. We’re trying to drink from a firehose when we’re up there, and we need boots on the ground back here to tell us ‘this doesn’t work for us,’ ‘please be aware,’ ‘let’s make some changes’ and ‘let’s talk about this.’”
Passidomo and Melo said they once again expect water quality, education and housing to be hot topics when lawmakers convene for their annual 60-day session.
“We need to be really careful and strategic in our wastewater treatment projects across the state. It’s a huge problem,” said Passidomo. “We can put money into water projects, but with more and more people moving to Florida we have more and more septic systems; we have more and more people using our sewage treatment plants. One of the things I’ve learned – and I’m going to work with my partner in the House, Rep. Paul Renner, who will be Speaker when I’m Senate President – is holding local government accountable for what they do with their sewer plants, because we read all the time about failures of plants. We can’t allow that. That’s going to be a big focus.”
Florida lawmakers this year voted to change the way documentary stamp revenue was distributed, allocating a portion of the revenues to the state’s water protection and sustainability trust fund, which would be used for a wastewater grant program, and to the state’s newly created Resilient Florida program, aimed at addressing sea level rise.
While the decision meant more monies would be available for environmental changes, the shift meant a reduction in available dollars for state and local housing trust funds. The legislation, which was signed into law earlier this year, also prohibit lawmakers from transferring local and state housing trust funds to the general fund.
Passidomo and Melo both said they understand the need for affordable, workforce housing, and said they expect it will continue to be a topic of conversation during the upcoming legislative session – and beyond.
The pair also discussed a proposal to build a state veterans nursing home in Collier County, something they both supported.
“I am a Blue Star mom. My son is an Army combat veteran, his last deployment was Afghanistan at Bagram,” said Melo. “I very much support any issues for veterans.”
Collier County was one of the top-ranked counties the last time the state discussed building a veterans nursing home, but lost out because of the location. The county is currently proposing building a facility on county-owned property near Golden Gate Parkway and Collier Boulevard, using $30 million from the local option sales surtax toward the state’s share of construction costs.
“The site that Collier selected is ideal,” said Passidomo. “I feel hopeful that it will happen.”
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