Letter From Dee Sulick – Blessed in Naples

Dear City of Naples Residents,

We are all blessed to live in this vibrant community, it was my honor to serve as your Council Member and Vice Mayor. My term in office (2008-2016) gives me unique perspective on the candidates now running for Mayor. Several important issues have boiled to the surface during the campaign season. Having worked with both candidates, may I offer some perspective.

September 2008, was the tipping point that devolved into a world wide fiscal crisis. Immediate steps were taken, we assessed and prioritized every City department: downsized staff, cut programs, trimmed the budget by 25% over the next year. Tight budgets became the norm for several years. Strategic planning became imperative.

City planning rules/codes have evolved over the past 25 years. Council has used visioning processes, resident input meetings, expert reports (Duany & Green) reports and traffic engineering studies. The population of the City has remained essentially the same, however County impacts on City services, roads, and amenities is a constant challenge.


#1 – Prior to 2008 we experienced deep drought conditions putting stress on drinking water supply. Analysis showed the expansion of our re-use water system would be the best way of address this issue. Acceptance and expansion of the system rested with providing a sustainable re-use supply. The City working with the local authority Southwest Florida Water Management District, initiating a deep Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) wells project. ASR wells store treated runoff collected from the summer rains.

A companion project – building a weir that collects excess outflow from the Golden Gate Canal (single greatest contributor to Naples Bay pollution ). Daily the City now captures millions of gallons, piping, treating and injecting water into ASR wells. Providing the City a sustainable program that within a very short time reduced the gallons used per person/per day by nearly 50%, addressing community potable water needs well into the future.

#2 – The Council under Mayor Barnett did an analysis of Naples Bay outlets, leading to our City Lake Identification and restoration program. Property ownership needed to be established to determine maintenance responsibility, as taxpayer funds cannot be spent on private property. Immediate steps were taken to rectify the City Lakes and outreach to the Private Lake Associations has been on going.

#3 – The City of Naples has undertaken extensive restoration of oyster beds within Naples Bay.

#4 – The City vigorously supported the joint “Reef Project” an effort by private individuals, City of Naples, Marco Island, Collier County directing BP funds to establish several artificial reefs off our coastline.

We value our City employees – protecting their pensions was a priority.
Identified as one of the ballooning Budget items (2009-2010), the City working cooperatively with the employees and their unions undertook a comprehensive actuarial analysis of its pension plans. The result: saving City tax dollars – reduced more than $150 million of unfunded liabilities over a thirty year period.

Recognized as a constantly increasing fiscal concern is Health Care cost. Working with HR and our Healthcare Provider the City crafted a program that had greater emphasis on “Wellness” and pro-active management of individual health.

Tenth Street Stormwater Improvements
Reconstruction of the City Dock
Construction of the 6th Avenue Parking Garage
Construction of Fire House #1 – now a hardened facility that meets FEMA code.
Acquisition of land, design/planning/construction of Baker Park & Bridge.

The above issues/projects only scratch the surface of Mayor Barnett’s accomplishments over the years. May I suggest voters go to www.naplesgov.com, particularly easy to read 2018/19 Annual Report:
“WE ARE NAPLES” to understand how the City works to enhance our lives

I believe that Leadership is earned in good times and is tested in difficult times. Bill Barnett has led Naples through challenges (Hurricane Irma) and shared the City’s accomplishments (Baker Park). He builds consensus, charts a steady course, understanding the character that makes Naples a special place, we proudly call home.


Margaret Sulick

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