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GOVERNMENT LIAISON                                    John Miller, 941-276-5570,

         It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this article. Ray Rose had faithfully written this column for the last 12 years. Ray
         was one of the pillars of our organization and is irreplaceable. I miss him, we all miss him!

         I will strive to keep you as informed of the government events of our city and because the Commentator only comes out
         once a month, I will also use email blasts if something important comes up.

         It has been a busy early fall this year. Of course, our big event was Hurricane Irma. Fortunately it was not a direct hit on
         Punta Gorda and debris pick up will be completed by October 13. The main issue for us will be failed seawalls. We have
         15 miles of seawalls that will have to be replaced. The city is busy contracting for additional venders so the work can be
         completed in a 12 to 24-month time frame. The cost will be at least $25 million and the City is working with FEMA to pay
         for a large portion of that cost.

         City Council approved a request by Aldi to build a new store at the corner of Jones Loop Rd. and Indian Springs
         Cemetery Rd. just west of the Walmart. About the same time the City approved Walmart’s request to be annexed in the
         city limits.

         More recently the City approved rezoning 105 acres on the south side of Aqui Esta between Buttonwood Village and The
         Congregational United Church of Christ as a Planned Development Village. This will allow the developer to build 462
         condominium units in 23 separate buildings on 49 acres of that land. It will take some time to get permits in place and
         five or more years before the project is completed. The average price of these units will be $450,000.

         The conceptual plan for Ponce de Leon and the Wildlife Center was approved in September with construction starting in
         April or May of 2018. The Wildlife Center will have a beautiful new facility and the park will be reconfigured with more
         parking, a kids play area, beach and picnic areas.

         City Council approved an emergency ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the City for up to one year.
         This will allow time for the State legislators to reconsider current regulations and adopt language allowing for more local
         control of number and location of such dispensaries. Council also directed staff to look into the possibility of establishing
         a pilot program which could authorize a use in a specific location for a specified period of time to allow for gathering of
         data, monitoring of complaints, obtaining citizen feedback, etc.

         Finally, the City approved the 2018 Budget and Strategic Plan. The millage rate for the city and county will remain the
         same. It will also transition from contract water meter readers to an automated system over the next year to save money.

         If you would like more detail concerning these items or others, feel free to contact me or go to the City website,  It is a very informative and user friendly website.

           THE GIFTED GATOR BOUTIQUE                                                                         Donnie Brennan 941-575-8808

         Meet me at the fair….Our annual Craft Fair will be held on November 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I know it is something you
         won’t want to miss. Our first craft fair, which took place years ago, was organized just because we wanted something
         different to do. It was such a huge success, we decided to repeat it each year, and each year it only gets better.

                                                              While we will have our own very talented artists
                                                              participating, we’ll also have other local artists ready and

                                                              willing to show off what they do.

                                                              Remember, everything in the fair is hand-crafted and is truly
                                                              a one-of-a-kind item. So, come visit us on November 4.
                                                              Bring your wallet as I’m sure you’ll see something you’ll
                                                              want to bring home.

                                                              To try and name some of the wonderful items you’ll see at
                                                              our craft fair would do an injustice to them all, so rather than
                                                              make any attempt at describing or listing them, why not just
                                                              come and see for yourself? I know you won’t be
                                                              disappointed. Mark the date on your calendar! November 4
                                                              from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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