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Cape-Coral-Daily-Breeze.com - Cape Coral, FL
July 24, 2010

Mayor's town hall meeting draws crowd

By MCKENZIE CASSIDY

Nearly 100 residents attended Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan's town hall meeting Saturday morning.

The mayor fielded questions on a number of city issues and addressed concerns about business with MWH Constructors, utilities within the city, the swim center proposal, the recent hiring of City Manager Gary King and taxes.

Sullivan said he is concerned with MWH's billing practices and ethics complaints, and his efforts are on rehiring Michael Kessler, president and CEO of Kessler International, a forensic accounting firm that investigates computer records and corporations.

Further, he wants the city to have access to MWH's financial records which he says hasn't been granted up to this point.

"If anything wasn't wrong, why won't they show us the records?" he asked.

Sullivan also explained why city council voted against the construction of an Olympic swim complex through the National Swim Center Corporation (NSCC). Specifically, that $20 million the company claimed to possess from investors didn't exist, and that it would cost an initial $5 million from the city for improvements and utilities, $22 million for the complex and Lee County would need to contribute $10 million.

He also disagreed with a plan forwarded by city staff to use $11 million from storm water funds and $7.9 million from transportation funds to help make the swim complex a reality.

"It was a hard vote. We stopped it because it didn't make sense and felt it was a rip-off," said Sullivan.

Cape Coral City Manager Gary King attended the town hall meeting, as well as some members of city council, but Sullivan said he wouldn't address the issue of King's hiring.

"I am not going to talk about Mr. King, that is a done deal," he said, adding that he wishes King luck in the position.

A number of residents asked the mayor when the city's utility expansion process would commence and how much it would cost, while some living in the SW 4 region of the city are troubled by increases in utility rates.

Specifically, they wanted to know when other parts of the city would have to shoulder the cost of utilities.

Sullivan didn't have date for the start of the utility project and said "It is impossible to say right now what the prices will be," but added that he doesn't want to increase taxes and is even considering a forensic audit of all the city's financial records.


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