Smart Growth and Infrastructure
Growing at about 10% a year, smart growth is one of the most important issues we face today. When the city was originally planned, land developers laid out thousands of quarter-acre home sites spread all across our 120 square miles. Property owners have the right to build on their property at any time. This random patchwork of growth presents challenges in paving and maintaining roads, as well as in getting utilities and services to people scattered far and wide. Even more challenging, the city’s developers left us woefully short of large pieces of land for commercial development. I support continued expansion of utilities into the northern areas of our city and taking advantage of opportunities and efforts to plan for and manage growth.
Strengthen Business Growth
Over the past four years, Cape Coral has made good progress in enticing new commercial development and businesses with good paying jobs into the area. More commerce in Cape Coral will help diversity the tax burden primarily carried by homeowners today. I bring years of hands-on city leadership and experience to the table, along with the common sense needed to address the opportunities ahead. I support our small business owners and want us to continue to look for even more opportunities to be business-friendly and entice commercial development.
With more than 400 miles of canals, I have long known that good water quality and a clean environment are vital to Cape Coral’s future. I was chosen as a stakeholder in the two-year Northwest Spreader Ecosystem Management Agreement Study that researched the science and recommended ways to ensure the quality of our water and environment would be preserved for future generations. I will always work toward clean water and be a good steward of our environment.
We now have two large waterfront projects developing in Cape Coral that have the potential to become Cape Coral’s crown jewels—Bimini Basin and the Seven Islands. Both of these future developments could be great destinations for the enjoyment of our residents and visitors, with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. Critical planning work has begun that will help us attract developers who can bring our vision to fruition. I support these projects if they can be brought forward without substantial cost to taxpayers. I invite you to learn more about them and work with us as they evolve in this next term!
I’m especially proud that our City Police and Fire Departments are ranked among the best in Florida. We are rated as the “second safest city in Florida” and could easily rank #1 if we would all just lock our car doors and close our garage doors. We must all do our part to discourage crime.
Employees made concessions and worked without pay and benefit increases for years during the recession to enable the city to continue operating. City Council was able to gradually bring city employees’ pay up to more competitive standards as we recovered from the recession. I’m proud we were able to restore some of the lost compensation to show our appreciation for our employees’ years of sacrifices. Supporting city employees and public safety personnel is a very high priority for me.
As a 22-year Navy veteran involved in many veterans groups, I’m proud our city that supports veterans in many ways. One new initiative I brought forward was to provide temporary hotel arrangements for homeless veterans to stay while other, more permanent resources are identified and implemented. I will continue to support our area veterans.
Our current City Council has reduced the millage rate on property taxes for the past three years. As the economy improves, so does the value of our homes and properties upon which ad valorem taxes are based. By reducing the ad valorem millage rate, we have been able to ease what would have been a much higher tax burden on property owners. I have always been a fiscal conservative and strongly believe in living within our means. I will support continuing tax rate reductions and tax resource diversity to secure our tomorrows in the event another recession engulfs us.
We need to get LCEC back to the negotiating table so that we can successfully conclude renegotiations of the franchise agreement for a fair and mutually beneficial agreement. I do not support the city’s purchase of LCEC’s assets at this time.
Quality of Life – Planning our Future
I initiated and am leading our new “Youth Council,” made up of Cape Coral’s brightest and most promising junior and senior high school students. I felt it was important to directly involve our youth in bringing forth City projects and opportunities for our young people. They’re off to a good start and I’m excited to be able to continue to work with and shape our Youth Council for the future of Cape Coral.
I support finding ways to solve our lack of affordable homes in Cape Coral that meet the needs of our teachers, public safety personnel, seniors, and many others. We need quality homes that our working people and retirees can take pride in and live comfortable lives.
The City of Cape Coral has completed a “Master Parks Plan” with resident support and input. We will start implementing it as money becomes available. Fortunately, we have been able to obtain grant money from the state and federal governments to help with this endeavor. Every year we apply for grants and we will continue to look for more possibilities.
I would be honored to have your vote on November 7. I have been actively involved in leadership roles in Cape Coral and Lee County for 13 years, long before I was first elected! Trust my voice of experience, reason and common sense to continue to make good choices on your behalf for the future of Cape Coral.
Re-elect Rick Williams for Cape Coral City Council, District 6 on November 7