| Fort Myers News-Press
Lee County Department of Health and Lee County urge residents to get flu shot amid pandemic
They also unveiled several new vehicles that can be used as mobile testing sites for COVID-19, flu, immunizations and more. The idea is to get to the public.
Lee County is peeling another $1 million from the $135 million bankroll it was handed by the federal government to ease the impact of COVID-19 and will use it to strengthen job skills training for people who are out of work because of the pandemic.
CareerSource, operated by the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, will be reimbursed for the cost of helping people get vocational training.
“They will be training them in some of those industries that are (currently) in demand, such as health care, construction, logistics,” said Assistant County Manager Glen Salyer. “They will use existing educational programs in the county and schools such as Florida SouthWestern, vocation schools and other private training providers.”
And as adults are trained and become employable in new fields, there will be more help with child care.
The county LeeCARES program, which is not limited to families that participate in the job training program, will increase the maximum childcare assistance to $3,500 per eligible child. The limit had been $2,500.
The commission gave County Manager Roger Desjarlais the power to sign agreements with other agencies without returning to the commission for approval.
The federal CARES Act funding given to the county must be earmarked by the end of December.
Some of the newly trained residents will be readied for jobs in the construction industry, where the price of permits for new projects is also coming down.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to cut fees for permits required by the county Department of Community Development by 25%.
The county will spend $2 million in permit fees previously collected to upgrade the area in the Community Development and Public Works building where residents and contractors meet with staff to get needed permits. Office space will also be upgraded.
Even with the reduced fees and $2 million building renovation the county will still have $10 million in building permit reserves.
County officials were careful to point out that the reduction is in building permit fees only and does not mean that the hotly debated impact fees will be impacted. Developers for several years have received a discount on impact fees, assessed to offset the impact of development on local government services.
Commission honors Manning on retirement
After spending nearly a quarter century in two stretches as a member of the Board of County Commissioners, John Manning is wrapping up his political career this week.
His colleagues saluted Manning as his final commission meeting began Tuesday morning with a video of commissioners commenting on Manning’s role as a longtime commissioner.
Previously: Manning to bow out in 2020
The general commission consensus was that Manning stayed clear of verbosity, understood the issues, spoke directly and to the point but only when he believed it necessary, all the while armed with a deadpan sense of humor.
Commissioner Ray Sandelli noted that he, like Manning, originally took a seat on the commission as the result of a gubernatorial appointment to fill a vacancy. In Manning’s case, however, he served a 13-year stretch and returned a decade later.
“I think that’s a real testament to your leadership and to the insight that people had into you and how you care about the people of Lee County,” Sandelli said.
Commissioner Frank Mann, nestled at at the opposite end of the rhetorical spectrum from the taciturn New Englander, lavished his own praise.
“You have been very valuable. My gosh, what you brought to Lee County is going to last forever and we will be forever grateful,” Mann said.
The presentation also included a representative of the Florida Association of Counties saluting Manning for work in getting the state to pick up its share of the cost of operating county courthouses.
A Massachusetts native and graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Manning, 70, said his plans for retirement include an earlier getaway to his summer home on Cape Cod instead of having to wait for the commission’s annual July vacation.
Manning saluted he county staff for making it easy “for me to do the things I have done over the years. It has been spectacular.”