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Incorporate Lehigh holds first town hall meeting

November 8, 2017
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The first Incorporate Lehigh meeting was held at Lehigh Senior High School on Nov. 4.

The main goal of the meeting was to discuss the various committees and their functions, as well as gain more community involvement.

The meeting opened with comments from the attendees, many of which had questions surrounding the benefits of incorporating.

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The first Incorporate Lehigh meeting was held at Lehigh Acres Senior High school on Nov. 4.

Incorporate Lehigh President Joan Cunningham led the meeting.

"There are a lot of steps in the incorporation process. That's why we need the whole community to be involved. Today we are going to go over the various ways people can help," Cunningham said.

Lehigh Acres Community Council President Rick Anglickis then took the floor to talk about the feasibility study.

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"The goal of a feasibility study is to go over the financials of a proposed city. Can it handle incorporation? Not only during the first year, but five years down the road?" Anglickis asked.

According to Anglickis, BJM Consulting will perform the feasibility study. The group was responsible for preforming studies on present cities, including Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs.

"In total, they are responsible for conducting more than 16 studies," Anglickis said.

According to Anglickis each committee is important in the process. They will communicate the needs within each area to BJM to help them determine the financials.

Damon Shelor, executive director of the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres, spoke on behalf of the Boundaries Committee and stressed the importance of defining Lehigh's boundaries.

"Because we have limited commercial space, we really need to look at ways we can improve our tax base. Lehigh Acres needs more major department stores and businesses," Shelor said.

Another committee that will play an important role in the assessment process is a Special Taxing District. Mohamed Yasin, the head of the committee, pointed out the need to investigate the interactions between the special taxing districts that residents currently pay.

Lehigh Acres Community Council Member Diane Zigrossi is heading up the City Services Committee for Incorporate Lehigh.

"This committee will look at things such as what type of services we need, and whether to keep them under our city's management. To do this, we need to look at other cities to see what works and where there is room for improvement," Zigrossi said.

Theresa Park, who is overseeing the City Government Committee, went over the options for the proposed city's leadership.

"Under this committee, we are looking at everything from what do we want to call our city, as well as what our city's government will look like," Park said.

According to Anglickis, the feasibility study is the first step in the process. The next step is to have an attorney draw up a charter that will spell out the legal powers of the new city. Once both are completed, the two legal items will go to Tallahassee for a vote.

A few of the attendees had questions as to why past incorporation attempts never made it to fruition.

"Other incorporation attempts have failed mainly due to a lack (of) information provided to the public. We can be successful be educating the public and letting them stay involved," Cunningham said.

According to Cunningham, Incorporate Lehigh will conduct a town hall meeting once a month.

Other committees and heads include political consultant Steve Hunt, who is in charge of the Campaign Committee, and Diane Turrill, who is working on the Fundraising Committee.

For more information on upcoming meetings or fundraising events, visit

Lehigh Senior High School is at 901 Gunnery Road.



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