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A sun-drenched jewel on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island features six miles of beach, and over 100 miles of waterways within its 24 square miles.
Marco Island is the largest Barrier Island within Southwest Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, which extends from Marco Island to Cape Sable. Marco Island lies within the subtropical to tropical climate zone, and experiences a distinct wet and dry season, with most of the rainfall occurring between the months of June and October. With a permanent population of 15,000, and a peak winter season population of around 35,000, Marco Island’s residents, and visitors alike, have one name for this special Island: paradise.
The City of Marco Island is located in Collier County, a short drive south from the City of Naples. It is well known for its high quality of life, natural resources, casual atmosphere, and friendly people.
On August 28, 1997, the people of Marco Island elected to incorporate Marco Island, and become a city for the second time. (The first time the city was known as Collier City, and was incorporated in 1927, but was later unincorporated.) The first seven-member City Council was subsequently elected, with a council-manager form of government. City Council hired a city manager to assist with the task of providing traditional municipal services. With the invaluable assistance of many citizens who volunteered to serve on various committees, the structure of the City took place. The new City Council took on many issues simultaneously, including the development of a comprehensive plan, a land development code, and operating departments to include law enforcement, fire rescue, parks and recreation, public works, community development, and administration. City Council recognized the serious island infrastructure problems and has undertaken an aggressive capital improvement program. Bridges and roads have been repaired, and storm drainage problems continue to be addressed. Waterways are dredged to ensure safe boating access. Over 100 miles of streets, storm drainage, rights-of-way, 12 bridges, and six parks come under city jurisdiction. In May of 2001, the City acquired the Bank of America building property on Bald Eagle Drive for $1.2 million. Located adjacent to the existing police and fire department property and across the street from the Marco Healthcare Center, this facility compliments the public service center of Marco Island as its’ first City Hall.
Following years of negotiations, the City acquired the water and wastewater system from a private owner in November of 2003, at a cost of $85.3 million. The decision to acquire the utility was made with wide public support, and now allows the community to make reasonable, and environmentally sound, decisions regarding future water supply, and environmentally safe wastewater treatment processes. A business plan is under way to provide for better and more reliable water sources, new water treatment capacity, and an expansion of the wastewater collection system to eliminate septic tanks.
In 2003, the voters elected to acquire 6.85 acres of property near the town center at a cost of $10 million. The property will be master planned to provide a variety of recreational and cultural opportunities.
Several major projects are under way. These include the major reconstruction of North and South Collier Boulevard, and the removal of overhead power lines to improve the beauty and ambiance of the Island.
Quality commercial structures were, and continue to be, built along with upscale residential homes, condominiums, and hotels. Architectural standards help ensure quality development that promotes the unique look and ambiance of Marco Island.
Marco Island continues to attract visitors from all over the world, and its property is in high demand. Property values have more than tripled since incorporation to almost $10 billion in 2005. Marco Island enjoys a relatively low property tax rate and historically reduces the tax millage rate each year. The 2005 city tax millage rate is $138.75 for each $100,000 of assessed value.
There are about 2,000 remaining vacant lots. New homes are constructed at a rate of about 200-300 each year. The recent trend has been the demolition of older homes with the replacement of larger residential structures. While homes and condominiums are considered to be expensive compared to most communities in Florida, there is a wide variety, and price range, for homes, condominiums, and vacation rentals. The retail businesses, quality restaurants, superb hotel and conference facilities, quality neighborhoods, easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, and pristine environment are among the finest in the nation. The white sandy beaches along the bright blue Gulf of Mexico, combined with the warm winter climate, are just some of the reasons that the residents and visitors call Marco Island "paradise."