At next week’s commission meeting, Wilton Manors will once again try to assert its own sovereignty. 

Two resolutions dealing with home rule are on the agenda for Tuesday night’s regular commission meeting. The virtual Zoom meeting begins at 7 p.m.

The first resolution opposes unfunded state mandates imposed on cities and lawmakers' efforts to “impede the constitutional right Florida citizens have enjoyed for more than 50 years to govern themselves under municipal home rule powers.”

Furthermore, the resolution opposes the legislature’s “persistent intrusion into local finances, which are necessary to provide financial stability and essential services uniquely required by municipal residents and local businesses.”

The second resolution calls for the Florida legislature to oppose HB 403 and SB 266 which would regulate home-based businesses and prevent cities such as Wilton Manors from enforcing their own laws.

The resolutions continue a theme of local vs. state being played out in chambers across the peninsula. At their last meeting, Wilton Manors commissioners voted to oppose proposed state legislation of vacation rentals. Commissioner Chris Caputo cast the lone dissenting vote in an attempt to disrupt the notion that vacation rentals destroy neighborhoods.

“As a city, I’m incredibly frustrated that we continue the narrative that vacation rentals decrease property values and vacation rentals are a problem,” Caputo said.

Commissioners Gary Resnick and Paul Rolli attempted to persuade Captuo to join the majority in solidarity with local governance.

“We can’t eliminate vacation rentals, it’s something we have to live with,” Rolli said. “The issue is the opposition of the preemption of local law.”

“All we’re doing is opposing bills that would take away our existing code,” Resnick told Caputo. “It sounds like you support that, so you might want to revisit your vote on this specific issue.”

Caputo followed through with his no vote translating into a yes vote for HB 219 which would turn over control of vacation rentals to the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

Wilton Manors resident and Gazette columnist Sal Torre called Caputo’s vote crazy and confusing.

“Some might chalk it up to inexperience but do not be fooled Islanders, Commissioner Caputo made it very clear that he will defend and protect short-term vacation rental business owners here in the Island City even if it means voting against preserving and protecting our right to Home Rule in the great State of Florida,” wrote Torre.


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