On April 5, Estero’s first mayor, Nick Batos, passed the gavel to District 5 Representative Jim Boesch, who seamlessly stepped into the mayor’s role. Estero Village Council members have decided leadership should change every two years. Councilman Bill Ribble is the new vice mayor.
Boesch is the only council member who has prior experience running a city. He previously served eight years as a town councilor (four years as mayor) for Wethersfield, Conn., a town with a similar population to Estero but a larger budget and a much longer history; it was founded in 1634. By contrast, Estero is just two years old and operates under a “government lite” philosophy with a current budget of $11.5 million.
Boesch was nominated for the mayor’s role by Councilman Ribble, who cited Boesch’s experience and character: “He excels in people skills, accountability and integrity.”
A resident of Stoneybrook, Boesch and his wife, Diane, moved to Estero in 2003. Like Batos, he was active with the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL) prior to the Village’s incorporation. Boesch currently serves as the Council’s liaison to the Lee County and Florida Departments of Transportation (LDOT and FDOT) and is advocating on behalf of Village Council for the Conservation 20/20 acquisition of Edison Farms, a 4,000-acre property which lies east of Interstate 75 just beyond Estero’s boundaries.
Estero Life asked Mayor Boesch to answer seven questions relating to his new role, the Village’s successes, and the challenges which lie ahead.
- You were an early advocate of Estero’s incorporation, many years before it came to pass. You also were the first to announce your candidacy for the inaugural Village Council. Why did you feel so strongly Estero should be a city, and why was it important for you to serve?
Financially, it was a “no brainer” result, and certainly, Estero deserved the right to direct its own future. Since I was directly involved with the overall plan (the Feasibility Study), I wanted to be part of the “Plan your work, work your plan” process.
- Why is it important for citizens of Estero to become involved in their governance?
Volunteerism is essential to any municipality. Not withstanding the financial ramifications, volunteers should feel comfortable exchanging their ideas with elected officials. Why? Because they are involved in the growing process.
- Why did you want to step up to serve as mayor?
Let me honestly say I was not seeking to be mayor. The majority, however, strongly favored changing the officers every two years. My previous experience has given me the background, in the political genre, to address many of the questions and problems that occur each day in a municipal government.
- What have you learned from Estero’s first mayor?
Mayor Batos has patiently led us to the point where the necessary and solid foundation for Estero is in place. The foundation has been constructed; now the real building must begin.
- Why did you nominate Bill Ribble to serve as your vice mayor?
Councilman Ribble has done some outstanding work with the Village Manager’s contract, especially the lease, as well as completing the renovation of Village Hall. He was a natural choice to step up to the vice mayor’s position.
- What accomplishment are you most proud of, as a member of the inaugural Estero Village Council?
I am most proud of the budget that brought about the financial success for the Village of Estero.
- What challenges lie ahead for Estero in the next two years and beyond?
The Council has much work to do. You could not ask for a better team to be serving as elected officials than those presently serving here in Estero. In my opinion, every challenge can be accomplished, and Estero, with the Council all working together, will become the pride and joy of the entire state of Florida.