At the founding of Estero five years ago, one of the promises of its leaders was to operate the Village’s government efficiently and use taxpayer money wisely. The Village has kept that promise. Residents of Estero now enjoy the lowest tax rate in Southwest Florida while receiving a high level of service.
The Village of Estero has just 11 full-time equivalent employees (consisting of eight full-time employees and six part-time employees), which is significantly less than other municipalities of its size. This “government lite” system of operation works through public and private partnerships. Employees fill key roles in Village Administration, Community Development and Public Works. Other critical functions, such as infrastructure maintenance, utilities and disaster response, are contracted with reliable partners, both public and private.
For example, the Village contracts with Lee County and the State of Florida to provide drainage and other services. Private companies provide functions like road and landscaping maintenance, electricity, cable and internet services. Both private and public partners are enlisted to provide garbage collection and clean drinking water. Estero Community Park is owned and operated by Lee County.
The Village’s main area of administration is in Community Development, which coordinates land use, zoning, site development and permitting. Two boards of professionals work with Village staff to ensure new construction is aligned with the Village’s land use policies. The Design Review Board (DRB) is responsible for reviewing architectural and landscaping appearance of new developments. The Planning and Zoning Board (PZB) is responsible for conducting all public hearings on zoning approval requests and making recommendations to the Village Council.
Through its many strategic partnerships, the Village of Estero continues to provide high value to its citizens, who enjoy low taxes and an exceptional quality of life. Additionally, the Village of Estero maintains strong operating reserves to cover 12 months of operating expenses — the highest level of reserves in the region.