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Longboat Key
Friday, August 19, 2022

Letters to the Editor week of March 25, 2022

Longboat Key Green

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I believe there are few Longboat Key residents who mow their own yards. I am one of them.

Mostly what I see are numerous lawn service companies mowing yards on a regular basis, regardless of the season and growing conditions.

I estimate there are around five thousand properties on Longboat requiring lawn maintennce, including all our condominium grounds, twice a month, or 10,000 lawn mowings, string trimmings and leaf blowings a month.

A am asking if you believe we can continue caring for our lawns, using gas equipment, without unwanted repercussions?

If Longboat Key was the only source of small engine pollution, no problem. Unfortunately, there are 130 million homes in America. So the pollution created from lawn care is enormous.

What can we, as citizens, do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all the millions of small gas engines, each running hours a day?

So far California is the only state to ban small gas engins. There are more than a hundred municipalities across the country that have banned gas powered leaf blowers, ignoring mower and string trimmer pollution. Mowers run far longer that leaf blowers. I believe that Florida will not enact small gas engine controls any time soon. That leaves only municipalities as agents of  climate change.

Here is my list of a few actions the town might take to not only reduce pollution, but orgnize our community to be good sheperds of our planet for future generations.

1) hire an eco-friend lawn care company to maintain all currently contracted town lawn areas.

2) purchase a commercial battery powered mower, along with string trimmers and leaf blowers for town maintained lawn areas.

3) reach out to condominium assiciations to also use eco-friendly lawn services.

4) use new federal infrastructure money to replace all town gas powered vehicles. Electrric powered vehicles are less expensive to own and operate than gas powered vehicles.

5) educate and encourage residents to find alternatives to small gas engine lawn maintenance.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Sister Keys Cleanup

To: Longboat Key Commission, Town Manager Tom Harmer

Hope all is well. Please join us on April 9 if you can.

https://sarasotabaywatch.org/event/sisterkeys040922/

Rusty Chinnis

Longboat Key

Longboat Key Bicycle Association Report from the Town Council Meeting

To: Longboat Key Bicycle Association Committee members

Today March 21 committee members: Emanuel Charron, Richard Garrett, Aaron Kleiner and Andrea Edson spoke for the LBKBA at the Town Council about bicyclists recommendations and needs for a revamped GMD.

The Town Council seemed very supportive of the recommendations.  Future plans will provide 7 ft wide bike lanes with a ‘slight’ edge elevation at the demarcation of the road and the bike lanes.  There will also be a 12-foot wide multipurpose lane replacing the sidewalk allowing bicyclists and pedestrians to share a lane with slower speeds.

I would expect a fuller report will come from the Town.  There is no date as to when to expect these changes.

The planned round-about at GMD and Broadway is coming sooner.  It appears that bicyclists will have to exit the bike lane to the sidewalk to get through the roundabout.

I would ask members who were at this meeting to review this report and add corrections and addendums.

Howard Tessler

Longboat Key

 

Bicycle membership

To: Howard Tessler

Thanks for signing me up. It was good to see your group at the Commission meeting yesterday. I thought we made good progress on a design to improve fast and causal riding on LBK. Now the hard part starts – funding. Please continue to provide input to us.

Mike Haycock

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Longboat Key Bicycle Association Report from the Town Council Meeting

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Mr. Isaac Brownman, our Public Works Director ask that I please share that the Gulf of Mexico Drive Corridor Plan Public Meeting has been scheduled for May 3rd from 9-11am in the Town Hall Commission Chamber located at 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, FL 34228.

Alexandra Lowe-Mains

Office Manager Public Works Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Follow up

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

I’d like to follow up on our meeting of November 11 over at the Preserve. Can you please provide me with an update on the items we discussed?

I’m aware that a deeper swale has been cut on Hibiscus down toward the corner of Longboat Drive South. Can you tell me what changes are in the works for alleviating the flooding on that corner and the status of the swale that is supposed to run down LBDrS toward Hughes Street?

Likewise, what is the status of any changes that are to be made to the swales that run along the back of the Preserve property along the backyards of the folks living on Hughes Street?

Also, what is the status of the FDEP you mentioned during our meeting? Thanks Issac, I look forward to hearing back from you.

Michael Riter

Longboat Key

 

Follow up

To: Michael Riter

Thank you for reaching out.  Swales have been cut along Hibiscus.  Partial temporary swales/cuts were made on Longboat Drive South to the inlet, but those are going to take more reshaping and sustaining due to ongoing home construction.  John Skhor is aware.  Those will be complete as each home finishes.  A swale was cut into the corner and the driveway trench drain were cleaned out.  More than likely, the entire intersection will need to be repaired and resurfaced, including the concrete portions.  That is not scheduled yet, but would be on our Public Works list.  We met with a contractor and drove through the Village to get an idea of road segments for future, larger resurfacing project.

After reviewing the rear area, there already are low areas functioning as a swale lower than the adjacent backyards.  We told John Sckhor and the home builder that a path will need to be maintained to keep flow moving to the roads.  There are three new houses back there that will make it tough and tight, but that is the goal.  We are still waiting on the FDEP Close-Out documents.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Follow up

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

As a follow-up to your email of January 28 and our meeting of November 11, I’d like to address two issues.

First, the corner of Hibiscus Way and Longboat Drive South. You mentioned that more than likely the entire intersection will need to be repaired and resurfaced, including the concrete portions. It’s been over four months since our November 11 meeting and almost two months since your last update. It’s also been literally years that we’ve been living with the flooding mess that The Preserve has created. We’re rapidly approaching the rainy season of the year. What is the schedule of completing these repairs/rebuilding and resurfacing? Or are we to assume that the flooding caused by a poorly engineered and constructed corner drainage system will continue indefinitely. Please provide specifics of what will be done and when.

Second, it’s our understanding from building permit specifications and from our meeting of November 11 that it is the contractor’s responsibility to remove on an ongoing basis the clods of mud and dirt that is tracked into streets from construction vehicles. Please take a moment to pay a visit to the construction site at the corner of Hibiscus and Poinsettia. For weeks now the contractor has neglected to clean up the mess they’ve made of Hibiscus. Why has this been allowed to continue? In addition, trash that has been strewn around the job site and in the dumpster makes its way on to Hibiscus on a regular basis. Isn’t it the responsibility of the contractor to see that the job site is left in a clean and secure state and not the responsibility of we neighbors to clean up their mess? I look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Riter

Longboat Key

 

The 96 percent rule

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner, 93 percent of the eroded sand from coastal  beaches is transported into inlets. If one looks at the rapid beach erosion at the north end, one can see the sand transport into the bay and at Lands End.

Given the 93 percent rule, wasn’t this anticipated?

Of course the town could employ continuous sand recycling via an electric micro-dredge in the inlet, to continuously replace the millions of dollars of eroded sand that migrates from our beaches into Longboat Pass.

Look at Hillsboro Inlet as a shining example of successful sand recycling, for a fraction of our beach management costs.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Electric Vehicles Public Workshop

To: Longboat Key Commission

Carolyn Brown has coordinated a public “Green Workshop on Electric Vehicles” in partnership with Sarasota County.  It will be at Town Hall on April 14th from 10-11am.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

SUV on Greer Island

To: Longboat Key Commission

Commissioners, FYI. I was forwarded a copy of an email sent last night to a couple of the Commissioners about an incident that occurred last night on Greer Island.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

SUV on Greer Island

To: Longboat Key Commission

This evening at 7:32 EST, this was observed on Greer Island.  Many concerned citizens have been worried about boats and personal watercraft on the North End of LBK and at Greer (very valid concerns).  Maybe we should be more concerned about people taking an SUV out to Greer Island for sunset on St. Patrick’s Day?

First photo is the SUV and police presence on the North/West end of Greer Island. Thank you to the LBK Police Officers who responded. Second photo is of tire tracks heading from North Shore beach access onto Greer Island.  This is really complicated, because there is no actual vehicle access to the beach (Greer Island) from North Shore Drive; however, it is wide enough to allow the Town’s vehicles to access, so maybe the SUV thought it was all good..  Maybe the Town of Longboat Key could install a secured pole with a lock in the middle so no vehicles can come through unless the lock is removed to pull out the pole to allow the Town to access as needed.

In addition, I and many other people (it is a small Island), have some serious questions about what the offenders were told/arrested.  We really expect that they were not given a warning, but were actually fined or arrested from the stand point of FWC.  This is a very egregious violation of both LBK laws and FWC laws (I assume). I would appreciate a response back as soon as possible.

Terri Driver

Longboat Key

 

SUV on Greer Island

To: Terri Driver

The Police Chief notified me last night of the incident that occurred on Greer Island. He also forwarded a copy of your email.  Obviously very inappropriate and very unusual incident for Longboat Key.

I have been advised that they were international visitors in a rental vehicle from outside the area.

Appreciate the quick notification to the Police Department so they can respond. That is the appropriate action.

I have been advised the Police quickly responded, cited the driver and escorted them off the beach.

I am following up with the Police Department and Public Works Department on what occurred to see what other actions or follow up may be appropriate.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Bridge at Cortez

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, this Cortez Rd solution would be a striking solution that would cost much less  and not disrupt either  Cortez Village or Bradenton Beach. Construction time is a fraction of a high bridge and have much lower maintenance.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Bank of America Branch

To: Longboat Key Chamber President Gail Loefgren

I spoke with Mike McCoy of Bank of America this week about the re-closing of our branch on Bay Isles.  You will recall that they were open Monday, Wednesday and Friday last year and planned to fully re-open at the beginning of January.  According to Mike, plans changed due to the retirement of 3 out of 4 staff members from the LBK branch, but that they are now hiring and training replacements.  The current plan is to re-open for 3 days a week in early June and to re-open fully sometime after that.  We shall see.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Can we update on Ohana?

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Hello Ken, I would like a phone chat to fill you in on my present thinking. Are you available?

Laurel Gilbert Phillips

Longboat Key

 

Boat access at Land’s End pier

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I am sure you are aware but the boat access at the tip of Land’s End pier into the bayou at Greer Island is almost closed to boat traffic once again. I believe it was just over a year ago that the dredging occurred and gave great water flow to the bayou and granted access to boat traffic in the bayou. Clearly the dredging was not sufficient to last a little more than a year.

I am the President of the Homeowners Association of Longboat Pass Condominiums, these nine condos reside at North Shore Road and in the bayou at Greer Island. Many of the unit holders, including myself, are boat owners. We enjoy our boat dock as well. Today we cannot bring our boats to our dock. We were ecstatic last year when we had boat access after years of no access. Just recently I also noticed the water clarity has diminished as well. This past year we had an aggregation of Manatees in the bayou, and the number of fish in the bayou has grown significantly. The dredging really brought life into the bayou that I had not seen.

I believe we have an open permit to allow the dredging for the navigable waterway that leads into the bayou. As a representative of nine-unit owners in our condominium, I ask the city of Longboat Key to once again dredge the access point just North of Land’s End’s pier. We enjoy this beautiful waterway and want once again there to be a large, natural water flow and access for our boating pleasures.

Thanks as always for you representing the citizens that reside in the northern part of this gorgeous island.

Darryl Derwort

President

Homeowners Association for Longboat Pass Condominiums

 

Boat access and water flow in the bayou at Greer Island

To: Homeowners Association for Longboat Pass Condominiums President Darryl Derwort

Thank you for your letter. I discussed the closing of the cove and the need for a dredge with Tom Harmer, our Town Manager (copied above), last week.  He should have an answer back shortly from Public Works regarding how the Town is going to address. This is a direct result of our beach re-nourishment efforts – and fortunately we now have permits in place that should provide for a much quicker response than prior years.

I was asked to view the accelerated closing from the Lands End dock this weekend and was surprised to see how much it has changed (closed) in the last 3 weeks – the channel is now impassible by boat, as you note below.

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda

To: Sarasota County Commission

Just wanted to say thank you for assisting Rumble with taxpayer monies.

If it wasn’t for you five I would have not known that the maternity hospital bombed in the Ukraine was really a secret military installation and all those dead mothers and babies were just actors. You all make me proud to live in Sarasota.

Paul Sloan

Longboat Key

 

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda

To: Longboat Key Commission

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda in U.S. Maybe you all should stand up and let county commissioners know how you feel about all this. Hopefully you all can separate politics from aiding and abetting Russian invasion of the Ukraine? Or just stay silent and live with the notoriety that’s comes with this.

Paul Sloan

Longboat Key

 

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda

To: Paul Sloan

We are all sickened by what is happening in the Ukraine and understand your anger regarding any support for Russia right now.

As I am sure you know, we have very little, if any, say in who can rent office space and/or purchase property on the Key.  (Thankfully we live in a free country that way).

We have a workshop Monday and will ask what we can do as LBK Commissioners.  At a minimum we can confirm that no Town of LBK funds are being used to support the company.

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Rumble

To: Longboat Key Commission

Was the Longboat Key Commission notified about the Sarasota County Commission grant of $825,000 of Economic Development Incentive funds to Rumble? Rumble is located at 444 Gulf of Mexico Drive and is a media tech platform based in Toronto. Does the Town have a position on this Grant?

Larry Grossman

Sarasota

 

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I am so glad to see you write, “Thankfully we live in a free country…,” where we have been blessed with the First Amendment which guarantees free speech to all.

You don’t need to protect free speech that you agree with!  And the cure for erroneous/false speech is more speech, not censorship!

My thanks goes to people who have the courage to stand up to those who would deprive us of the blessings of free speech in the name of “correctness.” Thanks for listening,

Dr. Jim Whitman

Longboat Key

 

Congrats on being home of Russian State Propaganda

To: Dr. Jim Whitman

I’m sorry Jim did I take you away from your viewing of Russian State media I bet you miss Stalin! Yes I’m not a resident of LBK but I still get to voice my opinion to elected officials.

Paul Sloan

Sarasota

 

Thank you for your response

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I actually did not get your e-mail (checked spam) but saw your response when it was attached to Mr. Wittman’s response.

I appreciate your response and yes we live in a free country, which allows you and the board to publicly take a stand…..it may not be binding but it puts you on the record.

Silence is not the answer. And by the way, the county deal with Rumble is as dirty as they come.

Paul Sloan

Sarasota

 

April 10th Gopher Tortoise Day Request

To: Longboat Key Commission

This is somewhat short notice, but I hope the Town can consider this request from FWC and me.

“Support gopher tortoise conservation by contacting your local government and asking them to adopt a resolution proclaiming April 10th as Gopher Tortoise Day. You can help raise awareness about the role gopher tortoises play in Florida ecosystems and show your support for this threatened keystone species. For a sample resolution that can be easily modified to fit the needs of your local government please visit: https://gophertortoisedayfl.com/resolution/.”

Living mid-island on Longboat Key with a large sea grape area, we have one large, female, Gopher Tortoise that is pretty much a resident, locally named “Delilah”.  Last year she had a male visitor nicknamed “Sampson”.  They had at least one offspring, nicknamed “Blind Willy,” because we found it in the parking lot and relocated it back to our large sea grape area.  The story of the naming is very long, involving the Grateful Dead’s album Terrapin Station, but I digress.

Please see the Gopher Tortoise family photos below.  I hope they make you smile and consider another threatened species that resides and is reproducing on our island.

Terri Driver

Longboat Key

 

April 10th Gopher Tortoise Day Request

To: Terri Driver

Terri, thanks for the email. We process Proclamation requests through the Clerk’s Office. I will follow up with her tomorrow.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

April 10th Gopher Tortoise Day Request

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Gopher tortoises are considered to be a keystone species…their burrows provide shelter to hundreds of different animals.

Dr. Jeffrey H. Driver

Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

Hello Jen, Having experienced untenable traffic delays at the 41 Fruitville Roundabout coming to and leaving Lido, I would like to point out there are no signs in the roundabout or approaching the roundabout from either direction on 41 saying this is Fruitville. Such signs exist in the 10th and 14th Street roundabouts. Why are they missing at Fruitville? Best wishes for the New Year.

Stephen Helpern

Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Stephen Helpern

Thank you for your email about the Fruitville Roundabout. I have copied Pinky from FDOT on this email to best address your observation about a lack of signage. Thank you again for taking the time to email me! I do appreciate it!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Stephen Helpern, Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

Good point. I’m not sure if the signs were not included in the Fruitville Roundabout construction or were taken down later for some reason. We’ll look into it and possibly add them as part of Gulfstream project.

Pinky Pakalapati

Project Engineer

CDM Smith

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

Well it’s now been over a month and still no signs as we enter the busy tourist season. No temporary or permanent signs sorry to say. Why not and how much longer will this take? Looking forward to the new signs. Thanks

Stephen Helpern

Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Stephen Helpern

As a follow-up in coordination with FDOT, they will be installing the permanent signage as part of the US 41 Gulfstream project.  They anticipate having the final signage installed at the end of the project.  In checking with FDOT today, they expect to install the temporary sign by the end of the month.

Nik Patel

City Engineer

City of Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Sarasota City Engineer Nik Patel

Looks like we are fast approaching the “end of the month” and still no temporary Fruitville signs. Then again it is only February 26th and there are two more days till month end.

See below re the schedule for the signs. I will refrain from comments re the continuing chaos and delays at this roundabout while construction proceeds at a snails pace on the big project. Maybe sometime I will see some work being done. Ms. Ramos assures they are working hard at night. And as we enter our busy season things are sure to get worse.

Stephen Helpern

Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Stephen Helpern

I appreciate letting us know.  FDOT will be following up soon on the status of the signage.

Nik Patel

City Engineer

City of Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Sarasota City Engineer Nik Patel

Good morning all, still no Fruitville signs. Traffic going south around 10 a.m. on US 41 backed up past 10th Street.

Stephen Helpern

Sarasota

 

Fruitville Roundabout

To: Stephen Helpern

The temporary Fruitville Road Roundabout signage has been requested. It is in the process of being manufactured and scheduled for installation by the Contractor. A date has not been set yet, but within the next three weeks is expected.

Alice Ramos

Community Outreach Manager

Florida Department of Transportation

Fruitville Roundabout

To: FDOT Community Outreach Manager Alice Ramos

Ms. Ramos, Thanks for the update and glad temporary signage has finally been ordered. Hopefully more than one sign since they are needed going both north and south.

Steve Helpern

Sarasota

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Sarasota City Commission

I am planning to attend the Abba concert at the Van Wezel along with five other members of my family this Sunday March 27. I purchased these tickets 8 months ago at a cost of almost five hundred dollars. Yesterday, via an email from Van Wezel, I was informed that face masks or face coverings would be required at all times indoor, even during the entire concert. What kind of a requirement is that, and who thought of this lunacy? I certainly would never have purchased these tickets had I known that I would be required to wear a mask during the entire, high energy, concert! Today, on March 24, what gives you the right to impose your philosophies/restrictions on people simply trying to enjoy a concert? Even the archaic

rules imposed in New York City have been lifted, as of today, March 24! What you as a board are doing, does not represent the Governor and people of Florida! Please correct this injustice before the concert on Sunday, allowing the theatre goers.

who paid a lot of money, to enjoy the concert. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Richard Yaure

Sarasota

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Richard Yaure

Mr. Yaure, City Manager Marlon Brown forwarded your email to me concerning the masks at the Van Wezel.  The mask policy was put in place by a consortium of over 39 of the arts venues in Sarasota County when theatres began to reopen. The group often referred to as #SafeArts Sarasota also put in place that customers also needed to provide prior to entering the venues a negative Covid 19 test or voluntarily provide a vaccine card.  We recently lifted that policy here at the Van Wezel with the exception of the Sarasota Ballet performances ,  the Sarasota Concert Association performance, and for the shows by Itzhak Perlman and Dianna Krall as these were dictated by policy of the renters in the first two cases and in the last two by the contracts of the artists.

We checked our system and you bought your tickets online in July.  Our health and safety protocols were noted on our system where you bought your tickets about our safety protocols.  These were the same you found all over town at Florida Studio Theatre, the Sarasota Opera, Ballet and Orchestra, the Asolo, the West Coast Black Theatre

The Circus etc. It is on our web site, on our phone messaging system , there was a full page ad in the paper , front page articles in the paper, I did numerous press appearances about the safety protocols as did members of our group.  There were editorials and so forth .  The reason for these protocols was to keep our patrons safe from this deadly virus and to keep performers on the stage who can’t be masked safe.  Numerous shows and concerts and full tours  have been cancelled since live performances began as too many artist became sick with the virus and could not perform.  There were numerous stories about this as well.  Our safety pages always said to keep checking our protocols as they could evolves as they did with when we stopped requiring negative tests to get in the theatre.  I hope in the near future we can revise the mask policy as well.

As we are basically sold out for Abba on Sunday and we have a waiting list for tickets we will be glad to offer you a refund as an exception today only for your tickets by calling Janice Schmall our Box Office Manager at 941-263-6736 and we will offer them to other customers.

While you are correct that masks are no longer required for entering public venues or restaurants in New York they are required by all 41 theatres on Broadway and I have attached the most current Broadway theatre policy which can also be found on the Broadway League site and on the ticket show sites if you wish to investigate yourself.  They are also still requiring that patrons must provide a vaccination card  prior to attending the theatre.  These policies  were enacted to save the theatre industry from another shut down which previously  shut down our businesses for  over 16 months and devastated us both financially and cancelling careers of huge numbers of people making their living in the live performing arts industry.  For Broadway and other shows the Artists unions required these protocols by contract and then we are required by contract to have these protocols or there would be no tours or shows of this kind.  We also wanted to do everything possible to keep you our audience members safe.

I hope my explanation answers all of your questions but if they don’t please feel free to contact me.

Mary Bensel

Executive Director

Van Wezel

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel

Dear Mary, thank you for your prompt response to the email that I sent to the city commissioners and the mayor of Sarasota after they forwarded it to you. While I appreciate your offer to refund me the money for the six tickets I purchased, however, that will not be possible as they are gifts for two couples that are friends of ours. We will just attend the concert, as I have been looking forward to it a great deal, but it will not be as enjoyable wearing that mask throughout the entire concert. Once again, I thank you for your professional and prompt response and wish you well and stay safe.

Richard Yaure

Sarasota

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Richard Yaure

Thank you so much.  I too look for masks to be gone. But I danced the night away for the Tina Turner concert the other night and had a blast but you are right it is not as enjoyable.  I am in NYC this weekend and will see 3 Broadway shows in masks and can’t tell you how many shows as the Director of the Hall I have attended that way.  Many people choose to disregard what we have said once in the theatre and we are not the mask police just trying to do the best we can but we get so many angry emails, calls and texts from customers who want people to wear masks. My staff has been verbally abused, pushed , threatened etc., a customer at the Opera threatened a guard’s life and I got an email saying they were going to ‘wup me.  I am so sorry we are all so divided we are just trying to keep the theatre safe and open.  Thank you sir, for being so polite and kind. I really hope to see masks gone soon.

Mary Bensel

Executive Director

Van Wezel

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Sarasota City Commission

If you read below my email you will see I got a very nice courteous letter from the gentleman re the masks. I really hope I can remove masks by May 1 the end of the season.  In April most shows are either rentals requiring them or Broadway shows that require them by contract. May forward it is several rock shows and those patrons really as a whole are anti masks needless to say if conditions change we will adjust.

Mary Bensel

Executive Director

Van Wezel

 

Van Wezel mask requirement

To: Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel

Thank you Ms. Bensel for your comprehensive and professional response and communications. I know he appreciated a response.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

FLC Home Rule Hero Award

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Bishop

I am pleased to inform you that you have been chosen to receive the Florida League of Cities’ 2022 Home Rule Hero Award! Your outspoken advocacy for municipal home rule leading up to and during the 2022 Legislative Session is an inspiration and a model for municipal officials statewide. Efforts such as yours are an integral piece of the League’s grassroots advocacy and a key component to our success. A press release template will be emailed to you so that your city office can announce your award.

One of the FLC Legislative Advocates is attending the July 7, 2022, ManaSota League of Cities meeting to present Home Rule Hero awards. If you are unable to attend the meeting on July 7, FLC will leave your award with Gail Loeffler to present to you at another time.

If you have a headshot picture of yourself, please email it to me. We like to show a slide show presentation during the FLC Annual Conference featuring all of our Home Rule Heroes. Let me know if you have any questions and thank you for all of your efforts this year!

Mary Edenfield

Legislative Administrator

Florida League of Cities, Inc.

 

Audit report 2021

To: Longboat Key Commission

The annual Financial Audit is complete.  I have attached both the Annual Report and the Summary Report from the Town’s independent auditors (Mauldin & Jenkins). This covers the period from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021 (FY21).

Hard copies for each Commissioner are available at Town Hall.

The audit did not identify any deficiencies in internal controls that were considered material weaknesses nor were there any instances of noncompliance or other matters.

A State single audit was required due to amounts received from State FDEP Beach Management Program. Those reports are contained within the Annual Report beginning on page 127.

There were no findings, questioned costs, or recommendations in the current or preceding annual financial report requiring correction.

I would like to recognize the Finance Director Sue Smith and the rest of the Finance Team for their efforts this year and the positive results reflected again in this year’s audit.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Florida Mayor Sign-on Letter: Governor DeSantis, please veto SB 620

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

My name is Hunter Miller and I am the Senior Field Representative for Oceana, the world’s largest ocean conservation organization.

I wanted to share some information on a harmful bill that would drastically affect local government. Please consider signing on to the Florida Mayor sign-on letter here:  https://forms.gle/PWiDCWQMSNzkXvpm9

As you may know, the Legislature recently passed SB 620, pertaining to local ordinances, sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson and Representative Lawrence McClure. SB 620 now awaits signature by Governor DeSantis. As written, this legislation creates new potential lawsuits that can be filed by businesses against local taxpayers if an ordinance or charter provision causes a 15% reduction in the business’s profits. Just the threat of litigation resulting from this law would likely have a chilling effect on local action and solutions for our communities. In addition, the Legislature decidedly did not include for prevailing party attorney’s fees meaning even if a city is successful in defending themself against a frivolous lawsuit challenging a city’s action, the taxpayers of the city still foot the bill for mounting that defense.

We believe many local elected officials are still concerned about the potential negative impact on well-functioning local governments, home rule, and costs to the taxpayer. The law could affect everything from noise ordinances and last call laws to short-term rentals rules and environmental efforts.  Below are a few examples of how why this bill is problematic to local governments:

The bill allows businesses to threaten local governments with lawsuits paid for by taxpayers.

The statute does give a legal mechanism for contesting and possibly making citizens pay for what their elected local representatives chose to do – and thus dampen the desire for local laws without necessarily fighting in a democratic, public forum or elections rather than in courts.

Florida TaxWatch, the business-backed research organization, has estimated that the legislation will “lead to a number of financially motivated and malicious lawsuits, costing local governments over $900 million annually” because local governments will be forced to increase taxes or reduce services to cover legal fees.

This bill would hinder the governing body at the local level and would overall be of detriment to communities.

SB 620 can provide national companies with the ability to exploit the bill for their advantage against local ordinances.   

We are working to help facilitate a Mayor sign-on letter to urge Governor DeSantis to veto this bill. Again, we believe it is critical that he hear from local elected officials and the communities this bill will affect. Would you please consider adding your name to this Mayor sign-on letter urging Governor DeSantis to veto SB 620?

To read and sign on to the letter, follow the link: Mayor Sign-on Letter: Governor DeSantis, VETO SB 620

The letter is also pasted below my signature.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Hunter Miller

Senior Field Representative, Florida

Office of Governor State of Florida

Sarasota County Polling Places

To: Longboat Key Commission

See note below from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections thanking the Town for providing a voting facility for the March election.

Special thanks to our Clerk Trish Shinkle and her team for their continued work to support voting on the island and to maintain a longstanding positive relationship with the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Sarasota County Polling Places

We are so blessed to have Trish. I actually had to vote in person March 8 and our staff always makes everyone feel welcome.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota County Polling Places

To: Sarasota County Polling Place

On behalf of my staff and all Sarasota County voters, thank you for working with us to provide a voting facility for voters on election day, March 8, 2022. Your commitment to the electoral process made it possible for thousands of voters to exercise their right to vote and for this, we are deeply grateful. We look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you, again.

Pam Cutrone

Poll Worker Coordinator

Sarasota

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