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Blogging the County Commission meeting


Manatee County Commission meeting

May 5, 2009

Called to order

Commissioner Brown on the way

Consent agenda

Item 50. Employee of the month

Department of property management.

Kathy Gentile for May 2009

National Day of Prayer, May 7

John Chappie reads proclamation

Invitation to prayer rally

National AmeriCorps Week proclamation

May 9-16.

Tourism Week in Manatee County

May 9-17

Safe Boating Week

May 16-22

Coast Guard auxiliary representative accepts proclamation

Asks for mandatory safe boating course.

Kickoff on May 16 at Twin Dolphins Marina

Coast Guard may show rescue operations

Small Business Week May 18-22

Commissioner Donna Hayes presents proclamation

Manatee County Civic Center event May 18 noon to 2:30 p.m.

Emergency Medical Services Week

Presented by Commissioner Carol Whitmore

May 17-23

Operating in top 1% of all ambulance services

Ends of proclamations

Citizens comments

Philip Collier for Coral Shores Association

Concern over project

Another postcard poll headed our way.

Not our desire. Sent each commissioner e-mail.

"We've pursued this dredging since 1998."

Another postcard polling would end opportunity to have canals dredged.

Request commissioners honor agreement and proceed with dredging.

Comm. Brown: We voted on this recently.

Hunzeker: Agreed to dredge the hot spots.

Chappie: Basically correct, and I made the people aware about how I voted. Met with Coral Shores and have been reviewing infomration. Lookin a lot closer at information. Has been going on since December 1998. Three postcard polls, three reminder postcard polls. Between 12/6/02 and 12/05.

Make a motion that commission not send out postcard poll and live by original motion.

Coral Shores is not asking for county to pay all the dredging.

Hunzeker: Believe we could bring it all back to you.

Chappie: I would like people to be given opportunity. Substantial changes from original ordinance. We have to keep public informed.

Brown: We've decided to do hot spots. Come back on a future agenda.

Chappie: Motion to stop sending out postcards.

McClash: Don't agree with sending out postcards. We talked about it. And channel restriction. It's premature to send out postcards. If it just takes care of the hot spots.

Chappie: Documents have been filed on everybody's property for a lien.

Collier: Yes. Some houses were sold and bought with the understanding that the canal would be dredged.

Whitmore: I disagree. We only committed to pay for 35% of the cost; the citizens pay the rest. That was four years ago. We will do it this time, and if they don't want to, we won't do it again. We still need to get out of this deal. That's how I feel.

Bustle: I don't support the motion. This should be handled at the staff level. They should handle it, not the commissioners.

Chappie: We need to get out of the dredging. This has gone on since 1998. The commission has to be involved. Don't send this out. It is their representatives. The key is to stop that mailing.

McClash: Sending postcards is our policy. Let's resolve the issue. It's proper.

Hayes: Want to know if these have been documented, or if they're just citizens complaining.

Chappie: At last night's meeting, we reviewed the bullet points and correlated that to try to fill in the blank spots. Yes it is an accurate reading of the issue.

Brown: Let's go to a vote.

Whitmore: Will the postcards be sent out?

Ans. The letters have been drafted and are on Hunzeker's desk.

Brown: Motion on the floor, vote. Motion fails.

Brown: Mr. Hunzeker, we need to brief staff.

Bustle: I think we should make a motion to direct the staff.

Brown: This is getting beyond us. Mr. Hunzeker, you need to do this. This issue is no longer on this table.

McClash: You can't just tell staff do what you want, this is the second time we've had a motion. You have to send clear directions to your staff.

Tedd Williams, County attorney: Board just had a vote, and the staff needs to follow that vote.

Motion on floor, motion carries 5-2.

Thanks for tramsittal of Waste Management.

Harry Bakker, represent self in regard to bus transfer station on 13th Street.

Worst location for a bus transfer station.

Since 2005, another building.

13th Street is underutilized, that's why we have it.

Station would make it impossible.

Bus transfer station will destroy what I've built.

There are other locations available.

I think it's sneaky and underhanded. Will not let it go without a fight. Will destroy future plans.

Brown: Your time is up. You are opposed to our bus station.

Whitmore: At Bradenton CC they have discussed it. Concerned would not fit in. We will work with Bradenton to make sure this works. We have this money to use by the end of the year or we lose it. I don't think this is a bad thing. Our route 99 from Palmetto to Sarasota is standing room only. Wait to see what city will do, we're just providing grant money.

McClash: This is our decision because we operate the bus service. It shocks me that the adjacent property owner was not informed. He also owns property that's across the street. We need to evaluate that option. I'll just put a motion for the county administrator.


Hunzeker: We've looked at a number of alternatives. We have a grant that must be used by the end of the year.

Chappie: I support the motion. Add to include the city.

Chappie: City has to approve whatever we do.

Hunzeker: We have to work with the city.

Whitmore: Is there a way staff can come today? If it isn't going to work, I want to know today.

Hunzeker: We'll see what we can do.

McClash: He is going to come back.

Motion on floor, motion carries.

Melissa Wandall - Stop redlight running coalition. Wife of man killed by redlight runner.

Worked with State Rep. Ron Reagan. Bill did not pass due to money.

Asking everyone to contact reps.

Passed House and Senate, but different versions.

Contact senators and get this bill passed.

Cameras became about money instead of safety.

Getman: Contact Atwater about bill. This has always been a safety issue for us. The Senate was going to make it a fundraising issue and hire state employees to run the program. We really need this bill to make our streets safer.

Hayes: Melissa, you have been waiting year after year for this. This is still a very live issue. The public needs to understand it's not just this intersection.

Any other comments?

Dawn Buchanan, managing attorney for Gulfcoast Legal Services.

Issues of CDBG grant. Grant tries to address homelessness also needs to deal with prevention. Foreclosures coming up. Grant doesn't deal with legal issues.

Want to remind commission that Gulfcoast is providing direct legal representation to those being foreclosured on.

Brown: Item 55 deals with foreclosure prevention. Don't know if it will work.

Buchanan: Gulfcoast just wants to be here for the community. Lack funding to give one person the job; share it among small staff. Just want to be invited to the table to stop predatory lenders.

Ted Holliday speaks on lights for holidays.

Comments closed.

Presentations upon request.

Item 52.

Item 53. University commons/Center at University Parkway

Chappie: Disclosure on Wal-Mart. I have rental property. We have a renter. Attorney from Cleveland working on this deal.

Brown: Disclosed.

Motion to approve?

Whitmore motion, vote, motion carries.

Item 54, Sarkozy boat dock.

Met with Mr. Sarkozy, his attorneys and his surveyors

Determination that no changes to memo previously prepared.

Getman: Let him give his side.

Brown: Fine.

Attorney Williams: There was an issue on factual legal matters.

Brown: Mr. Sarkozy, you have three minutes.

Sarkozy: I was disappointed with the meeting. Two and a half years didn't seem like an adequate amount of time to present evidence. Reads letter, shows picture of boat dock and issue neighbor raised.

Wife and I have been sued over boat dock. Hired contractor to take care of construction, permitting. Told county of problem. Neighbor said it was not right. County sent inspector. Told him not to sign if there was anything wrong. County officials said it was fine. No evidence that dock was legal. County has protected contractor. Told me that county has no accountability over what has happened over past 2? years. Have spent more than $30,000 on legal fees due to county.

Whitmore: I did have some experience with boat docks, but our staff can make mistakes. We don't have to abide by it. I sympathize with you and know you spent a lot of money, but can't see what we can do.

Brown: Vote?

Attorney: There's nothing to vote on. The fact that he settled his lawsuit and then asked us to pay his legal fees. There's no reason to do it.

McClash: There's more to it than inspecting a dock. Make sure we have a process for fairness.

Building department: Permit was applied for in 2006. We've been dealing with this issues. Three agencies review boat dock permits. Every time we have a dock permit, there are multiple reviews. The department's responsibility is to verify the construction of the dock.

Brown: Mr. Sarkozy, this is not a debatable issue.

McClash: Will ask question.

Sarkozy: No survey stakes out there. County was aware of it and OK'd the permit. Why are permits required when there was no survey?

Tbarta Master Plan presentation.

Final steps toward new regional master plan.

Working through engaging public about routes and corridors.

We have over 30,000 people in 7-county area who have commented.

Draft plan is out. Comment through May 15.

www.tbarta.com shows vision plan.

Welcome comments and feedback.

Had iTown Hall meetings. 14 over a two-week period.

Calling 40,000 homeowners in each county.

Tomorrow night is Manatee County.

Calls later this afternoon from Hayes.

Anyone can participate 877-269-7289, 7 p.m. To 8 p.m.

Hayes, McGuire, Barton live on the call.

Will talk about plan and how it will affect area.

PIN is 14837#

Call before 7 p.m. Stay on as long as you like.

If you have a question, press *3 and someone will talk to you.

All participants can hear questions and answers, and will be on the Web site.

Get 2,000 to 4,000 people per night.

Transportation an important component to people's lives.

We've been able to put together a master plan.

Public hearing on May 11.

I-75 PD&E study.

Mr. Chris Piazza, presentation on I-75 and Anna Maria Bridge project.

Wrap up study.

University Parkway to Moccasin Wallow.

SR 70, 64, U.S. 301, I-75 and Moccasin Wallow Road.

Two priority interchanges slated for final design. Decided to make two design-build projects.

Operational upgrades on U.S. 301 interchange to add life.

At SR 70 got upgrades for more benefit.

Traffic volume to 2035. Significant growth in the area.

Six-lane now, expand to 10 lanes, six general use and four special purpose.

SR70 modify to 10 lanes, eliminate loops make stormwater management.

Same for SR 64.

U.S. 301 tough due to river. Removing loops and creating diamond, replace bridges.

I-275 - Upgrading ramps for 10-lane section and higher speed.

Moccasin Wallow Road - Use interchange and modify it for more lanes.

Total overall cost $1.5 billion for everything.

Comments: Noise is a big item, 38%. Walls proposed in project.

Design, environment.


Brown: I-75 from 301 is different from 64, safer. Is that just in my mind?

Piazza: Meeting minimum criteria.

McClash: No alternative corridor analysis from port to Port St. Lucie. Important part of study before be buy into it. We have time. Want interchanges looked at more.

Piazza: Federal Highway Admin. Found diverging diamond interchange worked well with senior drivers.

McClash: We should look at it as a separate issue. They're supposed to be safer and less confusing. 301 has merging issues. It's important to look at alternative corridor.

Getman: One of the most serious issues for emergency management is east-west evacuations. Totally overwhelmed. Took three hours to get through cities. We need east-west for public safety. Could create massive gridlock in state. Describe diamond interchange at SR 70.

Piazza: Explains new layout.

Hayes: Agree with McClash. We have to look at east-west. I-4 and Alligator Alley just doesn't work.

Took 6? hours to get to DeBary in 2004. We have a lot of population at 301 interchange. Tried to expand that outlet mall and remember to reserve properties at that interchange. You can't expand it.

Piazza: It's very hard to do things in that area. Expand ramps to improve access and 301.

Chappie: I-275 to Gandy is same design as this and works great. Hardly have to keep it under 50.

Anna Maria Island bridge PD&E study

Piazza presnts on findings. In 2007 we discussed structure. Trying to wrap it up to submit to Coast Guard. Distance of two miles.

Bridge presentation.

No more than 2 lanes.

Analyzed no-build options with both alignments.

Alternatives matrix.

Total costs: $

Build alternatives require minimal lands,

Survey results.

Recommending high-level fixed bridge with typical section B with south alignment. Bridge would be 14 feet south, and bridge could still be used while work goes on. When bridge is finished, old bridge could be blocked and demolished.

Similar in height to Ringling Bridge in Sarasota, but it's steeper because of narrower channel.

What next? Next to CAC and TAC and get comments, and see what they suggest.

Then final recommendation to Coast Guard.

No phases funded through 2010 to 2014 but after Coast Guard OK, can be open to funding after that.

Whitmore: Went to every public hearing. Most expensive one would have been mid-level. Sought $16 million but asked for $150 million for high-fixed span. That includes demolition of old bridge. Have any of the commissioners asked for a high bridge?

Piazza: No

Whitmore: I wanted a 45-foot or 65-foot bridge. We asked for the money.

Getman: Survey results are interesting. Made of residents of island.

Piazza: Wanted to be sure we got information to everyone. Got records for entire island, and sent them a public notice. Final mailing list had 4,000 people, on island and within 300 feet of bridge.

Getman: I understand that the vast majority of interest is what island people want. What about others?

Piazza: Got surveys from outside the buffer area. Some results were in Bradenton because they wanted to voice an opinion. It is a public road.

McClash: Same presentation. I support their recommendation. Method used to support position is very valid. Safety factor of this bridge is safer than drawbridge. Interested in pursuing. Should not be done in two processes, just one. Get them to commit to design and build and won't lose money after design. Should come back after PD&E process. I believe a high bridge can be done and respect the island community. I request pedestrian walkways.

Hayes: Really pleased to see how process is moving forward. Fixed-span is the best route. Common sense told me it should last longer. Must consider since expensive repairs have been made. Open process to everyone.

Bustle: Survey. Was there any effort to make sure people didn't stack their results?

Piazza: We made sure there was no cheating.

Chappie: I attended all the public meetings, I did not participate in survey. Concern about kingfish ramp. Open and fair process.

Getman: What's wind load of bridge?

Piazza: Can't tell you . Can just say analysis will be done in design phase. Will be designed for hurricane force winds.

Getman: I was down in Marco Island when Andrew hit.

Piazza: 951 bridge is 55 feet.

Getman: Winds had no effect on 951 bridge.

Piazza: We have wind speed criteria in 120-150 range.

Whitmore: Let's be careful about public decision on what bridge you want. We need to go to Sarasota TAC and CAC. You don't need a formal action from this board.

Piazza: No. We are the holders of that decision.

Whitmore: Design committee won't be for 5 to 8 years.

Piazza: Good five years out if anything happens with funding.

McClash: This is the appropriate time to make comments. The window of time. After they do their analysis, the processs is what we've talked about. I agree with you and we have taken official action.

Piazza: I think Whitmore is saying no formal action.

McClash: She's worried about being sued because we were sued last time. We don't have to worry about predetermining the alignment.

Hayes: I think you're right. As a commissioner, I feel strongly about supporting the fixed span. This is the time.

Whitmore: We're not doing a formal action.

Brown: Ursula Still to speak on this item.

Ursula Still: Island resident and president of Save Anna Maria Island.

Asking for an unbiased design committee in place sooner rather than later. Part of scope of service, and will provide more information.


What's the rush? Bridge repairs 15 to 25 years. Always to see bumper-to-bumper traffic. Fixed span will stop raising but not stopping traffic. No record of stopping emergency vehicles.

Mary Shepherd: Can we still make comments? Opposed due to environmental impact.

Brown: We need that bridge.

Piazza: You can still comment on the Web site that has always been available.

For public hearing, that period is closed

Web is annamariaislandbridge.com.

McClash: Analysis is on the Web. Bridge has to be replaced. Will have to mitigate for impact on seagrasses.

Hayes: Went on an airboat ride, and seagrass mitigation is a reality. It really works.

Brown: No other items other than item 56.

Update on two actions.

Rep. Buchanan. Surface transportation act.

In weeks leading up to request for bills. Commission offered three bills. $400 million in projects.

Extend phasing of three projects.

Any questions?

McClash: Concerned about design project and not have construction dollars, and then it goes stale. Dollars wasted in design. Likelihood not high of getting support. If you don't get the design bill.

Ans. To address concern, Anna Maria bridge $150 million. Phase I 2010-2015 includes design and start of construction. Project would be named for design and construction.

McClash: Need all the funds. It's a process. You can't do it that way and be successful. Keep it simple. The state will not let the bridge fall down.

Brown: Bottom line is to try to get what we can. Does the bridge have to go through the MPO to get done?

McClash: Yes. Collier and Lee got $80 million in stimulus. I'm just using that for an example.

Ans. Manatee could expect $100 million for these projects. If we asked for $102 million for the bridge, that means the other projects are not listed.

Whitmore: We were told in Washington not to ask for anything. So when we did bring up the total $150 million in price, we were told not to ask for it.

Ans.: Seeking consensus on phasing proposals.

Members polled. Consensus.

Second item: Letters of clarification

Transit facility and port connector road.

Thought letter should be rewritten and make it clear that they're asking for two phases.

Second, working between port and BCC actions, want letters forwarded to him and Kathy Castor because project is also in her district.

Port authority is asking your lobbyist to work for them.

These things came together Thursday evening.

Come back at 1:30 p.m.

Back in session

Call to order at 1:36 p.m.

Transit discussion

Fred community services dept.

Dialogue concerning status of the transit facility. Discuss issue.

In short, as the board's well aware, we've been trying to find a site for some years.

Site considered near banks on 13th Street.

Board has not sat as a body and considered its position.

Project is in a preliminary point. Process we're all going through, struggling to find best place to do this.

Brown: We have not presented a plan?

Fred: City did contract with Renaissance for a downtown study.

Rudimentary beginning point of what it can look like.

Brown: Has city given any kind of dialogue on where they want it?

Fred: Met and did discuss it.

Any who want to speak to the city's position can.

Wayne Poston, mayor of Bradenton.

City conceptually approved it. We want to see what it'll look like.

Carl Callahan, city clerk and treasurer: We've met with your staff to look at results of mobility study. Looked at it with PD, public works, and had a meeting and gauged input.

Discussed and then went to a second meeting, and liked what was presented from a conceptual standpoint. Get street in your hands.

Council approved the concept based on staff review. Flowed in concept with mobility study.

McClash: Just for city's information, there was talk in the meeting. We passed motion. We need to make sure the money gets spent. During the next 30 days, look at the next piece of property.

Also something to support from city redevelopment standpoint. Having a city block to take care of buses and the access doesn't seem to be too much worse. We want to be sensitive. I don't think this is probably the end.

Poston: I agree, Mr. McClash. We think it's a good site. We hope to get it away from the judicial center.

McClash: We're kind of fortunate that we have a piece of property that an owner has an interest in.

Whitmore: Results of mobility study. Commissioners were hesitant. I know at one point it was going to be a one-way street, but didn't want it to be a lane cutoff. We talked about the old post office, then another building but people said it was historic. We shouldn't dictate what the design is going to be. How much money are we losing if we don't do something?

Staff: McSwiggen site on 8th between 13th and 14th.

Whitmore: We'd lose $1.8 million if we don't do something. When is the cutoff?

Staff: Grant is combination of federal and state dollars. Five-year window. Each year you have to ask for an extension. State may not honor another extension.

Whitmore: Hybrid bus is 12 feet longer than regular bus. I support Bradenton, as long as we're moving fast on it.

Poston: If we could get the buses off city streets, but the question I can never answer is why the buses keep arriving at the same time. Off the city streets, it works much better.

Hayes: I see the need for us to move those buses. It seems to me - and it's a safety issue - that Mr. Bocker has a safety issue we should explore. My question is that I'm concerned about the grant issue.

It's not that we have a particular time, is time element end of 2009?

Staff: Grant awarded in 2007, and FDOT wants grants spent by end of five years. We'd have to ask for an extension, but if we haven't done anything, we could lose it.

Hayes: We've used a couple hundred thousand. We need to ask for an extension.

Staff: We could lose it after two years.

Hayes: With the economy, we want to respect Mr. Bocker's wishes.

Brown: I don't recall a 30-day window. OK, inside 30 days.

Hunzeker: We have design consultants who have to take a look at the site.

Brown: Are you familiar with other site?

Staff: We have a picture of it.

Shown on screen.

Staff: When we looked at it a couple of months back, we were not aware of other parcel in "L" shaped land. Didn't know if we could buy those buildings, but it's a federal issue.

McClash: This is not a new issue. Trying for 10 years to move it. This site is bigger than any other site. Things might just work out, if you talk to property owners.

Whitmore: I don't agree with Mr. McClash. How much will this property cost? Other plan, if he's agreeing to give it to us, let's go for it. This other deal, would we have to buy property? We don't have money for buying it. We need to move forward. I'm going to let the city of Bradenton handle this. I'm going to go down fighting on this one. I don't believe in taking property.

McClash: I talked to Mr. Bocker, a maximum of $1 million, get the property appraised. Ralph, when do we have to ask for an extension?

Staff: December of this year.

Hayes: Ralph or Fred, can you reassure me that we won't have to deal with these issues? I think 30 days is reasonable.

Ans. We don't know how neighbors will react.

Hayes: We have a reaction now.

Bustle: I think it's premature to draw lines in the sand and say we're going to fight. We have to consider Mr. Bocker's position. All of a sudden, he's going to be blocked off, I think he'd be a little bit perturbed.

Look at this thing and consider it in the light of day. I want it to work too, but I wouldn't want to do it at the expense of ramrodding over citizens. Relax and sit back and let this thing go through. I think we're manufacturing urgency.

Brown: Where are we with this motion?

Staff: Told to come up with a design. To come back with a design to show councils. Based on design showed earlier.

Chappie: I had hoped we could all come together on this. We want the city to get together on this. I agree with Bustle.

Whitmore: I went to the city council. Where are we going to come up with a million to buy this property? I just know I attended meetings, the city approved it conceptually. I think it's very foolish to not use this money. I just know what was said.

Brown: I would not get rid of the plans. Proceed to look at consultants about another site, and how we end up buying that site. Come back to us in 30 days with something. Otherwise, we will be moving. Not trying to cause any conflict on anyone. That's where we are. It doesn't make sense to put it on a site where it's not functional. Is it functional? In terms of the road network and how it's working for the city overall.

Whitmore: What do you want them to do?

Brown: If the design is based on 13th Street...

McClash: The city has already said they kind of like that.

Staff: Consultant already working on the design. In all likelihood there would be a design.

Brown: Need to come up with a final decision. If it comes down to a money factor, it is about where we place it.

Staff: We sent a letter to the board. We'll also work to look at the functionality of this other site.

Chappie: I was going to comment that the motion that passed.

Brown: Mr. Bakker, we are in no way or interested in making your business plans unfeasible. Our idea is to provide transportation to people. That other site does not go away. If it doesn't become feasible, we have no other choice.

Bocker: Since this proposed site is in a right of way, the property owners are not notified. They could put it by the post office and the county owns it. Through my own investigation, I find that this station is coming to 13th Street. We oppose that location and voiced opposition to that location. We have enough people going into the banks. Sarasota's transfer station is by itself. It has full-time monitoring of the station. My property is available. Hope Family Services is for sale. You'd have an entire city block, and you can build something we'd all be proud of.

Brown: Are we clear?

Ans.: I think we are.

Foreclosure prevention

Director of Neighborhood Services

Provide assistance to people who are experiencing foreclosure. Several things we're working on.

We have developed a Web site.

Showing Web site and steps.

www.mymanatee.org, click on Departments, Neighborhood Services, Foreclosure Prevention and Assistance Network.

Explanation of Web site and resources and links from the site.

Allocation is $200,000 less than last year.

New notification of funding $415,000, but don't know what rules will be.

Click on CDBG menu, which explains program.

NSP program

Homeless prevention program

CDBGR program rules will go on site, too.

We're partnering with Manatee Community Action Agency, and other local agencies.

Just wanted to show.

Any questions?

Brown: Does counselor do foreclosure prevention?

Through a small grant.

Comissioners' comments



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