BRADENTON -- As they head toward their summer break, which begins June 22 and ends July 26, the Manatee County Board of Commissioners has a full agenda Tuesday, with public hearings on several matters and a total of 57 items on a long but generally uneventful 5-page agenda.
Three of those pages are the "consent" agenda, which includes routine items that are typically passed by a unanimous vote of the commission. Sometimes items are "flagged" to reflect one or more commissioners' interest in the topic or their desire to have it more broadly discussed, revised or dropped.
The board will likely conclude two earlier matters regarding parks and libraries as it accepts and records conveyances of 75 acres in Duette, the gift of Mosaic Corp. for a park and fire station, and by Zions National Bank of Utah for the board's $700,000 purchase of 9.75 acres to be used as the new 10,000-sq. ft. Rocky Bluff public library at the former Roaring '20s Pizza on US 301 near Parrish.
The contentious subject of Segways is due to come up as the commission votes on a proposal to implement a 6-month pilot program that would allow an exclusive concessionaire to lead tours on Coquina Beach, excluding Leffis Key. The two-wheeled, battery-powered "human transporter" devices invented by Massachusetts' Dean Kamen are becoming popular across the country as a non-polluting, quiet form of personal local transportation.
The commission may also take the step of suspending educational facility impact fees, which could lower the cost of a new home to a buyer. Those fees and a comprehensive new fee ordinance are set for public hearings Tuesday. Planning director John Osborne will present on the educational facility impact fees. With an estimated 6,000 empty seats in the Manatee County School district, there is unlikely to be a need for new schools anytime soon.
Impact fee coordinator Sharla Fouquet will take the lead in presenting the new impact fee ordinance. Impact fees from now on will be based on a new methodology that the commission was told ensures more accuracy and fairness in charging builders for the costs they create.
Project impacts on county roads, parks, public safety and law enforcement are charged to builders of homes, offices and shopping centers. The impacts are measured by a revised methodology developed by a consultant. The fees are a key source of money to run county operations, and may be used only on capital projects to mitigate the impacts charged for, as specified in the ordinance.
While the apportionment of fees between public purposes has been altered dramatically by the new methodology - park impact fees will rise 110 percent, for instance - there will be no increase at all in the total amount of impact fee revenues paid to Manatee County, according to Deputy County Administrator Dan Schlandt.
How the allocations could have changed so dramatically while the bottom-line revenues remained exactly the same is a mystery to Schlandt.
"It's just weird," he told The Bradenton Times. "That's just the way they came out."