Log in Subscribe

County Highlights Progress in Council of Governments Meeting

BRADENTON -- In a giant, squared half-circle sat 30 local government heads. Local mayors, city councilmen, city commissioners, county attorneys, city attorneys and fire chiefs were among those gathered to see what they could do to become more than the sum of their parts. Chaired by Manatee's County Commission Chairwoman, Carol Whitmore ,the meeting kicked off on schedule,

After calling the meeting to order, the first to enlighten the group was Stuart Rogel, CEO of Tampa Bay Partnership, with his Regional Business Plan for Tampa Bay. His organization, made up of 8 bay area counties, totaling more than 4.2 million people and the 14th largest media market in the United States, saw many opportunities to improve the bay area's growth potential.

Armed with a Powerpoint demonstration, Rogel showed models of prosperity, graphs demonstrating visions to jobs, better infrastructure and leadership. He provided suggestions like how removing regulatory barriers might pave the way and reminded the group 25 percent of the legislatures in Tallahassee represent the bay area.

After he finished, County Commissioner Joe McClash commented on the statement about, "removing regulatory barriers." McClash said, "We've had enough of that from Tallahassee," and added, "we should focus on the quality of life." Rogel responded that regulations take time, and time is money. Bradenton's Mayor, Wayne Poston came back supporting McClash saying, "In Tallahassee they don't know, one size doesn't fit all."

Next up was Rick Piccolo from the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority, reporting on the Noise Abatement Program. He showed aerial maps and sound barriers, as well as diagrams of how jets have modified the direction they took once in the air to reduced noise. He took the group through a little science that explained how jets broadcast a fraction of the sound then they did years ago. And he said not long ago dozens of complaints a month was the usual, but that now it's down to around two.

Maureen Sikora, Deputy County Attorney, followed with the details on the fertilizer ordinance. She spoke of the training sessions that can help incorporated areas understand and effectively comply with the sometimes confusing policy. There are also going to be workshops that will help landscape companies and others that work in industries that use the products, handle them safely. Sikora told sister governments they would be responsible for enforcement.

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston asked, "How will they know the right and wrong way?" Sikora replied that there are hand-outs. Commissioner McClash said, "It is to protect our waters. We should encourage the cities to try and work with the county."

Jay Moyles, from public safety was up next with an update on the new Marine Rescue Building. He was in love with the new building, as was everyone else. He thanked everyone in the room. Moyles described many of the wonderful features saying, "It is so insulated you can cool it with an ice cube and heat it with a match." The room was full of joy at that assessment.

Brenda Rogers, who just started her second year as Manatee County Director of Community Services came next with a room full of pride to discuss the Green Government Certification Program. She had handed out information on classes to take in order to help get certified and how to get in touch with Extension Services. She introduced Marina D'Abreau who offered to be of service to any inquiries to the program.

The evening ended with a legislative update by Nicholas Azzara, from Information Outreach, who reminded local governments that offshore drilling might come up again in the future and that there could be an Internet tax. He also noted that they are looking at septic tank inspections that might run in the $500 range and that the red light cameras issue was still not completely decided.


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.