BRADENTON -- The boys of Willowbrook are back, and they're no longer waiting to hear what the commission says they can't do. They are here to stay. "You can put our names on these seats up front," said Dan Koekler, one of the KB homeowners. But all of the spunk they could carry into the chambers, didn't stop the Building and Development Services Director, John Barnott, from trying to squeeze out of his responsibility by handing out more excuses.
The commission just keeps up the same old story. "It's not our problem," says Micky Palmer, County Attorney. It's like they are just the complaint department, there to collect grievances, as if there isn't some responsibility to the million dollars plus each year, the commission cost the taxpayers of Manatee County.
The Building Department is under their authority. If a mistake is made in the building department, it is also their problem. But you won't catch them saying that. Like a broken record, "they know they can't sue us" says Commissioner Hayes.
At Tuesday's BOCC meeting, John Barnott stood before the commission and the Willowbrook residents and read a carefully-crafted statement: "The problems we see today are a result of water intrusion because of weatherproofing and quality of construction issues that are not subject to the Florida Building Code."
The complaints are of shoddy construction that creates water intrusion problems, and the oversight to prevent poor construction is Barnott's job. Who is he kidding? Barnott then says that there are 15 locations where there are similar projects in Florida that have the same problems. "These problems are not unique to Manatee County," Barnott says. Which is it: no one is furnishing oversight, or is it due diligence?
The statement is embarrassing to all and the excuses have run amuck. These are Manatee County taxpayers and to push them into a corner could be a big mistake.
Now the commission claims that the homeowners who won't let the fourth round of repairmen into their houses are doing so at their own peril. Commissioner Whitmore uses her modest threat of mold, being a health issue, insinuating the homeowners will reap the wrath of that problem. And if they don't sign a waiver to prevent them from ever suing KB, their house won't get fixed.
Well the $2 million now put in escrow to do the repairs, has a catch 22 tied to it, and KB doesn't seem to know how to build a house, let alone fix one. So what are these unfortunate homeowners to do? We'll wait and see.
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