Since Sarasota County staff took over the upkeep of Siesta Village on Aug. 15, Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. officials have been pleased with their work.
“They’re doing, I believe, a good job,” Siesta architect Mark Smith, director of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., said Tuesday. “There’s a genuine concern and a willingness (on the county’s part) to maintain the Village as we’ve grown accustomed to it.”
Russell Matthes, president of the Siesta Key Village Association and also a Maintenance Corp. director, said Monday he agreed the Village had come through its first week of county supervision with no major problems.
“So far, so good,” Matthes said.
The only real issues Matthes encountered were related to garbage collection. A couple of cans were not emptied one day, but Matthes attributed that to county workers still learning where every can is located.
County workers also have been removing dead palm trees in the Village and trimming others. As of Aug. 19, dead trees had been taken down in front of Siesta Center; and dead palms over the sidewalk in front of the Michael Saunders real estate office on Ocean Boulevard were gone Tuesday morning, Smith said.
Following the removal, Smith said his organization now must decide whether to replace those trees with coconut palms or some other, heartier type of palm.
Smith also praised Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations and public works, for the work. Gary Spraggins, the mobility/Buchan Airport manager, is assisting Maroney in the effort and said he plans to walk through the Village daily to look for any issues that needed to be addressed.
“The attitude at the county has changed with the change in leadership,” Smith said in reference to Interim County Administrator Terry Lewis. “I told him we need help and we need it from the top, and he came through. We need the positive attitude to continue (when a new administrator is named).”
Lewis said Wednesday he was pleased to hear a good report from the Village.
“I’ve got a dollar bet with my staff … that the folks on Siesta Key will be satisfied with the level of maintenance they’ve got,” he said. “If it involves us picking up garbage cans ourselves — my executive director and myself — we’ll be out there.”
The county also has revised the ordinance establishing the Maintenance Corp., Smith said. The ordinance — as well as the request for proposals for a new vendor — reflects suggestions Village property owners made about the responsibilities the vendor should have and those that the county should shoulder.
One change from the first vendor contract, Smith said, will be quarterly meetings of the Maintenance Corp. directors with county staff and the vendor to review expenditures. Maintenance Corp. costs were the primary focal point of a lawsuit filed against the county Jan. 31 by Village property owner Chris Brown. Brown’s attorney, Morgan Bentley, of Williams Parker, told the county commissioners during a July 26 meeting he was satisfied with the new direction staff was taking regarding the maintenance.
County staff will continue with the upkeep until a new maintenance vendor is hired this fall.