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East County Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 5 years ago

Lakewood IDA to vote on new Town Hall hours

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by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Members of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority Board are expected to vote April 15 on new hours for Town Hall.

At an agenda review meeting April 13, board members indicated they likely would approve a proposal to make Town Hall open five days a week, with extended hours twice a week. The motion also may include the addition of part-time maintenance staff to be on-site when the building is in use on the weekends.

“I think Town Hall ought to take care of everybody in this community,” IDA Chairman Tom Green said. “We have found working families take advantage of those (extended hours).”

Green said many resident complaints about Town Hall hours could be fixed if residents simply adjusted their schedules. However, the perception that residents are not getting appropriate services still remains, he said.

“I’m tired of this being a lightning rod for everything that comes up,” Green said of Town Hall being closed on Fridays. “I think it’s detracting from the effectiveness of Town Hall.”

Green said the addition of maintenance staff for weekends is necessary to ensure the security of Town Hall as it is being used outside normal business hours.

Community Manager Bob Fernandez has been pushing to keep Town Hall’s current Monday through Thursday schedule, citing employee morale, improved efficiency and other benefits.

In a report given Tuesday, Fernandez said the current schedule has saved an annual $12,800 in overtime expenses and allowed staff to serve 1,800 residents annually during the extended hours.

Other options being considered by the IDA include reverting back to Town Hall’s former hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, opening Town Hall and the operations office from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday with half of the staff working four 10-hour workdays Monday through Thursday and the other half working the same hours Tuesday through Friday and opening Town Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Contact Pam Eubanks at peubanks@yourobserver.com.

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