While the Sarasota County Commission is on its traditional August break, members of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. are working with county officials to modify the ordinance governing the work for which a new vendor will be responsible.
“We need to revise the ordinance to actually jive, line up, mesh, synch with the actual maintenance list out here,” SKVMC Board Chairman Mark Smith recently told members of the Siesta Key Village Association.
Several county officials working on the ordinance and a new request for proposals for a vendor have walked through the Village, Smith told the Pelican Press Tuesday, to get a sense of the issues that must be addressed. They also had emailed him a copy of the draft RFP, he said. “They’re hoping to get the RFP out on the streets next week.” Nonetheless, he said, the county does not expect to employ a new vendor before October.
JWM Management had informed Smith last month that it would not bid on the new RFP, because JWM has been one focus of criticism stemming from a lawsuit Village property owner Chris Brown filed against the county Jan. 31 regarding Maintenance Corp. assessments. JWM Management is owned by John Meshad, law partner of Jim Syprett, who is the father of Maintenance Corp. board member Troy Syprett. Meshad also is Troy Syprett’s godfather.
Smith told the Pelican this spring that Troy Syprett recused himself from voting on awarding the maintenance contract to JWM because of the family connections.
A related issue that has drawn attention has been the Maintenance Corp. budget for the 2012 fiscal year.
Brown’s attorney, Morgan Bentley, of Williams Parker, pointed out in June correspondence related to the lawsuit that Jeff Seward, then the county’s chief financial planning officer, had figures showing the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District raised $189,521.33 in fiscal year 2010, with $53,146.07 spent, leaving a balance of $136,375.26.
During a July 26 presentation to the County Commission, James Harriott, the county’s executive director of public works, said the fiscal year 2011 maintenance and water bill “is trending to $162,381 over all the expenses in the (PID).” That had led him to set the fiscal year 2012 budget at $200,000, he said, but he did not anticipate expenses being that high.
According to Smith’s figures, 60 Village property owners — individuals and groups — own the 92 parcels that make up the PID. Each of those properties is assessed a tax to cover the Village upkeep, as the property owners had requested before completion of the Village Beautification Project in spring 2010. (In filing his lawsuit, Brown not only contended that the Maintenance Corp. had not adhered to the ordinance in its operations, he also said the county should be able to handle the upkeep out of its regular budget.)
“I’m still not convinced that $200,000 is a good number,” Smith told the Pelican.