LAKEWOOD RANCH — Members of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority board still are exploring their options for new operating hours at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.
At their meeting April 15, board members tabled a proposal to open Town Hall five days a week because the original motion did not garner enough support and because supervisors needed more information about a recommended alternative.
Board members had been expected to vote in favor of changing Town Hall hours to 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with extended hours until 7 p.m., twice a week to accommodate working families.
“I think Town Hall is here to serve the community,” IDA Chairman Tom Green said before the vote.
Citing resident complaints about the four-day schedule, among other concerns, Green motioned to approve the change with the support of Supervisor Glenda Robertson. However, the motion failed when CDD 4 Supervisor Gordon Norquay, who had supported the change during the IDA’s agenda review workshop April 13, did not do so because his fellow CDD 4 board members voted against the proposal during their agenda review meeting the next day.
The move left two board members in favor — Green and Robertson — and two against — Norquay and Jean Stewart. CDD 6 representative Dale Weidemiller was not present for the vote.
“If we go back to the five-day week, we are responding to the squeaky wheel,” Stewart said. “If we are truly concerned about morale, we will not do this.”
To compromise, Robertson, a supervisor in CDD 5, suggested opening Town Hall on Fridays but continuing the four 10-hour day workweek for all but the three employees who work at the front desk. Affected positions would utilize flex schedules — with one full-time person working Monday through Thursday and the other working Tuesday through Friday — to make the concept work without the need for hiring additional staff.
Community Manager Bob Fernandez was asked to speak with the potentially affected personnel and see if they would be agreeable to the idea.
Under the proposal, service to residents on Fridays would be limited to items that can be handled by front desk staff, such as transponders and picking up event tickets and park reservation forms.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Norquay said. “It pleases the community as well as the Town Hall workforce.”
Fernandez said he favored the proposal because it would retain the four 10-hour day workweek, which is preferred by 29 of 31 employees, while preserving savings associated with a reduction in paid overtime of about $12,800 annually, among other benefits.
The IDA also is considering the additional part-time custodial position so that an employee of the IDA can be on site at Town Hall whenever its doors are open, including on weekends. Supervisors said relying on groups to lock the facility is a security issue.
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IN OTHER NEWS
• Supervisor Alan Roth reported the district’s security provider, Allegiance Security Group, attended the district’s April 7 safety meeting and will attend monthly to take feedback from residents and report any potential safety issues it sees. Safety meetings are held the first Monday of each month.
• The district engineer has set up a meeting with the original road contractor to discuss the repair of the southbound lane from The Masters Avenue to the gatehouse.
• Supervisors authorized the execution of a conservation maintenance contract from Altec Lakes and Natural Areas Inc. for an amount not to exceed $83,100. The program includes the removal of exotics within 15 feet of the edge of conservation area and removing material over one-foot in diameter, among other maintenance requirements.
• Operations Director Ryan Heise said Town Hall staff has begun restoring and upgrading trail markers.
• At an agenda review meeting April 13, supervisors continued to express concerns about their new security provider, Allegiance Security Group.
“We need better follow-up,” Supervisor Nancy Johnson said. “It doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it. It just means we haven’t seen it.”
• Supervisors authorized a change order for Frederick Durr & Co. to fix five more sunken storm drains at a cost not to exceed $355,000.
• Chairman Tom Green reported that Community Activities Corp. Director Lori Basilone now will report directly to her board, rather than to Community Manager Bob Fernandez and her board. She will continue working out of Town Hall.
“CAC is an integral part of the community,” Green said. “It’s a focal point for community activities. (It) will not be moved.”