The town of Longboat Key doesn’t have a homeless population on its 12-mile island, but it was asked by Sarasota County officials earlier this month to contribute $8,000 toward a $40,000 San Antonio-based Marbut Consulting firm’s homeless strategy study for the Sarasota region.
On Aug. 14 at a special meeting at Town Hall, the Longboat Key Town Commission scoffed at the requested amount.
“We have enough money that travels across the bridge already,” said Commissioner Lynn Larson.
Town Manager David Bullock, though, told commissioners a smaller monetary amount, which he called “a token appreciation,” would show the town supports a community-wide homeless problem strategy.
Bullock met with Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid to discuss the matter last week and Reid suggested no more than $1,000 would be sufficient.
“For us, it’s less about the money and more about broad community support,” Bullock said.
Vice Mayor David Brenner agreed, stating that visitors who see a homeless problem in Sarasota might think twice about returning to Longboat Key if they are greeted by solicitors from their cars before they come over the bridge.
The commission unanimously agreed to give the county $1,000 for the study, although commissioners worried the amount might offend those that contributed more for the $40,000 study.
On Aug. 16, Bullock assuaged those concerns in an email to commissioners.
Bullock said Sarasota County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason called Bullock to express the county’s appreciation and her personal appreciation for the town’s $1,000 contribution to the homeless effort.
“She understands we don’t have a significant homeless issue here, but was impressed the Town Commission recognizes the regional nature of the issue and is willing to participate,” Bullock wrote. “She asked me to pass along her appreciation to each of you.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.