Although Sarasota County Public Works staff devised a $207,407 budget for the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. this fiscal year, expenses so far indicate the total will come in at less than half that amount, members of the Siesta Key Village Association learned Feb. 7.
Mark Smith, a member of the Maintenance Corp. Board of Directors, told the SKVA members during their regular meeting that he had met with county officials Feb. 3 to review the invoices the county had compiled for its upkeep of the Village. From Oct. 1 — the start of the county’s fiscal year — through January, Smith said, the expenses totaled $14,760.79.
“Wow,” Troy Syprett, co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck and the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, responded.
Smith added that the vendor the Maintenance Corp. had hired the previous fiscal year to handle the upkeep, JWM Management, had averaged expenses of $7,661.33 per month. The county, Smith said, was averaging slightly less than $4,000 per month.
Ryan Montague, a staff member in the county’s Mobility/Traffic Engineering Office, under whose auspices the maintenance is handled, told the Pelican Press Feb. 3 that the county’s expenses so far for the fiscal year were $32,339.42. However, Montague said, that amount included fees for property appraisal and tax collection, among other administrative expenses.
Even with those costs, plus additional, anticipated bills for new plants in the Village landscaping and necessary repairs, Smith told the SKVA members, “I think we’re going to be hard-pressed to hit $100,000 (for the fiscal year).”
Smith was concerned, he added, that when the county sought bids for the maintenance, each of the responses was going to total $200,000 per year, based on the county’s budget.
Therefore, Smith said, he had told county staff during the Feb. 3 meeting, “I think we ought to stall and have you guys do this for a year, so we can get a real average (of expenses). They said, ‘Please don’t do that.’”
When he asked them if they could throw out the bids if all of them came in at the $200,000 mark, Smith added, the county officials said they could do that and seek a new set of bids.
Regarding the county’s maintenance work, Kay Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Café, said, “They’ve been doing a good job.”
“They have been doing a great job,” Smith concurred.
However, County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who was a guest at the meeting, told the group, “You’ve got high-level people who are out here now all the time, and they can’t keep that up.”
“No,” Smith said. “They told me that … anyway, we’re getting the benefit of their time.”
New ordinance gets good review
Mark Smith, a member of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. Board of Directors, said Feb. 7 that he had reviewed a draft of the new ordinance governing Village upkeep and that it looked good.
The only thing he continued to question, he said, was the inclusion of sidewalk pressure washing as a county responsibility, instead of as a job for the vendor that will be hired.
That was a concern, Smith said, because of the potential for damage to the sidewalks and the adjacent landscaping.
“So it seems to me it would be better if (we) had it under the auspices of the vendor, so (we) wouldn’t have any finger-pointing (if problems occurred),” Smith said.
SKVA member Troy Syprett pointed out that pressure washing can force out the sand from between the bricks in the sidewalks. If that happens, the sand must be replaced, he said.
Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson responded, “Mark, I think they’re trying to do (the ordinance) right, so I would think that if you sat down and asked … ”
Smith interrupted her: “I’ve only (sat down with them) a half-dozen times. I can only tell you I’ll do it No. 7.”
“I can’t imagine why (the ordinance) would say (the county) would want to do (the pressure washing),” Patterson said.
“Maybe it was an oversight,” Smith told her.
When SKVA President Russell Matthes asked whether the new ordinance provided for reimbursements to the Maintenance Corp. for routine expenses, Smith said it did.
The previous ordinance did not allow for the county to pay back the corporation for routine accounting fees it covered, for example.
Smith said the ordinance also did not provide for the SKVA to be reimbursed for expenses between $5,000 and $6,000, which the organization had paid when the Maintenance Corp. was being established and registered with the state.
Matthes said he had met last week with Deputy County Administrator Bill Little, who said he had recommended that reimbursement.
Smith said he would address that point during a Feb. 21 public hearing on the ordinance.