Longboat Key Commissioner Gene Jaleski is making plans to form an economic roundtable discussion in October.
Following through on one of his campaign promises, the Village resident wants to bring citizens together to pick their brains about everything related to Longboat Key, including town spending.
“I hope to get at least a dozen residents together to help us look at every aspect of the town,” Jaleski said. “There is so much we can do together as a community.”
Bob Gault, former chief executive officer of Sea World and Universal Studios Florida theme parks, is the first Key resident to agree to attend the future roundtable discussion.
In an e-mail exchange Wednesday, Sept. 2, Gault said he liked Jaleski’s idea.
Jaleski asked Gault what he thought of his idea after Gault e-mailed a letter to the editor to The Longboat Observer, which was also sent to Jaleski and other commissioners.
In the letter, Gault urged the commission to get creative and cut spending without raising taxes.
“As the past CEO of the Sea World and Universal Studios parks, if I ever suggested to the board that I was going to increase main gate prices due to a revenue shortfall, it would have been a very short career (for me),” Gault wrote.
Intrigued by Gault’s e-mail, Jaleski responded.
“Bob, I will soon approach our community in an attempt to form a sort of economic roundtable comprised of both government people and those residents who feel compelled to lend a hand in what I perceive to be a requisite expansion of the visioning plan to include discussions of how to attract year-round residents to the community as well as real world solutions for the plight of small businesses on the island,” Jaleski wrote to Gault.
Jaleski said Gault is just one of many retired Key residents with great ideas for the town.
“I feel our community needs active participation by qualified and experienced business people and all sorts of people who have so much to contribute to an ongoing community dialogue,” Jaleski said.
The commissioner is also pleased with the number of residents who have attended commission meetings and budget meetings.
“I think we are seeing a civic awakening, and more and more residents seem interested in what’s going on at Town Hall,” Jaleski said.
Jaleski said he would also like commissioners to attend the future roundtable discussion so they can listen to what their constituents have to say.
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