At a joint meeting Tuesday between the Manatee County Commission, Sarasota County Commission and town of Longboat Key, Manatee County officials agreed to fund $200,000 of the $300,000 Longboat Key trolley route in Manatee County — on one condition.
Longboat Key would have to pay for the remaining $100,000 needed.
Commissioner Robert Siekmann made a motion to spend the money, and Commissioner David Brenner seconded it.
But the motion died in a three-way tie because Commissioner Lynn Larson was unable to attend the meeting because she was supervising election proceedings at Town Hall.
Siekmann, Brenner and Vice Mayor Jim Brown voted to spend the money.
Mayor George Spoll and Commissioners Hal Lenobel and Phillip Younger voted against spending the money.
But the trolley route isn’t dead yet.
The commission agreed to discuss the topic again at its 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 regular workshop and hold another vote with all seven commissioners.
And Larson will most likely be a yes vote, because she has supported the trolley at past meetings and stated she believes it’s critical for both island residents and workers who depend on it.
Sarasota County will continue its Longboat Key trolley service in Sarasota County, at a cost of $300,000, without any monetary contribution from the town.
St. Denis told the Town Commission at its Monday, Nov. 1 regular meeting that Sarasota County is unwilling to extend its route any farther than Bayfront Park for both monetary and scheduling reasons.
Going any farther north would require both an additional bus or trolley and would alter planned one-hour pickup and drop-off times.
The Manatee County portion of the route will expire Dec. 31 unless the commission and Manatee County agree to the arrangement discussed Tuesday.
Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org
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