The group Friends of Casey Key says it has the numbers to defeat any attempt at incorporation on the Key, and members say they have the proof.
They handed that proof, in the form of 243 signed petitions, to U.S. Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, July 6.
That number represents about half of registered voters on the Key.
“Most people think how we are now is the best way for the Key to operate,” said David Macrae, who leads Friends of Casey Key.
Those in favor of incorporating the Key say they want to do so because of Sarasota County’s rules on building codes and property rights.
Supporters asked a Legislative delegation to sponsor a bill that would create an incorporated Casey Key.
That bill died in committee last session.
And the petitions are not likely to help resuscitate it.
Holder’s staff will verify if all 243 petitions were signed by registered voters on Casey Key. If those numbers stand up, it could defeat a possible referendum on incorporation.
“This would make us less likely to pursue incorporation,” Holder said. “But it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.”
Holder will now share the petitions with the other members of the Legislative delegation, including Sen. Mike Bennett, Sen. Nancy Detert, U.S. Rep. Ron Reagan and U.S. Rep. Keith Fitzgerald.
The delegation met with Casey Key residents Feb. 6. Bennett said that had he sensed during the meeting that Casey Key property owners did not want incorporation, he would not have pushed the bill further.
Estimates on how much incorporation would cost Key residents vary greatly, depending on which side supplies the figures. They run from $1.3 million per year to $3.5 million per year.
“This is their decision. We were just giving them the opportunity,” Holder said. “All we want to know is what the people of Casey Key want.”
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