As of Thursday night, the Siesta Isles Association has 149 members-- the highest the homeowners association has had in five years.
Members gathered for the annual association dinner Thursday evening at St. Boniface Espiscopal Church. County Commissioner Alan Maio and his wife, Nancy, attended the dinner as the guest speaker. He jokingly reminded SIA members that Nora Patterson, the former commissioner, had reached her term limit and had to be replaced–he had not defeated her.
"I want to be clear, I did not oust Nora Patterson," Maio said at the podium. "I've received emails to the effect of, 'you've got big shoes to fill.'"
Maio encouraged SIA members to call the county's contact center, 861-5000, when they had problems or issues involving the county and spoke about the 2015 budget and some of the successes of the county in the last several years.
"When we went through that economic tsunami, we reduced or kept the millage rate," he said. "We're still building things other communities can't afford."
"I've received emails to the effect of, 'you've got big shoes to fill.'" - Commissioner Alan Maio
Maio opened up his speech to Q&A. Several members asked about the Big Pass Dredge, and he explained that the county has to wait to start the independent third party peer review of the U.S. Army Corps' study until after they finalize some changes to the design of the dredge.
SIA members also asked about Florida Department of Transportation's plans for the intersection at Beach Road and Midnight Pass. At two meetings in the last six months, FDOT has suggested the intersection be changed to either a roundabout or a signalized right-turn traffic light. Not all Siesta Key residents are convinced of the necessity of a roundabout.
Maio said that FDOT has stated the genesis of changing that intersection came from public input at a meeting last year, where residents expressed concerned for bicyclists and pedestrians at that intersection. However, Maio told SIA members to stay involved with the project.
"Everyone needs to go to those meetings," he said.
SIA President Tony Romanus and board member Stacey Roberts updated their community about the board's project to replace Siesta Isles signs and enhance the entry points into the community. The board is hoping to finalize an application for the county neighborhood grant program by the April deadline, and asked everyone to sign up in support of the project–community support adds 20 points to the point-based application.
Roberts also said that the board is planning to use "Florida friendly" plants to relandscape the entryways, as that counts for more points in the application.
Romanus said that 149 people registered as SIA members by last night's dinner, which was half of the population of the Siesta Isles neighborhood.