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ManaSota League of Cities wants push for tougher vacation rental regs

Opposes legislation that mandates local government pay for relocating utility equipment within a public utility easement

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  • | 4:10 p.m. September 2, 2016
ManaSota League of Cities President Linda Yates
ManaSota League of Cities President Linda Yates
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The ManaSota League of Cities wants its legislative delegation sto get tough on vacation rentals, among other priorities for the next legislative session.

Finalizing an eight-point list of priorities for the politicians responsible to nine MSLC metro areas – Longboat Key, Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, North Port, Palmetto Sarasota and Venice – is the focus of the 9:30 a.m. meeting Sept. 8 at 501 Bay Isles Road in Longboat Key.

“It’s been on the last three agendas,” said MSLC administrator coordinator Trish Granger.

MSLC President Linda Yates helped the group craft the following legislative wish list:

• Relocation of utilities. MSLC opposes legislation that mandates local government bear the cost of relocating utility equipment when the equipment is located within a public utility easement regardless of the purpose.

• Vacation rentals. MSLC supports repealing state legislation pre-empting regulation of vacation rental properties to allow local governments to regulate such properties “to protect the health and welfare of residents, visitors and businesses.” It supports changing existing state vacation rental laws permitting grandfathered local governments to modify existing short-term vacation rental regulations.

“Rentals are a big issue,” Granger said. “People are building big houses and then renting them out as party houses.”

• Water quality and rising sea levels. Supports legislation providing funding for water quality projects and vulnerability assessments related to rising sea levels.

 • Economic development. Supports increased funding for the Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds affordable housing, anti-poverty programs and infrastructure development.

• Local government revenue. Opposes restriction of elimination of municipal revenues form communications services and local business taxes.

• Mental health. Supports funding basic mental health facilities and programs in Florida, including additional psychiatric beds.

• Public pensions. Supports Florida Department of Retirement’s interpretation of minimum benefits under Florida statutes chapter 175 and 185.

• Sober homes. Supports establishing minimum regulatory standards for Sober Homes facilities and more stringent local regulation of such facilities.

Changing priorities

The Manasota League of Cities shifted its base of operations from the city of Sarasota to the town of Longboat Key in July 2015.

Granger said she thought league records would be handed over to Longboat Key staff.

League members and town staff, however, soon found it impossible to retrieve all records associated with the league from Sarasota, she said.

At the Jan. 14 board meeting, Granger said she had yet to receive all records from the city despite emails seeking them from city Auditor and Clerk Pamela Nadalini.

The league also paid the city approximately $2,300 a year for its services as its record keeper and pays the town of Longboat Key a similar amount.

“We’re not going to submit a public records request for records we are supposed to be maintaining,” Granger said at the time to the Observer. “Why should the league have to pay for copies of its own records?”

There was talk of possible litigation but cooler heads prevailed despite the missing records.

“The board decided it wasn’t worth fighting over,” Granger said.


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