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ManaSota League of Cities refines push for more local government power

Undeterred by lack of legislative success a year ago

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  • | 4:37 p.m. September 8, 2016
  • Longboat Key
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The ManaSota League of Cities did not have a great track record in the 2015 legislative session.

Of 19 legislative initiatives backed by the MCLS, five passed.

For example, all four initiatives involving water quality and recognizing sea level rise concerns went down to defeat.

All three initiatives giving local government greater control over funds raised locally also failed.

All four initiatives aimed at giving local governments more power to regulate vacation rentals went down to defeat, too.

The MSLC was part of the push to require local governments rather than utilities to bear the cost of relocating equipment within a public utility easement. It passed.

Two mental health initiatives also made the grade.

Undeterred by the 21% success rate of a year ago, MLSC plans to return to take another crack at urging local legislators to help push its platform.

The MSLC finalized 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 – at the Thursday, Sept. 8, meeting at 501 Bay Isles Road in Longboat Key.

The list is largely unchanged from a year ago because the need remains, the members agreed.

For example, the need for greater control of locally generated revenues was illustrated by the last storm, said Anna Maria Island Commissioner Carol Carter.

“With this recent flooding, we had no communication from the county (asking) what we can do for you with all the flooding,” Carter said. “We were hiring our own pumps to get water removed and no one for the county made even a phone call to our mayor to suggest they might be able to help.”

Each MSLC representative was assigned at least one legislative initiative and asked to polish and resubmit it by Oct. 13 for the entire board to approve at the next meeting in November.

In other action

 • MLSC representatives urged great scrutiny be given to autonomous (driverless) vehicles. The added traffic will be a problem, they said.

Longboat Key Mayor Jack Duncan, a former MLSC member in the audience, said vehicle insurance rates will climb, too.

“The whole auto insurance world is going to change dramatically,” Duncan said.

• Agreed unanimously to ease travel reimbursement restrictions. Pre-approved travel by board members will be allowed.

• Rae Dowling of Florida Power & Light touted the hardening work being done to Longboat Key infrastructure by her company.

“It really paid off through the last storm,” she said. “We’re not seeing nearly the damage we potentially could have seen. We’re able to restore quicker.”



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