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Beach borrowing on the Longboat Key ballot

Election Day is March 17, but early voting will be available through Saturday at five sites nearby to Longboat residents.

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  • | 10:00 a.m. March 11, 2020
  • Longboat Key
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Planning to vote on the borrowing proposal for the town’s Comprehensive Beach Plan? You’ve got two choices . . . OK . . . maybe three, but you’ll have to move fast if you intend to use a mail-in ballot.

Early, in-person voting opened last weekend and will be offered through Saturday, March 14. Three locations are within a 30-minute drive for Longboat Key residents in Sarasota County – the Supervisor of Elections office at 2001 Adams Lane; the North Sarasota Library, at 2801 Newtown Boulevard and Sarasota Square Mall, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Manatee County residents can cast early ballots in person at the Manatee County Utilities Administration offices at 4410 66th St. W. in Bradenton or the Manatee Supervisor of Elections Office, 600 301 Boulevard W., in Bradenton. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Election Day voting will take place on Tuesday, March 17 at two sites on Longboat Key: Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive (for Manatee County residents) and Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road (for Sarasota County residents).

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vote by mail ballots will be accepted in both counties until voting closes on  Election Day.

Besides the presidential primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties, Longboat residents have a decision to make on borrowing for beach projects.

Voters in both the Bayside and Gulfside districts will cast ballots separately to authorize the town to borrow up to $34.5 million over no more than eight years to pour upwards of 1 million cubic yards of sand on four erosional hotspots: the north end, a stretch around Whitney Beach, a larger spot on the mid-island and the area north of New Pass. Five sand-saving groins are also in the plan for the north end. Manatee County leaders recently agreed to help pay for the groin projects.

Gulfside residents would pay 80% of the debt, Bayside residents 20% if both sides approve the measure.

Town officials stress the terms of the borrowing listed on the ballot are maximums. Over the course of three previous cycles of voter authorization and borrowing for beach projects, about $51 million in borrowing was OK’d, but the town borrowed about $40 million.

The current $34.5 million figure is based on the borrowing for the project without any state reimbursement. Such refunds are competitive and can’t be guaranteed, but town officials said some kind of consideration is likely based on previous experience.


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