Encouraged by Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight,
the Board of County Commissioners lead by Nokomis
residents Alan Maio, & Charles
voted on December 13th to construct a Vehicle
Maintenance Facility on the newly opened Honore' Avenue
at Laurel Road. This vote was in
spite pleas from neighbors, NACA & a petition of about
Of Public Assets? Land value 5+ million
depending on zoning (and the county controls the
In their view, this land use is
appropriate for the Eastern Gateway To Laurel, North
Venice and Nokomis. Of course, using just 4 acres
this 14 acre building site for a commercial use such as
a hotel would generate about $250,000 in taxes annually
- not including the jobs
created, or the taxes generated by those jobs.
This also does not include the cash generated from the
sale of the property with a high dollar
value. And, in their wise view, this is the best
site for the next 50 years even though there is a much
larger site, already owned by the county,
& appropriately zoned for government use (GU) on
Knight's Trail at Rustic Road. This site is
adjacent other Sheriff facilities, & was
identified by Sarasota County during two studies in 2006
& 2007 as ideal for expansion & consolidation of
Sheriff facilities (our NACA President
at the time was part of the study group). This
report was ignored by the County Commissioners & Sheriff.
Sheriff Knight told NACA leaders that he
was not made
aware of this study
by staff or County Commissioners. The Knights
Trail site is also large enough to accommodate the
"white fleet" which is also in need of a new location.
There can be some shared costs if both facilities are in
the same location.
"Is it possible that our county leaders are
contemplating a similar 2nd fleet maintenance
construction project for the "white fleet" at a cost
the threshold for a public referendum?"
When the 2006 & 2007 studies were
offered to our local Nokomis Commissioner Maio, he
declined to accept them for review and sharing.
"It's just public tax money
- 22 million a small amount." Trusted fiscal
strategy of separating projects is a slick way to
avoid a public conversation & referendum on a major government
repeatedly criticized for not getting involved earlier
in the process before final decisions were made.
Sheriff Knight told NACA leaders
that he's been working on this project for 18 months with county
commissioners. Of course, NACA didn't learn about
this proposed project until after the
neighborhood workshop was held last May. NACA was not
included in the notice process for the required
neighborhood workshop. This is in spite
of repeated attempts to be placed on the mailing list
for all Nokomis area projects. Our former NACA
President was the Chairman of the
Planning Commission at the time. He didn't learn of this
project until after the neighborhood workshop was held,
& he received resident inquiries.
In our view, it
is the responsibility of the county to be transparent
and effectively notify citizens vs. placing the blame & burden
Elections matter - & our residents need to keep
this issue in our minds when this group of elected
officials come calling for our money
& votes down the road. Commissioners Paul
Caragiulo, & Alan Maio both are
up for re-election in two years. We suspect that they are already
in the beginning stages of strategy planning, & fund raising
efforts for their race two years down the road.
PERSPECTIVE: NACA plans to be vigilant in
monitoring this, & other County Commissioner activities
& votes. Our
trust has proven to have been
misplaced when it comes to this project. We did not
believe that the Sheriff & County Commissioners would
be building a vehicle maintenance facility
at one of the Sarasota I-75 gateway entrance.
decision does not make sense when weighed against the
viable alternative on Knight's
Trail nearby. Effective communication with the
could have prevented this damage by "friendly fire" &
a much better, long term solution could
have be achieved. This is a mistake that will
many generations! Presently, we're still stinging
badly from this great betrayal by people we trusted. We seek to be much more keen
& strong communicators going forward. Please stay
check back often!
Contact a NACA Board Member if you'd
like to learn more, and/or become a NACA volunteer.