Sarasota News Leader

06/28/2013

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Sarasota News Leader June 28, 2013 Page 57 that are doing it wrong need to be put out of However, Barbetta pointed out that Anderbusiness." son had told the board Anderson had not researched whether private firms that trim • By a 3-2 vote, with Robinson and Hines in the minority, the board approved an appro- trees for utility companies could handle the priation of $100,000 for the Library System to vertical vegetation mowing at a lower cost. enable it to purchase new materials for col- Moreover, Barbetta noted, referring to othlections. Libraries Director Sarabeth Kalajian er comments Anderson had made, "We had requested the funding, saying, "Our collection all this equipment and we sold it … and I'm still disturbed by that whole thing and what is pretty lean and very well-used." we've gone through in the past six years on The county spent $1.5 million on its collecmowing …" tion in the 2007 fiscal year, Kalajian pointed out. The next year, that amount dropped to "It's come back to bite us," he added of county $500,000 because of cutbacks necessitated by employees' decision to sell mowing equipment the recession. during the recession to cut costs. "It's a hard "The collections are more important than the thing to forget," he said, though he added he was not criticizing Anderson, who was not sufacilities," Patterson said. pervising mowing at that time. Barbetta seconded Patterson's motion. "It's a proven fact your library system probably is After the first motion failed, Hines suggested one of the best around," he said. "Per capita, the county buy one piece of equipment and one pickup truck. it's very inexpensive." • By a 3-2 vote, with Robinson and Barbetta dissenting, the board approved about $246,000 for specialized equipment — a "long-arm mower" — for what Field Services Director Anderson referred to as "vertical vegetation maintenance," or tree-trimming, on the county's rights of way, plus the cost of one pickup truck to transport the crew to the mower. An initial motion by Patterson for one longarm mower, plus $100,000 for the rehabilitation of landscaped medians, failed on a 2-3 vote, with only Mason supporting Patterson. THE RESERVES By the time the discussions ended on June 21, Robinson pointed out that the board had just increased the amount of money it would be drawing from its reserve fund to plug the gap in the FY 2014 budget. During the June 12 workshop, Steve Botelho, the county's chief financial planning officer, had projected the amount at $27.7 million, though he said the county used only $9.2 million in FY 2012 and indicated it might not use much more than that in FY 2013 or FY 2014. "I still feel the most important thing that we need to do is to maintain the appearance of "From what I see," Robinson told her colour community," Patterson said. leagues, "[the reserve spending] went from "I agree with your reasoning," Mason replied. seven figures to eight figures today …" %

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