Sarasota News Leader

08/02/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 2, 2013 Page 61 management put off maintenance because of the economic downturn. Now the orchestra is ready to make up for lost time and tackle almost $500,000 in deferred repairs. But the center sits on leased city land, and the lease — like virtually any lease of city property — demands certain standards so the city does not get caught holding the bill. It requires a performance bond or a letter of credit to cover the entire cost of the construction activity. And it requires adherence to the state building code, which in this case necessitated that a state-certified general contractor sign the building permit application. The Sarasota Orchestra will not put itself or the city in an awkward position. On those particular points last week, the orchestra was deficient. A special meeting of the City Commission was called for Wednesday, Joseph McKenna. Photo courtesy of Sarasota July 31, to consider how to get the organizaOrchestra tion out of its quandary. Should the lease be modified? Should the financial requirements problem. But the "general contractor" issue be changed? And what about that state statute still loomed. requiring a general contractor? "If this was a private concern, would they need From a legal point of view, if the city relaxed a general contractor?" asked Mayor Shannon the standards for the orchestra, would oth- Snyder. "Do they need a general contractor?" er city leaseholders demand the same treat- he repeated. ment? That question vexed City Attorney Bob "The lease says any work requires a general Fournier. contractor," replied Commissioner Paul Cara- THE UNTANGLING giulo. "This is a building code issue." It took only an hour on July 31 for the orchestra representatives and the City Commission to find a common sheet of music, so to speak. Joe McKenna, the chief executive officer of the orchestra, had met with city staffers — including Barwin — on July 23. At that time, the bonding was insufficient and the general contractor requirement was unmet. "As required by the state building code," said the mayor. "The Sarasota Orchestra will not put itself or the city in an awkward position," said McKenna on July 31. He had arranged for a bigger line of credit, which eliminated the bonding It appeared the orchestra was stymied until McKenna told the commissioners, "Well, one of our contractors is a general contractor." Tada. Big finish. Lights dawned. If McKenna could get his general contractor to sign the building permit application, the final hurdle would be removed — along with the entire reason for the special meeting of the City Commission. Thus came the coda to the confusion. And all was well. %

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