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Sarasota News Leader May 17, 2013 Page 18 on what capital projects should be funded for the next five fiscal years. After Robinson remarked, "Believe me, I've been sweating the whole weekend" over the county's five-year unfunded Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) list, Barbetta said, "I was looking forward to today. That's what we're elected to do, to make tough decisions …" If the County Commission waited until 2017, as Patterson suggested, to make a new policy decision on reserves, the $8 million would be worth only about 55 percent to 60 percent of its value today, Barbetta added. "We can't just keep sitting with a doomsday scenario and say, 'Well, it's going to be bad until 2017, so we should wait.'" Suzanne Gable awaits the resumption of the budget workshop on May 14. Photo by Rachel Hackney He continued, "We just keep parking money in places … We need to build a tax base [or] She also voiced concern about whether the we're never going to grow." shift in the reserve policy could affect the Hines then qualified his support for chang- county's AAA bond rating. ing the reserve policy, saying that while he was comfortable with a 75-day reserve, "that After the vote, Robinson asked staff whether doesn't mean I want to take that $8 million … Patterson was correct in her last point. and just throw it into a spreadsheet and just Gable responded that it was not likely the do whatever's on there." policy change would affect the county's bond He did concur with Barbetta that the commis- rating. sion needed to decide what it could and could However, when Robinson then asked whether not afford in terms of capital projects even staff had foreseen the reduction in the counthough "we will take the political heat publicly ty's bond rating for its Environmentally Sensiif we have to postpone somebody's want on tive Lands fund a couple of years ago, Botelho this list." pointed out that the rating agencies were not Patterson countered that the county had in- fully aware of all the facts related to that acvested millions in upgrades at Ed Smith Stadi- count when they acted to lower the rating. um, where the Baltimore Orioles hold spring Still, Robinson said, staff had not anticipated training, and $20 million in Nathan Bender- that action on the part of the agencies … and son Park, which is trying to win a bid to host then [the lower rating] hit us over the head the 2017 World Rowing Championships. That like a brick." money could have been used for other projects, she pointed out. "Correct," Botelho said of her assessment. %

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