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Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 33 dential and commercial workloads continue to increase justifying the need for additional [full-time employees] to meet our expected level of customer service," the report argues. The county hasn't seen numbers like that since 2005, Greg Yantorno, the county's building official, told the commission. The nine new positions will include one building plans examiner, four building code inspectors, two planners and two customer service representatives. Those customer service reps are needed to deal with the extraordinary increase in calls made to Planning and Development Services, department Director Tom Polk told the commission. "We have phone calls coming into the department that we just Planning and Development Services Director can't handle," he said. On-hold wait times can Tom Polk. Photo by Rachel Hackney last as long as 20 minutes or a half-hour. "We need to get that under control." and Development Services resources were the first to land on the chopping block when the One of the new planners will take the lead on construction economy tanked. If the county overhauling the Sarasota 2050 plan, according wants to be a place where companies want to to the staff report. In a controversial decision, do business, "we need to have those phones the commission recently gave the go-ahead to answered," he said. begin modifying the detailed land-use plan intended to promote walkable, mixed-use com- Commissioner Nora Patterson moved to apmunities, arguing that the 2050 plan was sti- prove the request immediately, but the motion fling new construction. (See the related story died with no second. "I'm willing to trust you, in this issue.) The county wants a candidate as I indicated with my motion, that you're not with "a strong New Urbanism/Design/Form- going to hire people to stand around," she told Based-Coding background and emphasis" Polk. to oversee the 2050 changes, the staff report After a short back-and-forth, during which says. Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Christine RobSeven of the positions will be fully funded inson and Charles Hines seemed to have their through additional revenue generated by the concerns assuaged, Patterson put her motion department, while "sufficient funds" already back out there, and it passed unanimously. exist to cover the two planning jobs. The total ongoing annual cost for the new positions Patterson said the permit and inspection numbers reflect a growing sense of optimism adds up to $730,000. about the economy, and the county should be County Administrator Randy Reid argued for ready to meet that demand: "I think we need the staff increase, pointing out that Planning to be prepared." %

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