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Sarasota News Leader June 7, 2013 OPINION Page 65 sion, so the County Commission voted to pro- For six months the two governments have ceed with the drafting of the interlocal agree- wasted many hours and untold dollars in an ment. effort to find a solution to the impasse. In a move that defies credulity, the three North Yet the North Port Commission has not yet Port commissioners effectively proclaimed, formally reviewed or acted upon that agree"Never mind!" ment. That discussion is set for June 10. Nonetheless, based on previous actions, it appears Make no mistake, however: The intransithe city and county are at an impasse that ul- gence of these three commissioners is not timately will have to be resolved in court. at an end. Yates, Cook and DiFranco appear On May 28, the North Port Commission surprisingly voted to rescind its December 2012 motion to sell its half of the property. The commission also voted to proceed unilaterally with negotiating a one-year extension of Cypress Lending's contract, and it offered to buy the county's share of the springs. Understandably taken aback, the County Commission voted in its meeting on June 3 not to sell its share of the springs. Moreover, it formally objected to North Port's intent to negotiate unilaterally with Cypress Lending, in violation of both the ownership agreement and the county's purchasing standards, which require competitive bidding. So now we see the harm that can come when voters care less about whom they vote for and just vote. Three commissioners stopped dead in its track the cooperative effort by the city and county to secure long-term management and development of the springs. ready to negotiate a solution to the conflict between the city and the county … as long as the county agrees wholeheartedly with their dictates. As County Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out in the June 3 meeting, the two governing bodies agreed 10-0 in 2010 to proceed with preserving and developing the springs. Three years later, the two bodies still agree 7-3. A minority of the two commissions — but, sadly, a majority of the North Port Commission — holds hostage the effective utilization of an asset owned by the taxpayers of North Port and Sarasota County. Their ham-handed mismanagement of this entire process has cost those taxpayers greatly, and possibly imperiled the future of a vital resource in Warm Mineral Springs. Their intransigence and, yes, ineptitude, further provide a cautionary tale: It does matter for whom you vote! %

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