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Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 biggest supporter — committee member Fredd "Glossie" Atkins — urged the study committee to leave well enough alone. "I don't believe the county is going to give it up. So I'd urge strong support for the downtown CRA that can participate with Newtown." Page 72 "We've left several things unanswered," said Gallagher. "We're sending off a set of recommendations they can accept or reject or do something halfway," he added. "They'll then have to decide what ends up in the interlocal agreement." Atkins is a five-time city commissioner from At the end of the meeting, Russell tried to sum District One, which includes Newtown. up the group's work. "What's the big headAtkins' opinion was supported by member line? It's, 'Yes, but …' New governance; reset Joel Freedman. "The county is not going to Newtown; fund Newtown. Yes for 30 years, change its mind on Newtown. Venice is watch- but the big item is a change of governance." ing." The group is recommending replacing the However, the study committee voted 5-2 for current Sarasota City Commission as the governing board of the CRA with an oversight "equal treatment" of Newtown. committee comprising two city commissionWHO NEEDS A PLAN? ers, two county commissioners and three As the study committee broke for the holi- citizens appointed by the City Commission. days, its members told city staffers to prepare If the package clears the City and County its final report. At the Jan. 14 meeting, all 85 commissions, and a new governing board is pages of a PowerPoint presentation were disappointed, only then can the real work begin. tributed. If each slide requires 30 seconds to Chairman Dorr said, "We need a broad CRA deliver and register with viewers, the presenplan that meets statutes and strategic area tation will take almost 45 eye-glazing minutes plans with specific objectives for each disfrom start to finish. trict. The CRA would then fund the plans and Furthermore, the document necessary to update the plans on a fairly regular basis. The make anything happen is missing. Nowhere downtown plan hasn't been updated in 15 in the report is a sample or proposed inter- years." local agreement to be found. Nor is there an "executive summary" so vital to busy (or The tentative time for presentation of the distracted or lazy) elected officials. In other findings to a joint meeting of the City and words, there are no "action items." And that County commissions is the afternoon of April Fool's Day. % fact did not go unnoticed.

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