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from the city's sewage treatment plant. The parcel at 1330 N. Osprey Ave., which is the highest ranked of those identified for a shel- ter location by homelessness and vagrancy consultant Robert Marbut, was to have been used for that staging area. With the other property under lease, the 1330 N. Osprey site would be clear for shelter construction. The lease to use the additional land as a "stag- ing area" for the well work will cost $1,075 per month, and the city proposes to pay for it from "homeless project funds." Putting the supplies, machinery and parking elsewhere will allow shelter construction. In the evening session, the commissioners will conduct two public hearings on ordinances involving vagrancy. One would ban people from "sitting, standing or placing objects in roadway medians and roundabouts." This springs from an individual who regu- larly inhabits the center of the roundabout at Charles Ringling Boulevard and South Pineapple Avenue. His encampment is on the apron of the center of the roundabout, where he displays his paintings. A second public hearing on another ordinance is designed to streamline the city's "lodging out-of-doors" law, bringing it into line with the county's regulations. Consultant Marbut recommended the city and county harmonize their ordinances aimed at behavior demon- strated by homeless and vagrant people. REAL POLICY ISSUES After untangling the issue of downtown parades versus concrete trucks, scraping the barrel to pay for construction overruns and stamping out the homeless "fires," the com- missioners can turn their attention to other issues of lasting importance. The first public hearing of the evening could be a showdown between two hired guns — the city and county attorneys. The issue is a "reset" of the Newtown Community Redevelopment Agency's benchmark year for collection of tax-increment financing money. The county attorney says the city cannot do that by itself. The city attorney has stuffed his proposed ordinance with multiple references to reasons why the city can do what it wants. This is not a trivial question, because over the coming decades, it will mean the difference between nothing and something for Newtown redevelopment. It is doubtful the City and County commissions want a showdown over this issue, because the implications are vast. The political gods will be watching closely. The skids also are well greased for an after- noon issue involving the city and county. The City Manager Tom Barwin. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 18, 2014 Page 61

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