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ABOUT FACE ON PARKING During the April 29 meeting, the DID board — by a 3-1 vote — authorized a letter suggesting any consideration of paid parking downtown by the City Commission should be postponed for two years. At the suggestion of the city attorney, on May 13, it voted to rescind the motion and schedule more discussion at its May 27 meeting. There was some grumbling in City Hall about the DID's earlier action because it came with- out any staff or citizen input. It occurred during the "director's comments" section of the meeting, when DID board member Eileen Hampshire reported on discussions of the Parking Advisory Committee, on which she represents the DID. DID Operations Manager John Moran told the group on May 13, "We made an error at the last meeting. The state passed a bill on ran- dom motions made by boards that are not on the agenda. The public is not able to partici- pate in the discussion or even be aware. The 3-1 vote on delaying paid parking — under Senate Bill 50, the motion was unlawful." Hampshire was the member in the minority when that vote was taken, but she was not pleased with the undoing of the vote. "It was a noticed meeting. I was giving a report to this board about another I sit on representing this board. If we can only discuss topics on the agenda, it doesn't seem right," she said. "You can always listen, but not decide," Moran replied. GEARING UP FOR MORE GUARDS The Downtown Improvement District board is thinking of joining a growing number of organizations hiring private security. At the next meeting, the members will hear propos- als regarding employing off-duty city police officers for $33 per hour each or private secu- rity guards at $20 per hour. Pineapple Square already uses guards around its property. Last week, the Downtown Merchants Association voted to test the waters and devote $2,000 for a trial period. DID Chairman Ritz says he has hired guards after waking up on Mother's Day to find two vagrants sleeping on his porch downtown. "We want to get it started now," said Ron Soto, DID member and president of the Downtown merchants group. There is growing concern among merchants and restaurateurs that downtown is saturated with vagrants and homeless people and that that situation is driving customers away. % Search for text in stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and entering a search term. Search the current edition or all editions. QUICK TIP Search Only The Issue You Are Viewing Search All Issues Your search term here Sarasota News Leader May 16, 2014 Page 49

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