With Manatee County starting to receive the additional revenue from the half-cent infrastructure sales tax, the county has extended the deadline to be one of the watchdogs to make sure the county spends the revenue properly.
But there is a catch: You have to live in unincorporated Manatee County.
While the initial deadline to apply for the seven seats on the Citizens Oversight Committee for the Infrastructure Sales Tax, which was adopted by voters on Nov. 8, was earlier this month, the county commission voted Tuesday to accept applications through Feb. 28.
“The committee’s role is only looking at unincorporated projects,” County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said.
Since it is really only for the unincorporated county, Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said only have people who live in the unincorporated area should serve on the committee.
“The committee is strictly to make sure we are doing what we said we would do,” Baugh said. “We made promises to the public. We need to make sure we adhere to them.”
To add or delete any projects that would be funded by the revenue would require a public hearing by the commission, according to Hunzeker.
“You can’t spend any of the money from the proceeds until this committee is appointed,” he said.
The county is in the process of developing a five-year Capital Improvement Program, which will include sales tax-funded projects, that will be presented to the commission in June, Hunzeker said.
“The purpose of this committee is to render a report to the board and community that the projects funded in the Capital Improvement Program from proceeds of the sales tax only come from the list that you included in referendum process,” he said.
Hunzeker said he did not know whether the cities would be doing their own oversight committees.
Also on Tuesday, the commission:
- Approved the ground lease and development agreement for the hotel at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. The lease between the county and Improvement Network Development Partners is for 40 years with two options to renew for 10 years in exchange for nominal rent, according to agenda materials.
- Heard an update about the sewage spill in Ellenton, which happened last week. “You are going to have a few of these,” said Mike Gore, the county’s utilities director. “All in all, we are doing well.”
- Adopted a resolution in support of state funding for Centerstone of Florida Psychiatric Residency Program. “Currently, there is a local and statewide shortage of psychiatrists,” according to agenda materials.
- Accepted the increased reclamation bond amount for Mosaic Fertilizer LLC’s Altman Tract, which will now be $7.1 million.
- Accepted the increased reclamation bond amount for Mosaic Fertilizer LLC’s Four Corners Mine, which will now be $26.3 million.
- Approved amendments to the county’s Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plans dating back to 2014-15. The amendments include increasing funding on some projects while eliminating funding for others, including a 15th Street East sidewalk project that will be reconsidered in the next funding cycle.
- Voted to have a work session to revisit the possibility of turning the Old Jail Building into affordable housing. Commissioners still have many questions after The Croghan Company, doing business as Connect Bradenton, withdrew its proposal last November.