LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Tom Bishop, 73, former chairman and current secretary of Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 5, will retire from the board effective in March.
District 5 encompasses 1,173 acres of Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club with 942 residential and 20 commercial units and about 1,606 registered voters. The area is sometimes referred to as Country Club North.
Bishop's six years as a district supervisor started in 2008 at the beginning of the Great Recession,
"I chaired a really good team of dedicated supervisors. We put the infrastructure needs of the community in fairly good order," Bishop said Thursday.
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Notably, there were four years of litigation over collapsing drain fields the district ultimately settled out of court. Collapsed drains have been repaired and a quarterly system for monitoring the drains established, he said.
District supervisors also made a road plan for resurfacing streets, and signed off on a beautification plan developed by district staff.
In addition, the district turned over its potable water and sewage lift stations to Manatee County for operation and maintenance, he said.
Bishop remained neutral on whether Lakewood Ranch should incorporate, a proposition ultimately turned down by voters.
He said all Lakewood Ranch districts have made strides in cooperating and communicating to perform as a single community.
Bishop retired from Monsanto Co., the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology giant, spending his last 10 years running the computer department at company headquarters in St. Louis.
Becoming involved with district management was motivated by a decision to give back, Bishop said.
Now he plans to devote more time to his wife of 29 years, Debra Bishop, his tai chi -- he is an instructor -- and his golf game.
District 5 Chairman Marty Cohn praised Bishop for his calm and patience in working with residents and other supervisors, and for the extraordinary number of hours he devoted to tracking action related to the drain-field litigation.
"He made it easier for us to understand what was hap
pening and to take the next step," Cohn said.
Lakewood Ranch residents living in District 5 interested in serving on the board are invited to submit résumés by e-mail, mail or hand-delivery to Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, Attn: Jessica Mears, Clerk to the Boards, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch FL 34202.
Nearly two full years remain on Bishop's term.
All résumés become public record. Candidates must be a legal resident of Florida and District 5, over the age of 18 and a registered Manatee County voter.
The deadline for submitting a résumé is 5 p.m. Feb. 19. Applicants will be interviewed by district supervisors.
The District 5 supervisor opening is the only one at Lakewood Ranch, said Eva Rey, executive director of the Inter-District Authority.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.