Bradenton officials to honor 30-year-old agreement with Village Green homeowners association

Bradenton to pay Village Green $2,000 a year for 1983 pact to maintain property

BRADENTON -- A 30-year-old agreement between the Village Green subdivision and the city of Bradenton has surfaced and city officials debated Wednesday whether to honor the financial commitment made in 1983, because it now goes against city policy.

Still, the Bradenton City Council voted unanimously to uphold the agreement.

The community has been maintaining about 6 acres of city easements within the subdivision since the 1983 agreement was signed with the city, offering a $1,000 annual credit off the association's water bill in exchange for the service, said Steve Mapes, president of the Village Green Homeowners Association.

Mapes said the association is now spending about $3,200 a year to maintain the property. He had been aware of an agreement, but said there was nothing on file with the association to confirm it. After contacting the city, staff found the minutes to a July 1983 city council meeting confirming the city's agreement.

"But we found nothing past 1986 that was credited to us," said Mapes.

Mapes said the association is not seeking to collect funds dating back to 1986, but would like the city to recommit to the agreement and consider "some kind of inflation adjustment."

Ward 1 Councilman Gene Gallo said when the agreement was signed, it was for a water credit, so "no hard money was involved. Obviously, this was an agreement a former council made that is basically contrary to what we do today."

The subdivision went off city water in the 1980s, which is why the water credit stopped, but the association continued to provide the service. Gallo said the city should honor that agreement, and he moved to contribute $2,000 a year to the association's costs.

A unique case

Vice Mayor Bemis Smith expressed concern other associations would want the same benefit. But other officials assured him this was a unique case due to a prior written agreement.

Ward 3 Councilman Patrick Roff praised the association for maintaining the areas better than the city could with limited time. The association has landscaped the area, maintains it and takes care of the irrigation lines installed in the 1980s.

"Even though it's a legal agreement that predates us, it's important to honor contracts," said Roff.

The council agreed to contribute $2,000 annually for 10 years, at which time a future council would revisit the agreement.

Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.