County 2020 Priorities Correctly Focus on Infrastructure

Guest Correspondence

BY CHRISTINE ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JAN 18, 2020

The County Commission has set its Board priorities for 2020.  The final agenda was ratified this past Tuesday. It was divided into two lists, “Top Priorities” and “High Priorities.” These lists tell us what the county commission is thinking about, where they want staff to focus, and what they want to do in the future.

On behalf of The Argus Foundation, I would like to congratulate the County Commission and county administration for a list that is infrastructure heavy, as it should be.

The County 2020 Board Priorities: Policy Action Agenda

Top Priorities

  • Future of County Administration Location
  • Medical Examiner/Coroner/Emergency Services Building
  • Mote Funding: If, When, How
  • Affordable and Workforce Housing
  • Solutions to Ensure Wastewater at AWT Standards
  • Modern Mobility/Transit

High Priorities

  • Bay Park Conservancy
  • Sport Tourism Development Strategy: Goals, Best Practices, Report with Options, County Role and Direction
  • Progress on Design and/or Funding for “Gap” Roads
  • Road Resurfacing: Service Level, Direction and Funding Increase Decision
  • Stormwater Policy and Management: Direction, Project Priorities and Funding Mechanism

With over 60% of this agenda targeted on infrastructure, the Commission has focused this agenda to the appropriate role of county government.  

Commissioner Nancy Detert aptly called items like these “unglitzy.”  She’s right; there are no fun ribbon cuttings when it comes to road resurfacing or stormwater. But it’s the correct direction, and much of the infrastructure priorities listed also affects the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.

This list is not something that catches the attention of local news for a sustained period. It’s unlikely to be a conversation piece on social media, and it is not the type of thing that packs a commission room full of people wearing the uniformed T-shirt color du jour. 

This list should be that way though. You should know where your commission is going in its thoughts this year and just as you would take the time to complain about something you don’t like, you should take the time now to tell them that infrastructure matters. These priorities reflect a thoughtful start to 2020 and will create a legacy for each of these county commissioners.

Let’s hope that they follow through and don’t get distracted by the “glitzy” stuff, that they always think about these priorities when they are allocating budget dollars, and that that the resurfacing of a road doesn’t get replaced by an optional amenity. 

Thank you Sarasota County Commissioners for your focus on what matters. Thank you to the County Administration for making sure that infrastructure is considered in your budget proposals. Thank you to county staff for understanding that your honesty as to the status of our infrastructure is vital for our decision makers. 

The Argus Foundation supports an agenda that is infrastructure-focused with health, safety, and welfare in mind.  We congratulate county government. Now, stay the course.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation.

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