Sarasota County Commissioners at odds with city governments

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- It has been a tough week for the Sarasota County Commission. Two meetings, on two issues, with two municipal boards; and during both of those meetings, one outcome: nothing.

After those two meetings, the future of a proposed homeless shelter and Warm Mineral Springs remains uncertain. So we ask the question: Why is it so difficult for city leaders to agree with the county commission? Or, is it the other way around?

Wednesday's budget workshop for the Sarasota County Commission was a cakewalk compared to two meetings earlier this week.

“It's not easy. It's tough to get a consensus.” Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta walked out of Tuesday's meeting with North Port over the future of Warm Mineral Springs. “I've always said, park your ego at the door when you go in that room. We get elected to make decisions, so it's a leadership issue in my opinion. We are ready, willing and able as a county commission.”

Last Monday, that commission, along with the City of Sarasota's, could not agree on a site for a proposed homeless shelter.

“We need to be mature adults. We need to get along. We need to play in the sandbox because it affects all of our citizens,” says City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell.

And so does the upcoming November election, a reason why Atwell believes it's more difficult than ever dealing with other politicians. “Their alliances may change. All of that may change. That's gotta cause some angst among all of us as to what's going to happen with these things that are coming up now.”

What seems to be coming up now is nothing but disagreements.

Barbetta has faith that the county commission and the City of Sarasota will come up with a site for the proposed homeless shelter. However, when it comes to Warm Mineral Springs, he's less optimistic; saying major changes are needed, including new elected officials in North Port.