NORTH PORT, Fla. - The saga surrounding Warm Mineral Springs heated up in North Port Thursday. Working to beat a June 30th deadline, city commissioners are trying to come up with a plan to either extend the contract with the current operator or take over operations themselves.
The long term future of development over conservation will be decided later. For now in the short term the focus is on keeping the spring open for those who use it and those who work it. "We have been pounding and pounding that we want jobs in this community. We are about to throw away four dozen jobs," says Commissioner Cheryl Cook.
Conversation about extending the current operator Cypress Lending. County leaders have threatened legal action over that says city attorney Rob Robinson. "Leaving Cypress Lending in place with no competitive solicitation process even for a day I do not think is palatable to the county."
Trying to also come up with a back up plan says Mayor Linda Yates. "I believe to keep this site open is for both commissions to direct staff that whatever you need to do then do it."
Having government staff take over. With just two weeks to get ready city manager Jonathan Lewis says it might not be so easy. "I can't make you that guarantee that we can get everything in place and keep it open by July 1st. We would do everything in our power to make sure that was true."
The deadline and pressure bearing its weight. At one point Cook and Yates getting heated when cook suggested the Mayor was making faces about one of her comments. "Excuse me I have the floor. Point of order."
Needing to get on the same page says Commissioner Jim Blucher. "Lets stop point fingers at whose fault it is for getting us to this point. Lets just try to move forward on getting this."
Perhaps making concessions and hoping to get some in order to avoid the embarrassment and financial impact of seeing the spring shuttered if even for a little says Yates. "Because of the short term nature of this it's more of what can you live with."
Of course all of it Thursday is just the half of it. County Commissioners will now get the latest information and have their say with that deadline looming.