SARASOTA COUNTY - The city of North Port continues to hammer out the future of Warm Mineral Springs. The latest meeting took place Monday, where commissioners decided to send Sarasota County leaders a letter stating their intent to sell their stake in the 81 acre site. They did it however without one commissioner who has fought to keep it.
With the springs still on many minds, Commissioner Tom Jones is absent. "Speaking on behalf of the Commission and everybody here we wish him well. Whatever his condition is. The best to him and his family," says Mayor Linda Yates.
Jones has some sort of health issue which put him in the hospital last week. "He brings another dynamic to this," says resident Bill Delp. Jones has fought to partner with the business community to use it as an economic driver while some are concerned with development and the role of government. "Without the tension of the different polarities you can't develop a clear goal of intention."
Some commissioners like Cheryl Cool believed they should wait to even discuss it without him. "We are very passionate about this particular project. To go forward without him at this particular time I believe would be if not inappropriate then maybe disrespectful."
"I am concerned about a 2-2 vote. That's a no vote," says Commissioner Jim Blucher. Recently the majority of commissioners voted to sell the spring if the process with Sarasota County did not go in a different direction. The deal with those who currently run it is set to expire in a few months. "We have until June for the current operator that is up there. We have to change that."
Monday the talks ultimately continued without Jones. The future of springs and Jones health in question. "We just ask that everyone please say a little prayer for Commissioner Jones. It sounds like it's going to be a couple weeks before we know the extent," says Blucher.
City officials say Jones will be out a minimum of two weeks. What exactly his health issue is has not been released.