SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - After nine years as Venice mayor, John Holic has reached his term limit. Now it’s time for him to step aside as a new mayor prepares to take over.
Holic said he only intended to serve one term of three years as the mayor of Venice, but quickly realized there was much to be done.
Anyone who knows him, knows his office is usually full of stacks of papers, but Friday, the wood of the mayor’s unusually empty desk was actually visible.
“It feels weird," he said. "Very weird.”
Holic said the nine years went unbelievably quickly, but for someone who was only planning to sit in this seat for three years, it lasted a long time.
'The first three years was literally working on just changing things over," Holic said. “I didn’t really do any new initiatives. It was in the depth of the recession, so we didn’t have money for new initiatives.”
Recovering from that economy was one of his greatest challenges in office.
“So the first three years in office saw a continual decline in the value of our property in the city," he explained. "And as the property values go down, the tax base goes down, so we had less and less revenue.”
It took the entire term to get out of that.
Then Holic said he stayed for another three years to get started on the initiatives that brought him here in the first place.
“There were some things that were really, really needed," he said. "We did a complete study probably over a six- or seven-year period on the fire department.”
Finally deciding on consolidating the EMS and fire service is one of Holic’s notable accomplishments. He’s also most proud of decisions to upgrade department head staff, the public safety facility and roads in Venice.
But if he could change one thing, it would be the City of Venice’s relationship with Sarasota County.
“There’s more money spent on county projects, much more money spent in north county than in south county," he said.
An example he gives is the Legacy Trail.
“$65 million to put 11 miles of trail in, all north," he started. "$2 million to connect Venice to North Port.”
That strained relationship is why Holic said his next feat will be running for County Commission, but only if County Commissioners do not approve the proposed map that redistricts Venice out of its current District 5.
His last day in office is November 19.
“In my heart of hearts, I think the city is better off now, than it was when I took office. My hope is that the next mayor can make it even better," Holic said.