12A SUN NEWSPAPERS
BOARD FROM PAGE 1 further,” Anderson said. Regardless, the board agreed to host a formal presentation on forms of government, if for no other reason than to get
MORE FROM PAGE 1 It also has about 500 or so private funds established by donors who either designate where they want their largesse to go or who leave it up to foundation management to pick causes that fit their charitable goals. The foundation’s most recent IRS form 990 shows numerous gifts made in
COUNCIL FROM PAGE 1 thereafter for a private attorney-client session related to the Demitri Serianni v. City of Venice
REFINE FROM PAGE 1 been approved. But it is the kind of development that the now defunct Venice Taxpayers League, whose board Patten served on, had opposed in the past. VTL sued the city over building the Venetian Golf & River Club and lost.
Flagship hotel Candidates were asked if they believe a flagship hotel should be built on the island. Again, Sherman and Anderson said yes. Sherman said he didn’t know if the city would be able
OCTOBER 8, 2011 • WEEKEND EDITION background on current government practices. The board will also review a model charter developed by the National Civic League specifically for council/city manager forms of government. The group hopes to whittle the issues it ultimately addresses down
to seven or eight. When first discussing the charter board, council raised issues like reviewing the number of council members and whether they should be elected by district, and council compensation, including health care benefits.
Mayor John Holic wrote the board a memo Thursday stating the board is under no time constraints to update the current city charter. As for considering other forms of government, Holic said it wasn’t what he envisioned when he made the request to
create the board. “That was beyond my thought process, but I don’t know if it is beyond council’s,” he said. “My answer would be, if you find a better form of government, then bring it before us.” The charter board is scheduled to meet
Oct. 18, Nov. 2, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7. All meetings begin at 9 a.m. in council chambers at city hall, although the board is seeking input on whether the public would be interested in evening meetings.
Sarasota County, but also donations to, for example, the American Humanist Association in Washington, D.C., the Care Plus Foundation in Paramus, N.J., and the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles. But other corporations are housed at the foundation as well. Besides the foundation and the endowment, there is also Gulf Coast Strategic Investments Inc., established in 2005, using
an Orlando law firm, to support the foundation’s charitable endeavours, according to its articles of incorporation. The foundation’s articles had been amended in 2003, prior board members say, to allow it to deal in real property, and GCSI was created to handle those dealings. Its most recent 990 says it purpose is “accepting gifts of complex assets, leveraging real estate to improve the quality of life in the communities it serves and
maximizing the return on investments through portfolio diversification in real estate.” It is the managing member of yet another company, The Bridges Land Holdings LLC, created in 2007 in connection with the property in North Venice where the foundation intended to build a housing community known as The Bridges. For 2009 GCSI reported year-end assets of $19.7 million and
liabilities of $26.6 million, for a $6.9 million negative fund balance. Also calling 601 South Tamiami Trail home are LR Development LLC, created in 2005; NJT LLC, created in 2005; and AAB GCSI LLC, created in 2007. Each has GCSI as its managing member. The articles of organization for these limited liability companies don’t state the reason for their existence. The Institute of
Philanthropy Inc. is also based at the foundation. Incorporated separately in 2000 by several foundation directors, the 2003 annual report it filed with the state shows it had relocated its principal place of business to the foundation’s offices. Foundation CEO and president Teri Hansen has been the only officer or director it has reported since 2007.
lawsuit. The public is not allowed to attend. Serianni, a Venice police officer, is suing the city over disciplinary measures that were imposed on him, alleging he is the victim of a hostile work environment.
Also on the Oct. 11 agenda: • Police Chief Tom McNulty will describe the new VPD community outreach plan. • Fire Chief John Reed and Building Department official Vince Laporta will
update council on plans to conduct fire and safety inspections and updated permit fees. • A new slate of state legislative priorities for 2012. • A resolution formally authorizing the Nov. 8
city election and designating polling places. • Requests to approve special events, including Oktoberfest, with alcohol, at the Farmers Market on Oct. 22; Cyclovia Venice on Nov. 20; and the Venice International
Book Fair at Centennial Park on Feb. 11, 2012, to benefit the Triangle Inn. • An update by Mayor John Holic on the northsouth connector road in North Venice.
to attract a national chain as an anchor at this time, but would like to see it happen. Anderson said the bad economy is preventing the city from entertaining any offers in the short term, and suggested the Circus Arena or Marker 4 property for such a project in the next 10 years. Lefebvre said he did not support the idea, citing 150 hotels and B&Bs in the Greater Venice area. “What happens to all of them?” he asked. Patten answered yes, but later stated he misunderstood the question. As a board member of VTL he fought against numerous hotel proposals, including a possible Marriott hotel on airport
property back in 2006. Asked if the candidates feel that revitalizing the Circus Arena is the best use for that property, Sherman and Lefebvre said they support its redevelopment. Lefebvre liked its stated plan to cover the roof with solar panels that could save the city utility costs. Sherman said it could serve as an economic anchor for the city. Anderson said it might be better zoned for light industrial. It’s “way too expensive” to rehab and has asbestos issues, Patten said.
know how the candidates would balance the budget. Patten said it “isn’t going to happen.” He criticized high attorney fees and recommended the city hire an in-house attorney. Anderson said there’s not much more left to do as far as budget cutting and that things “could get worse.” Lefebvre said council did a good job to “stop the bleeding,” but wants a more proactive council “to get people to spend their fun money down here.” “I think council has done a phenomenal job” with the budget, Sherman said. Council needs to think “outside the box in the future,” he
said, referring to potential development at the Marker 4 location.
with VTL. Sherman is the only candidate to have served on a city board. He chairs the Architectural Review Board and is on the boards of the Triangle Inn and Venice MainStreet. He is a member of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce and Sertoma and other clubs. A contractor by trade, Sherman was asked by then city manager Isaac Turner to serve on a committee that developed “Partnering 4 Success,” which resulted in the overhaul of the city’s planning and zoning services. “I’m involved in virtually everything,” Sherman said.
Balanced budget Rotary and Sertoma members wanted to
Community service Candidates struggled to answer the question of what service clubs and civic organizations helped prepare them to serve on city council. Lefebvre’s only involvement since coming to the area has been tutoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Anderson pointed to his Venice Area Chamber of Commerce membership and participation in the Voters Choice referendum petition on council health-care benefits, which was called off. Patten cited his work
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