SARASOTA — Two weeks after allocating funding to begin upgrading the Venice Gardens Water Reclamation Facility to advanced wastewater treatment standards, Sarasota County commissioners unanimously appropriated more funding to improve the facility.
That action was one of several taken by commissioners during their regular Tuesday meeting.
As part of their consent agenda, commissioners appropriated $1.4 million to improve the piping and pump systems at the Venice Gardens facility and added the project to the five-year capital improvements program with design work beginning later this month.
Secondly, commissioners approved a budget amendment of $600,000 for the design of a replacement for a deep injection monitoring well at the facility, which serves much of South Venice with a southern boundary at Manasota Beach Road in Englewood.
The facility is at 375 Venice East Blvd., near Alligator Creek.
To open their meeting, commissioners received an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Health and Human Services Director Chuck Henry who told commissioners that things were “…moving in a good direction,” in the county although variants remained a concern to him.
He told commissioners the positivity rate for a seven-day average was at 4.94 percent, down from almost 18 percent a month ago.
While that number reflected good news, Henry also mentioned his concerns about what the picture might looks like in January after the holidays, stressing that vaccinations, wearing masks and social distancing could help reduce the number of infections among county residents.
Also in Henry’s arena, commissioners heard a report from the Health and Human Services Advisory Committee and authorize County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to sign contracts with 30 agencies providing services to county residents in a total amount of $4 million.
Finally, commissioners unanimously gave approval to staff to begin negotiations for the sale of a county-owned property at 4644 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota to Blue Sky Communities. That action furthers a policy decision made by commissioners in February to offer the property for sale to a developer who would provide affordable housing on the site.
A purchase contract will come back to commissioners for discussion and approval at a later date.