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Hilario Ramos, front, and Baran Gundogan, of Bradenton, grind out the final 2 kilometers for Manatee County Rowing Club during the second annual Battle of the Bridges held in September 2019 in Venice.

VENICE — Representatives of the Sarasota Scullers didn’t get City Council approval of the third annual Battle of the Bridges rowing regatta on Tuesday.

But that’s OK, because they didn’t actually need it.

Nor did they get the City Council to sign off on a $2,000 event sponsorship. They didn’t need that either.

As City Manager Ed Lavallee explained, the BOB, as it’s called, is an established event, which means it can be approved at the staff level as long as there are no significant changes to it.

And under both a new policy on sponsorships — and the one that predated it — the event qualifies for a city contribution to offset costs such as trash pickup.

The maximum was $2,500, which the event received the last two years. The new policy reduced it to $2,000 but now allows the event sponsor to include the cost of police coverage.

That also doesn’t need Council approval, as long as the sponsor isn’t looking for more money than the policy allows.

The Scullers reduced their request this year specifically to stay within the new policy.

Council members expressed enthusiasm for the regatta but passed the approval of the event and the city’s contribution along to staff, per the policy.

The Battle of the Bridges is set to take place Sept. 26.

Lavallee said staff would communicate to the Coast Guard — which needs to authorize a safety zone in the Intracoastal Waterway, where the races are held — that it has city approval.

Other business

Also on Tuesday the Council:

• rejected a vested-rights petition for a property south of Substation Road. The owner was trying to retain prior zoning in order to build fewer units than required under the comprehensive plan. A comp plan amendment already in process will achieve the same result, Council members reasoned.

• approved an ordinance authorizing a fee schedule for emergency medical services and a resolution setting the fees.

• approved preliminary plat amendments for the Mirasol (formerly Portifino) and Palencia projects in North Venice, as well as a corrected master plan and developer’s agreement for Palencia.

• because of the COVID-19 pandemic, approved memos of understanding with the city’s four employee unions waiving the “use it or lose it” provision in their contracts, which would cost members vacation time. The city’s personal procedures were similarly amended.

• approved spending up to $40,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund for a drug-detecting dog and a vehicle.

Watch the video of the meeting at VeniceGov.com, under the “Meetings” header.


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