May 4, 2020

7:00 PM

This CRA Board Meeting was conducted utilizing Communications Media Technology in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Some Board and Staff members were present in the Commission Chambers while others were present via the Zoom application to respect the social distancing guidelines.


CRA Board Members Present in Chambers:

Shirley Groover Bryant, Presiding Officer

Harold Smith


CRA Board Members Present Electronically:

Tamara Cornwell, Chair

Tambra Varnadore, Vice Chair

Jonathan Davis

Brian Williams


Staff Present in chambers:

Mark Barnebey, City Attorney

Mohammed Rayan, Public Works Deputy Director

Scott Tyler, Chief of Police


Staff Present Electronically:

Jeff Burton, CRA Director

Jim Freeman, City Clerk

Allen Tusing, Public Works Director

Amber LaRowe, Assistant City Clerk

Todd Williams, Information Technology (IT) Consultant


Mayor Bryant called the meeting to order at





Motion:           Mr. Davis moved, Mr. Williams seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve the May 4, 2020 CRA Board Agenda with the removal of item 3. B. from the Consent Agenda.




No comments.



a. February 24, 2020 CRA Board Minutes

b. Resolution 2020-02 Budget Amendment and Haben Blvd. Property Purchase -Removed


Motion:     Mrs. Cornwell moved, Mr. Davis seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve the May 4, 2020 CRA Board Consent Agenda as recommended by staff.






Anne Marshall, President of the Woman’s Club of Palmetto, was present in Chambers to answer questions if necessary.


Mr. Smith was curious as to why the CRA is wanting to purchase this property. Mr. Burton stated that the CRA Plan allows for the CRA to purchase historical properties; this Club is on the National Register and he feels it is best for the City for the CRA to purchase to maintain and preserve the building and its history. The Woman’s Club is not interested in leasing or running the Club from the building, they have vacated. The CRA plans to run the Club as currently run, to allow for rentals and use of the building by the public. Mr. Burton stated that Mrs. Kilgore is in charge of handling rentals now, but his intent is to issue a Request for Proposal for a third party to manage the building. Mr. Burton also intends to seek grants to help improve the building.


Mr. Smith then inquired about the East Palmetto Woman’s Club, if the CRA would be offering to purchase their building as well. Mr. Burton stated that if they wish to enter into an agreement similar to this than they are able to do so; he has spoken to them before, recently, and informed them of such opportunity. Mr. Burton stated he is willing to meet with them again to understand what their intent is with the building and with the property.


Ms. Marshall stated that the Palmetto Woman’s Club has no intent on using the building or the office. She explained there are some files in there that need to stay with the building and she also indicated that there is equipment in there that will stay with the building. The Club has taken all that belongs to them and has vacated the building.


Mrs. Cornwell would like to meet with Mr. Burton later regarding this topic.


Mrs. Varnadore requested that an inventory be made of the personal property that is in the building as of today. Mr. Burton indicated that staff can do that with a digital camera.


Motion:     Mrs. Varnadore moved, Mr. Williams seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to amend the CRA contract to purchase the Palmetto Woman's Club for $215,000 with a change in the Time for Acceptance in Section 3 to May 13, 2020 and the Closing Date in Section 4 to June 5, 2020 and approve the CRA Presiding Officer or CRA board Chairman to sign the contract.





Motion:           Mrs. Varnadore moved, Mr. Davis seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to ratify the requested 30-day extension of contract with Soho-Sight Development due to external market conditions and authorize the CRA Presiding Officer or Board Chair to sign.


Attorney Barnebey stated that due to the complications from COVID and financing, Soho Sight has asked for another 120 day extension, with similar terms as the 30 day extension. He would like the Board to consider approval of this with the caveat that the survey, environmental and title will only be granted a 60 day extension.


Mrs. Varnadore questioned the Development agreeing to additional deposits. Attorney Barnebey said it is something that the Board can require, but they do not want to go live with the deposit. Mrs. Varnadore was not keen on not asking for more deposits for the granting of this four month extension. Mr. Williams echoed what Mrs. Varnadore stated.


Motion:     Mrs. Varnadore moved, Mr. Williams seconded, and the motion carried 5-0 to approve a 120 day extension of the contract for due diligence due to the external market; the title, survey and environmental due diligence issues are to be raised and objected within 60 days and authorize the CRA Presiding Officer to sign.


The Board made it very clear that any and all extensions after this will require another deposit.




Mr. Burton made a presentation to the Board as attached in the agenda. This presentation was an emergency rehabilitation proposal for the businesses in the community. Assistance with utility bill payments during the COVID pandemic. His presentation highlighted the steps that would be required to create this type of program. An agreement would have to be reached between the CRA and Manatee County. Although the presentation stated small businesses, Mr. Burton indicated it would apply to all businesses in the CRA district. A dollar threshold would be established by the Board and applied to all businesses the same. All payments would be authorized by the Board at the monthly Board meetings before the payments were made.


Mrs. Cornwell inquired about businesses who have received financial assistance from the Federal Government, would they still be entitled to this program. Mr. Burton stated that, at this point in time, it would be hard to ascertain that information; therefore, he opined that providing assistance uniformly is the best way. Mrs. Cornwell was not keen on the idea of basically “double dipping”. That businesses who have received little to no help should be the ones first to get assistance.


Mr. Smith agreed with Mrs. Cornwell and would prefer businesses that have not gotten any assistance be the ones to receive it.


Discussion ensued regarding criteria, applications and small vs. large businesses.


Mrs. Varnadore would like to know if this is something that the Board members are interested in entertaining and proceeding with for more information; at this point, it is getting too convoluted for her. She opined this time around may not feel this is the best way to go about, like the information is too late and needs more refining.


Mr. Williams asked if it is for all businesses regardless if small business or chain retailer and if it would include home base businesses. Mr. Burton stated that it is for every businesses because he found it too hard to distinguish between large and small; it would not include home based businesses because it is hard to determine what amount of the utility is for business and what is for personal consumption.


Mrs. Cornwell opined this program is a good idea, just needs more refinement in her opinion.


Mr. Smith is less than thrilled with the idea of large chain retailers in the CRA receiving the same benefit as a small business that has been shut down or working less than normal business hours during this pandemic.


Mr. Burton will bring more information back with the data as requested.




Mr. Burton displayed a map regarding the proposed roundabout near Riviera Dunes on Haben Boulevard.


He discussed the Connor Park remediation. The work on the Park is scheduled to begin during the next budget year.









Mayor Bryant adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.


Minutes approved: June 1, 2020


Jim Freeman


James R. Freeman

City Clerk




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