NORTH PORT — When the city jointly purchased Warm Mineral Springs Day Spa with Sarasota County in 2010, it entered a legal contract which states the boards must plan for what will be done with the 81-acre property after the June 30 agreement with the current management company runs out.
However, the three times North Port Mayor Linda Yates has tried to discuss it in meetings, she’s been shut down with not so much as a consensus for options on who should manage it — the city, county Parks and Recreation staff or an independent manager who is paid monthly. Before the city can present a proposal to the county, it must create a short-term options plan. The process was further complicated at a Dec. 18 meeting when City Commissioner Cheryl Cook made a motion to sell the Springs in its entirety, and Yates and Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco voted favorably. The vote didn’t negate the current contract with the county, but it halted all conversations between city commissioners. They ended up not discussing items on the agenda. Yates will again attempt to hash out an agreement at the City Commission’s 1 p.m. meeting Monday. She would also like to clarify why she voted to sell the Springs. If she wants to change her vote, at least two other commissioners have to agree not to sell the Springs in its entirety. Commissioner Tom Jones was hospitalized last week with a serious condition and will not be attending this month’s meetings. Last week, county commissioners said they’re not in favor of selling the county’s share of the $5.5 million Springs. Some said there’s no funds saved to buy the city’s share. Yates has said she voted to sell the Springs to get the county to come back to the table for talks. Some county commissioners agreed they’d meet jointly, but first want both boards to be on the same page. Again, last week, the county asked the city for more information before they reunite. City commissioners are at odds over everything from whether to build a hotel anywhere on the site to deciding who can profit off the bottled Springs water sold in the day spa gift shop.
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