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Sarasota County could end 'right of way' mowing

Posted at 3:57 PM, Apr 05, 2016

Sarasota County could soon end right-of-way mowing service in residential areas to save hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. But some say the service is still worth paying for.

Sarasota County Public Works has paid for the mowing of the right-of-way, which is the small section of grass between the street and a mailbox. However, that service in 2015 cost more than $600,000.

Sarasota County Public Works said many people are already maintaining that grass themselves, and they don't believe it's necessary to have the county pay to do it.

"It's just inefficient," said Spencer Anderson with Sarasota County Public Works. "So we are sending a full crew of lawn mower contracted folks out there, with all of their equipment, no matter if they maintain 10, 15, or 30 of those homes."

But for Sherrie Damon, a senior who takes pride in her lawn, this plan is causing a lot of concern. She says it would make it nearly impossible for her to maintain her right-of-way.

Damon uses a walker to get around and so her neighbor, Jason Olsen, mows her lawn for free. However, his riding mower cannot get down into the ditch in the right of way, and she believes she would have to hire out the lawn service, which she says she cannot afford.

"I live on Social Security, and it is nothing," she said. "It's people that can't afford to have their lawn done. They will have to add that in. You know nobody is going to go down a hill."

Olsen believes if the county doesn't maintain the right of way, most people will not mow it.

"It's difficult for a lot of people to get out and mow at all," he said.

Sarasota County commissioners still have to approve the cut to service, which could happen as soon as Sept. 30. However, the public will be invited to give their input on the measures in a series of public meetings.