Sarasota County Commissioner Smith honored by Florida Association of Counties

Smith also elected to FAC board of directors

Commissioner Mark Smith. Image courtesy Sarasota County Government

During the 2024 Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Annual Conference in June, Sarasota County Commissioner Mark Smith was presented the Presidential Advocacy Award, Sarasota County staff has announced.

Smith also was elected to the FAC board of directors, the county’s June 28 newsletter says.

Smith joined the commission in late November 2022 after winning the District 2 race in the General Election that year. He is a long-time Siesta Key resident and architect.

As a commissioner, Smith has been an advocate for his Siesta residents in opposing action that could lead to the construction of high-rise hotels on the barrier island, and he has voted against planned development on the Key that he has contended would be contrary to the county’s environmental policies.

Further, members of the public this year have mentioned on a number of occasions, in comments to the County Commission, that Smith has worked to help them address problems in their communities.

Among those residents, in February, a representative of the Newtown community in Sarasota talked of Smith’s engagement with residents who opposed a 1,479-unit residential  development on property on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way that the county had identified for an affordable housing project. She expressed concerns about the safety of students who walk to nearby schools and the expectation that traffic congestion in the area will be exacerbated.

Smith has sought improvements to the county road network in that area, noting the documented low Level of Service rating for Tuttle Avenue, especially, in that section of the county.

In May, a resident of Lido Key, who was pleading with the board members to provide more county personnel to keep in check the multitudes of people who have been showing up at the county’s Ted Sperling Park on South Lido on weekends. The resident reported having discussed that situation with Smith. The visitors routinely violate county regulations, the speaker contended, and they have endangered wildlife and degraded the environment.

As its website notes, the Florida Association of Counties evolved from the State Association of County Commissioners, “which was founded in 1929 to represent the concerns of Florida’s county governments.”

The 2024 Annual FAC Conference was held in Orange County.