20160219-19 Feb 2016

SNL Gift Subscriptions


City Commission to look to Hardee County for more details on mental health and indigent care tax district

Debate continues to simmer between the City and County commissions over how best to tackle homelessness, but members of both boards say they remain determined to find solutions

The Sarasota City Commission this week directed staff to conduct further research into the potential implementation of a countywide mental health tax district to help pay for solutions to the community’s homelessness problems. (Read more »)

EDC to pay $50,000 in attorney’s fees to settle public records and open meetings lawsuits filed by Citizens for Sunshine

EDC board voted on the mediation settlement on Feb. 18, following the nonprofit board’s approval

The board of the Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Sarasota County voted this week to approve a settlement with Citizens for Sunshine, a Sarasota nonprofit organization, involving public records and open meetings lawsuits dating to 2009 and 2010, respectively. (Read more »)

Coastal setback variance granted for pool to be built at 113 Beach Road on north Siesta Key

County Commission debates facets of its Coastal Setback Code in a search for ways to ensure more consistency in its decisions on requests

It took slightly more than 30 minutes for the Sarasota County Commission this week to unanimously approve a coastal setback variance for the construction of a backyard pool on Siesta Key. (Read more »)

Sarasota School District staff projects a budget in the black for 2016-17, with the need to fill more than 60 positions

Preliminary figures could change, based on negotiations with the union representing classified personnel and teachers, as well as the Florida Legislature’s decisions

The deputy chief financial officer (CFO) of the Sarasota County Schools told the School Board this week that he anticipates the district’s 2016-17 fiscal year budget to be about $2.7 million in the black, given the preliminary per-student funding proposals of the Florida House and Senate, as well as anticipation that Sarasota County property values will increase by 7.73 percent this year. (Read more »)

Second reading of City of Sarasota’s revised panhandling ordinance continued to next month

Concerns raised about how political speech and solicitations of contributions to foundations could be affected if the proposed language were approved

After the vice president of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cited what he called “very overbroad” sections of the proposed new ordinance governing panhandling in the City of Sarasota — especially in regard to political speech — the City Commission voted unanimously to continue the second reading of the revised law until next month. (Read more »)

County commissioners hope to sign lease on March 8 for temporary Venice library location

Staff continues to evaluate changes that would be necessary in the Hamilton Building

Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer told the county commissioners this week he hopes to have a lease agreement ready for them to approve on March 8, so the county can proceed with opening a temporary library in the Hamilton Building in Venice. (Read more »)

March 23 is tentative date for County Commission to hear presentation on peer review of City of Sarasota’s Lido Renourishment Project

County staff also has reported this week that the City of Sarasota is expected to deliver a written response on the Atkins report by Feb. 26

March 23 appears to be the date the Sarasota County Commission will hear a presentation on the peer review it sought of the $19-million proposal of the City of Sarasota/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to dredge Big Sarasota Pass to renourish Lido Key Beach. (Read more »)

City takes steps to disclaim relationship with any new nonprofit organization focused on Housing First

City attorney says measure prevents privately-formed nonprofit from being subject to Sunshine Law transparency requirements

It was the end of the day on Friday, Feb. 12, when the City of Sarasota announced that less than a year after he was hired, Doug Logan would be leaving his post as the director of special initiatives on chronic homelessness. (Read more »)

School Board agrees to expand North Port technical college budget; opening still set for August 2017

Because of design changes and site considerations, the cost has gone up between $5 million and $6 million, school district staff says

Although the Suncoast Technical College (STC) project in North Port is over budget by an estimated $5 million to $6 million, the Sarasota County School Board members this week affirmed their willingness to provide the extra money so the current design of the project can be utilized. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

County’s sustainability manager tells SKA members how to save money on energy and water usage; facts about the trees among the Siesta Public Beach Park improvements are clarified; and the public is reminded about the grand opening of the upgraded beach park

Even before she began her remarks to members of the Siesta Key Association (SKA), Lee Hayes Byron was garnering a considerable amount of attention from the folks gathering in the Parish Hall of St. Boniface Episcopal Church for the organization’s Feb. 4 meeting. (Read more »)

Improvements under way at Sarasota County nature preserves

Goal is to make the areas more inviting to the public, with improved signage and more marked trails, among other features

By the end of September, visitors to eight of Sarasota County’s nature preserves and two of its environmental/nature centers should be noticing a wide array of improvements — from new trails and picnic tables to improved parking lots to more interpretive signage. (Read more »)

Disparity of almost $500,000 between bid prices for ‘BOB’ building contract raises questions

County commissioner seeks to avoid problems like those that arose over mowing contracts in 2012-13

A difference of almost $500,000 between the bid award Sarasota County staff recommended for the replacement of the heating and air conditioning system at the Sarasota County Operations Center — better known as the “BOB” building — and the next lowest bid raised questions from County Commissioner Christine Robinson. (Read more »)

Call this critic struck by ‘Unstruck’

Kate Weare Company shines brightly in program at The Ringling

I found myself thinking of Giacometti sculptures and the undulating rhythms of a Jackson Pollack painting, as the five extraordinary dancers of the Kate Weare Company grappled with one another in an evening of high energy and pulsating rhythms at the Historic Asolo Theater on Feb. 12. (Read more »)

Elections supervisor urges voters to return absentee ballots early

Postal Service has cautioned about how long mail delivery can take

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent is urging voters who choose to vote by mail in the March 15 elections to request, fill out and return their voted ballots as early as possible to avoid mail delays. (Read more »)

Fruitville Road Streetscape Project to be focus of March 1 meeting

City to seek public comments on plans for improvements to the road between U.S. 41 and U.S. 301

The City of Sarasota will host another public workshop on its Fruitville Road Streetscape Project on Tuesday, March 1, in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall in downtown Sarasota, the city has announced. The session is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. City Hall is located at 1565 First St. (Read more »)

Pineapple Park closed till March 11 as improvements get under way

Fountain to be refurbished and brick pavers to be repaired, among other work

As of Feb. 16, Pineapple Park in downtown Sarasota has been closed to the public while improvements are made to the fountain and surrounding plaza, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Black History Month display at City Hall features educational materials

Public welcome to view exhibits weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For the eighth consecutive year, educational materials are on display at City Hall — located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota — commemorating Black History Month, the city has announced. (Read more »)

March for Bernie 2 to be held Feb. 27 in downtown Sarasota

Groups encouraged to participate; pre-registration required by Feb. 23

Feel the Bern SRQ, a grassroots organization that supports and campaigns for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, will host a March for Bernie 2 on Saturday, Feb. 27, from noon to 4 p.m. in downtown Sarasota, the organization has announced. (Read more »)

Fans invited to watch the Orioles’ Spring Training workouts at Ed Smith Stadium

First session is set for Feb. 19 in Sarasota

The first official Spring Training workout day for Orioles pitchers and catchers at Ed Smith Stadium will be Friday, Feb. 19, the Major League Baseball club has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Audubon’s Nature Center at the Celery Fields wins LEED Gold certification

Facility opened in early January

Five years ago, when Sarasota Audubon launched its capital campaign for a Nature Center at the Celery Fields, “building green was in the DNA of the plan,” a news release says. (Read more »)