20160715-15 Jul 2016

Sheriff’s Fleet Maintenance Facility and other projects to be focus of in-depth County Commission session this fall

Board members tell staff they want options, too, on paying for priorities without seeking a referendum

Late this summer or early this fall, the Sarasota County commissioners told staff this week, they want an in-depth discussion about how they can proceed with some of the county’s most critically important construction projects. As Chair Al Maio put in on July 12, “I would like to see [this] happen … before the end of November.” (Read more »)

SKA calls for County Commission to request an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Lido Renourishment Project

The more expansive review of the City of Sarasota/Army Corps of Engineers plan would provide analyses of alternative designs that could spare Big Pass from dredging, the SKA says

The Siesta Key Association (SKA) this week formally requested that the Sarasota County Commission call for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the City of Sarasota/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposed Lido Renourishment Project, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Find a way to install bus shelters more quickly, County Commission tells the county administrator and SCAT director

Lack of shelters and proposed elimination of 15 percent of bus stops among key points in comprehensive operations analysis of SCAT

County Commission vexation over the lack of bus shelters — and the high cost to install them — surfaced again this week. The topic was part of the board review of a comprehensive operations analysis a consulting firm had undertaken of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT). (Read more »)

County staff’s failure to complete inlet management strategy leads to board concerns about revising policy

Comprehensive Plan update would replace 12 measurable objectives with ‘amorphous statements,’ chairman of nonprofit points out

Sarasota County never completed a beach and inlet management strategy — including an assessment of the nature and extent of coastal erosion and monitoring of the effectiveness of beach restoration initiatives — in spite of the call for such an undertaking to be completed by 2015, a member of the public has pointed out to the County Commission. (Read more »)

Backyard chicken ordinance to be focus of public hearings before the County Commission in September and October

Board unanimously approves authorization to advertise the hearings, but Commissioner Christine Robinson reproaches staff for not holding public meetings as the board requested in May

On Sept. 20 and Oct. 10, Sarasota County residents finally will have their opportunity to let their voices be heard on whether backyard chickens will be allowed in unincorporated portions of the county. (Read more »)

Sweet Sparkman Architects awarded design contract for new Venice Library as county approves borrowing $1 million for that phase of work

Interior and exterior improvements continue at Hamilton Building, with ample parking to be provided when the temporary library opens late this summer, staff indicates

As work continues to transform Venice’s Hamilton Building into a temporary public library for the community, the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved the borrowing of $1 million to finance the design of a new facility on the Venice Cultural Campus to replace the library the board closed at the end of January because of persistent mold problems. (Read more »)

County Commission approves paying about $5.6 million for new joint-use library in the North Port Suncoast Technical College

School Board is scheduled to vote on the formal document during its Aug. 2 meeting

A public library project in North Port that won broad support during a meeting of local government leaders in January 2014 took another step forward this week. In approving its July 12 Consent Agenda of routine business items, the Sarasota County Commission agreed to provide $5,578,176 for construction of the facility as part of the new Suncoast Technical College (STC) in North Port, in collaboration with the Sarasota County School Board, according to a memo provided to the board in advance of the July 12 regular meeting in Venice. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar construction underway on Stickney Point Road; Shell Road gate prompts concern; Crystal Classic dates and details announced; SKVA pushing again for trolley service; and the SKVA is on its July break

Ground was broken on July 11 for the new Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar at 1250 Stickney Point Road on south Siesta Key, Troy Syprett, one of the restaurant’s owners, told The Sarasota News Leader that morning. Sarasota County finally issued permits for the project a little more than a week earlier, he added. The build-out is expected to take seven to eight months, he noted, which means the restaurant should open in mid- to late February. (Read more »)

A County Commission quandary in March ends this week with agreements to sell two surplus county parcels for more than $3 million

Bidders on the same parcel approved as buyers of ‘Quads’ property at Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard

What proved to be a quandary for the County Commission in March appeared headed for a resolution this week, as the County Commission approved the sale of two surplus county parcels. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax revenue up slightly in April after all, latest Sarasota County figures show

Thus far, Sarasota County has recorded an increase of almost $690,000 in ‘bed tax’ collections compared to the same period in the last year

Tourist Development Tax revenue (TDT) did not decline after all in April, the latest data from the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office shows. Based on figures reported through June 30, April saw an increase of $326.24 compared to the total revenue for the same month in 2015, according to the Tax Collector’s Office. The TDT revenue for April of this year was $1,821,522.50; in April 2015, it was $1,821,196.26, as shown in the June 30 chart released by the Tax Collector’s Office. (Read more »)

County millage rate to remain the same, commission asserts in voting to authorize its advertisement

Chair Al Maio points out that the 3.912 rate will not have risen for 18 fiscal years

Reaffirming they have no intention of raising the county’s total millage rate, the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously on July 13 to certify the proposed ad valorem millage rates for the 2017 fiscal year and to authorize the mailing and publishing of public hearing notices for the county’s FY17 non-ad valorem assessments. (Read more »)

County has several years to try to obtain more state funding to help pay for the South Siesta Renourishment Project

Tourist Development Council members hear an overview of the project and discuss the future of keeping sand on beaches

Although Sarasota County staff still has not completed its accounting to arrive at the total expense of the South Siesta Key Renourishment Project — which was completed in late April — staff has the potential of netting extra state grant money to help cover the cost, the county’s coastal initiatives manager has reported to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). (Read more »)

Aug. 1 deadline looming for voter registration and party affiliation changes

Supervisor of Elections Office encouraging eligible persons to submit or update registration information if they want to participate in Aug. 30 primaries

Monday, Aug. 1 is the deadline to register or to change political party affiliation to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 30 Primary Election, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent is reminding voters. (Read more »)

Osprey Avenue bridge to close around Aug. 1 so work can get underway for Lift Station 87 project

Traffic to be diverted from the area for 12 months, City of Sarasota staff says

The Osprey Avenue Bridge is scheduled to be closed Monday, Aug. 1, so microtunneling can proceed for the Lift Station 87 project, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Celebrity guests to appear at Greatness Beyond Measure Teen Summit

BET host Bentley and musical group Glamour among those on the event schedule

BET host and author Fonzworth Bentley, BMW of North America executive Kimberly Byars and a musical group called Glamour will appear at the eighth annual Greatness Beyond Measure (GBM) Teen Summit July 29-31 in Sarasota, organizers have announced. (Read more »)

Supervisor of Elections Office to begin sending voting-by-mail ballots to military personnel on July 15

Domestic absentee ballots to be mailed starting July 26

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office will begin sending vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the Aug. 30 Primary Election to absent stateside military voters and overseas military and civilian voters on July 15, according to Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent. (Read more »)

County’s financial stability earns high ratings from New York firms

Fitch and Standard and Poor’s actions affirm ‘strong management practices,’ county administrator says

Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) both have announced that Sarasota County’s financial stability remains strong, and its outlook, stable, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota District keeps ‘A’ grade

Sarasota County one of only two in the state to get an A every year since grading began

The Sarasota County School District is one of only three in Florida to receive an A grade for the 2015-16 school year, “despite higher state expectations,” a Sarasota District news release says. (Read more »)

JFCS awarded grant to assist people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, plus their caregivers

$5,000 provided from the Community Foundation through a special fund

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of the Suncoast (JFCS) has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the from the Verna L. Grauel Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County that is specifically designated for the provision of specialty therapeutic activities to persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as support services for their caregivers, the nonprofit organization has announced. (Read more »)

Bandana to kick off county’s 2016 Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series

Three performances planned in South County, ending in early October

“Take a break from the heat and enjoy the cool rhythm and blues and classic rock” of Bandana at the Venice Community Center on Saturday, July 23, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)