20170714-14 Jul 2017


Sarasota city manager the brunt of criticism as county commissioners voice frustration over lack of progress on resolving the Downtown CRA dispute

County administrator and board discuss counterproposals to City Commission’s requests

The Sarasota County Commission chair this week said he has “really had it with this smirky, sly way” Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin has represented the city as the two local governments have tried to resolve a dispute over a final payment the city says the county owes into the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)

City Commission splits 4-1 on keeping the millage rate the same for the 2018 fiscal year and adding a number of new employees, including police officers

Budget public hearings set for September

It took two votes, but the majority of the Sarasota City Commission decided this week not to raise the millage rate to help balance the budget for the 2018 fiscal year. Instead, the motion that won approval of four of the board members will utilize a $1,113,979 payment from the Utilities Department and a reduction in the proposed new Economic Development Fund to cover the projected gap of $881,990 for the fiscal year that will begin on Oct. 1. (Read more »)

County Administrator Harmer accepts Longboat Town Commission’s offer to become town manager

Town board to vote on the matter July 17

On July 12, as the Sarasota County Commission was wrapping up its final meeting before its five-week summer recess, County Administrator Tom Harmer said he had just a few final items to mention. (Read more »)

Benson and Bispham reappointed to Sarasota County Planning Commission on unanimous vote

Teresa Mast to fill out unexpired term on that board

With only one set of nominations offered from a Sarasota County commissioner this week, two people have been reappointed to the county’s Planning Commission and a new member has been added to fill an unexpired term. (Read more »)

Paid parking at Siesta Beach a potential solution to traffic congestion on the island, county commissioners agree

Staff to research practices in other beach communities and bring the Sarasota County board options focusing on using parking revenue for more mass transit options

Given continuing frustrations of residents and visitors trying to find parking spaces at Siesta Public Beach, the Sarasota County Commission this week directed staff to work on proposals, including charging a fee, whose revenue could be used to provide more mass transit options. (Read more »)

Agreeing with need for flexibility in Siesta Key commercial redevelopment, County Commission asks staff to work on amendment to island’s zoning code

Proposal for a hotel on Old Stickney Point Road the focus of speakers’ July 12 comments

A June 12 vote by the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals has prompted not only legal action but also a proposal for an amendment to the county’s Zoning Code that governs all of Siesta Key. (Read more »)

Significant increases in wave energy striking Siesta and Bird keys to be expected if Army Corps of Engineers allowed to proceed with Big Pass dredging plan, SKA leaders say research has shown

Sarasota city manager calls the graphics somewhat misleading and continues to seek collaboration on plan to help Lido’s critically eroded shoreline

The Siesta Key Association (SKA) has unveiled one of the key arguments it intends to make next month against the dredging alternative upon which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has settled for the proposed Lido Renourishment Project. (Read more »)

Short-term rental ordinance amendment wins approval

New language in the Zoning Code designed to facilitate enforcement against violations

With no comment from any member of the public, and no board discussion, the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved an amendment to the county ordinance governing short-term rentals. The language was written in an effort to facilitate enforcement. (Read more »)

World Rowing Championships on target to break even, executive director tells the Sarasota County Commission

Meredith Scerba says 57 teams have secured hotel rooms already, and ticket sales are on track potentially to exceed the goal set for them

With 73 days to go until the start of the World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, the event’s executive director told the Sarasota County Commission on July 12 that she feels sure of bringing in sufficient revenue to cover expenses, with 97% of the fundraising goal already achieved. (Read more »)

County Commission sets not-to-exceed millage rate

Board had made it clear to staff in June that it wanted no increase

It may have taken almost 70 minutes for the Sarasota County commissioners to decide on June 21 how they wanted to balance the proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but it took only about 5 minutes on July 12 for them to approve the not-to-exceed millage rates for property owners. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

SKA members hear details about July Fourth traffic; trash tales told; beach cigarette butt litter decreasing; beach holes pose threat to turtles; and SKA members voice worries over Big Pass dredging proposal

Illegal parking, illegal fireworks, traffic congestion, fights over spaces at the public beach and lots of trash: It was pretty much a typical July Fourth holiday on Siesta Key, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office staff, residents and Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR) staff said during the July 6 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. (Read more »)

Osprey Avenue Bridge to reopen afternoon of July 14

Lift Station 87 construction bids received

The Osprey Avenue Bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic on Friday, July 14, by 4 p.m., the City of Sarasota announced this week. The bridge has been closed since August 2016 to allow work crews to install two microtunnel segments, “which are critical to the success of the Lift Station 87 project,” a news release points out. (Read more »)

County seeking nominations of names for three sites purchased through environmental program

Deadline is July 19

Sarasota County staff is asking the public to submit names for environmental lands in the eastern part of the county, including the Churchill Ranch, Jordyn Holdings and Carlton Ranch sites. (Read more »)

Kettle of Fish to headline July 21 Friday Fest

Event to be held on Van Wezel lawn from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Kettle of Fish will take the stage on the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall bayside lawn in Sarasota on Friday, July 21, for the second Friday Fest of the summer, the Van Wezel has announced. The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. (Read more »)

Sarasota County launches first summer camp for adults

Adults 50 and older eligible to participate

Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department is offering “Camp All Grown Up!”, the first summer camp aimed strictly at adults, the county has announced. “If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new hobby, activity or sport, here’s your chance, as the new camp offers the chance to kayak, play pickleball, pair wine with dinner, catch a shark from the Venice pier and other interesting options,” a county news release says. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Sports Commission to host Inaugural Sports Event Showcase next month

Event set for Aug. 15 at new Westin

Visit Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Sports Commission will conduct the inaugural Sports Event Showcase in mid-August in downtown Sarasota, the two agencies have announced. (Read more »)