20170929-29 Sep 2017

County’s 2018 fiscal year budget wins final approval on 4-1 vote; district millage rates also approved

Once again, Commissioner Moran declines to support the budget, citing the need to pare expenses

Commissioner Michael Moran continued to withhold his support, but the remainder of the Sarasota County commissioners this week approved the county’s budget for the 2018 fiscal year. They agreed during their first public hearing on the budget — held Sept. 18 — that they would not implement a 5% Public Service Tax on residents’ use of electricity, water, natural gas and propane in the unincorporated part of the county, and the majority voted this summer not to support a millage rate increase. (Read more »)

County commissioners voice frustration over lengthy storm debris collection process as staff works with county contractor to secure more crews

County staff also pressing FEMA for the OK to start collections on private roads, with reimbursement from the government a concern

With power restored to residents and businesses, storm debris collection remains the primary concern in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Sarasota County staff and the county commissioners made clear this week. As of the board’s Sept. 26 regular meeting, Assistant County Administrator Jonathan Lewis pointed out, the county has had three trucks of its own certified to work on collections, and “another six are being mobilized.” (Read more »)

Rising jail population to be one focus of Sheriff’s Office discussion with the County Commission on Oct. 10

Sheriff Tom Knight has expressed worries about dealing with more inmates than the jail is capable of handling

With no millage rate increase and the majority of the Sarasota County commissioners declining to implement an excise tax on certain utilities, the board members will be facing difficult decisions in coming months as they try to meet the county’s financial demands, they agreed this week. (Read more »)

Judge schedules hearing on Sarasota County motion seeking dismissal of three counts in Petland lawsuit

Owners of Petland Sarasota franchise also named in federal lawsuit filed this summer by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, relating to Kennesaw, Ga., franchise

Three weeks after mediation is to be held in the case, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Frederick Mercurio has set a hearing on Sarasota County’s motion for partial summary judgment in the lawsuit the owners of Petland Sarasota filed against the county last year. (Read more »)

Historic designation denied for house at 112 Sandy Hook Road South on Siesta Key

County Commission casts 4-1 vote after county advisory board member says homeowners’ goal was to skirt a FEMA rule

Siding with their historical resources manager instead of the county’s Historic Preservation Board, the majority of the Sarasota County Commission voted on Sept. 26 to deny a formal historic designation to the house at 112 Sandy Hook Road South on Siesta Key. (Read more »)

Sarasota woman linked to four more burglaries of unlocked vehicles in front of Siesta Key residences

Sarah Young remained in jail on Sept. 28 on $6,000 bond

A 20-year-old Sarasota woman already charged in connection with two burglaries of vehicles on Siesta Key has been arrested for a second time and charged with four additional counts of Burglary of a Conveyance, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)

Judge hears opposing arguments as Sarasota County seeks to dismiss another count in Cosentino lawsuit related to North Beach Road vacation

Attorneys disagree over what constitutes ‘rendering’ of a resolution approved by the County Commission in context of official public notification of board action

From the outset of a Sept. 27 hearing, a 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge questioned a Sarasota County assertion that the resolution vacating a 357-foot-long segment of Siesta Key’s North Beach Road was advertised in a timely fashion, as required by state law, after the County Commission vote in the matter. (Read more »)

Venice Library groundbreaking planned for Oct. 30

County Commission accepts $850,000 in donations for the new facility, with contributions linked to naming rights to be addressed later

The groundbreaking for the new Venice Library has been planned for 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 30, Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer announced this week. Construction is scheduled to get underway in November, with completion anticipated in late 2018, according to a memo provided to the County Commission by Sarabeth Kalajian, director of the county’s Libraries and Historical Resources Department. (Read more »)

City Commission approves zoning waivers for St. Armands parking garage and gets update on design

Project will have 476 spaces, plus restrooms and parking management office

They were addressing a formal staff request for zoning district waivers necessary for construction of the St. Armands parking garage. Nonetheless, the Sarasota City Commission had the opportunity last week to learn about the most recent design facets of the project. (Read more »)

OSHA investigating apparent electrocution of landscaping company employee on Siesta Key

Incident occurred on Freeling Drive on Sept. 24

An employee of a landscaping company apparently was electrocuted on Sept. 24 while working on trees damaged by Hurricane Irma on Siesta Key, Sarasota County Emergency Services staff reported. The Sarasota County Fire Department received a call at 3:06 p.m. Sept. 24 regarding a tree trimmer that had struck a live wire in the 600 block of Freeling Drive, spokeswoman Ashley Lusby told The Sarasota News Leader. (Read more »)

Sarasota Farmers Market a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning in downtown Sarasota

The canine collection is as much an attraction as the bounty of food

The not so sotto voce rumor around town is that the best free event in downtown Sarasota is the Sarasota Farmers Market, held every Saturday. And I am here to confirm the rumor. I am convinced that with everything wonderful and pleasurable that Sarasota has to offer, this is the greatest weekly social event of all. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Business Tax due by Sept. 30

Payments will be accepted in person only on Monday, Oct. 2

Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates is reminding all business owners that the 2017-18 Sarasota County Business Tax is due by Sept. 30. “Since the 30th falls on the weekend, payments will be accepted in person only on Monday, October 2nd,” Ford-Coates explained in a news release. (Read more »)

National Night Out event on Oct. 3 to be hosted by Sarasota Police Department

Activities will be at police headquarters on Adams Lane

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Sarasota Police Department will host National Night Out 2017, America’s Night Out Against Crime, outside Sarasota Police Headquarters, the department has announced. The Police Department is located at 2099 Adams Lane in Sarasota. (Read more »)

STOP! wins state grant for studies it hopes will provide more realistic counts reflecting traffic during height of tourist season in Florida communities

Nonprofit has questioned accuracy of state methodology

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has awarded a $500,000 grant to the University of South Florida to study the traffic patterns of “recreational areas” — popular tourist destinations in the state — including the city of Sarasota, the nonprofit organization STOP! has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Police chief announces new partnership to try to reduce officers’ responses to false alarms

Public Safety Corp. to work with the Police Department on alarm registration and education

Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino has announced a partnership with Public Safety Corp., a false alarm management company, with the hope of reducing time officers spend responding to alarms when no crime is in progress, the Police Department has announced. (Read more »)

North Sarasota Library to close Sept. 30 for maintenance

Book drop will remain available at the facility over the weekend

The North Sarasota Library, located at 2801 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota, will be closed Saturday, Sept. 30, for building maintenance, the county has announced. The work will take place over the course of two days, so the library will be ready to re-open on Monday, Oct. 2, for its regular business hours. (Read more »)