June 15, 2018 Edition


TOP STORIES:

Army Corps of Engineers announces allocation of funding for the long-term renourishment project planned on Lido Key

Siesta Key Association challenge filed last year in 12th Judicial Circuit Court could lead to further delay

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on June 11 that it has allocated $13,462,000 to the long-term project designed to renourish a 1.56-mile stretch of South Lido Key Beach. The funding is part of the federal agency’s Fiscal Year 2018 Work Plan, which the USACE delivered to Congress on June 7, a USACE news release explains. (Read more »)


Voicing support for Mote Marine’s proposed new aquarium, County Commission plans discussion on allocations of county’s Tourist Development Tax revenue

Mote has asked for $20 million to help pay for estimated $130-million structure at Benderson Park

The Sarasota County commissioners this week directed county administrative staff to continue discussions with representatives of Mote Marine regarding the organization’s proposal to construct a $130-million aquarium on 9 acres at the county’s Nathan Benderson Park. (Read more »)


Discussion of ban on recreational marijuana in Sarasota County delayed because of commissioner’s absence

Agenda item rescheduled for afternoon of July 10

During their regular meeting on June 13, the Sarasota County commissioners were scheduled to discuss whether to authorize a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the sale, cultivation and processing of non-medical marijuana in the county. (Read more »)


County Commission approves transfer of $1 million into fund for affordable housing project with City of Sarasota as part of CRA dispute settlement

Action leaves three other facets of last city proposal to be completed

About 13 months after they joined the Sarasota city commissioners in a formal conflict resolution session over the issue, the Sarasota County commissioners this week took their first formal step to end a battle regarding funding for the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). (Read more »)


39 arts and cultural programs win Sarasota County grants for the 2019 fiscal year

Funding designed to boost tourism

With plaudits for the fairness in the process that leads to the recommendations, the Sarasota County Commission this week approved grants totaling $2,057,500 — out of Tourist Development Tax revenue — for 39 arts and cultural programs in the 2019 fiscal year, which will begin on Oct. 1. (Read more »)


New Central Energy Plant will be a publicly financed project, County Commission decides

Implementation of energy-saving measures and county’s ‘excellent credit rating’ contribute to cost savings over private option

Given the cost savings afforded by Sarasota County’s “excellent credit rating,” as a senior staff member put it, the County Commission this week voted unanimously to pursue the construction of a new Central Energy Plant as a public project. (Read more »)


Johnson confirmed as new assistant administrator

County Commissioner Detert voices irritation about not having opportunity to meet Johnson beforehand

The Sarasota County commissioners this week confirmed the hiring of Brad Johnson, deputy city manager of Lakeland, as a new assistant county administrator. First, however, Chair Nancy Detert expressed dismay that the board members had not had an opportunity to meet Johnson before being asked to approve his addition to the staff. (Read more »)


Tourist Development Council recommends approval of Visit Sarasota County’s budget for 2019 fiscal year

Only adjustment since mid-May proves to be a reduction in Sarasota County’s bid amount for Under 23s World Rowing Championships

Three-and-a-half weeks after the president of Visit Sarasota County expressed frustration over the potential for Sarasota County staff to upend her proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year, all issues had been resolved amicably, Virginia Haley indicated this week to members of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). (Read more »)


Streetlights on Siesta Key to make transition to LED starting in late July

FPL project explained to Siesta Key Association members

Beginning right around July 23, Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) will begin switching out high pressure sodium lights for LED fixtures on the 325 poles that it owns and maintains on the north and south ends of Siesta Key. That was the news Lisa Cece, Sarasota County’s special district coordinator, and two representatives of FPL provided about 25 members of the Siesta Key Association(SKA) during the organization’s regular meeting on June 7. (Read more »)


New county zoning district approved to allow rehabilitation of older hotel and motel properties

Board also approves rezoning of Siesta Key Palms Hotel property on Stickney Point Road

Altogether, it took only seven-and-a-half minutes on June 13 for the Sarasota County Commission to unanimously approve the implementation of a new zoning district and then agree to allow the owners of property on Old Stickney Point Road to make use of that district to rehabilitate the Siesta Key Palms Hotel. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen:

Bay Tree crosswalk advocates celebrating success; snowy plovers having a bad nesting season on Siesta; volunteers sought to help reduce beach garbage on July Fourth; and county staff trying to keep North Beach Road clear of sand

Regular readers will recall that in April, residents of the Bay Tree Club on South Midnight Pass Road talked with The Sarasota News Leaderabout their years-long endeavor to convince Sarasota County staff of the need for a crosswalk between the two sections of their complex— the building on the Intracoastal Waterway side and the structures across the road, facing the public beach. (Read more »)


OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day:


Commentary: Wear purple on June 15 for elder abuse awareness

Living in Southwest Florida, we all know and love many older adults. For most of us, the thought of someone abusing or taking advantage of our elders is heartbreaking. And yet, the National Council on Aging estimates that one in 10 older Americans has been the victim of some sort of abuse. (Read more »)


Letter to the Editor:

I applaud your June 8 editorial, not only for exposing the county commissioners’ absurd and tone deaf shenanigans regarding medical and recreational marijuana, but also for calling them out for their abysmal fiscal management. (Read more »)

 


OTHER NEWS (free):

Sarasota County School District hires veteran law enforcement officer as its chief of police


Atlanta Braves to host Spring Training season ticket launch party on June 16