Extra funding from both City of Sarasota and Sarasota County allocated to Myrtle Street improvements

City Commission agrees to $650,000 contribution, with $750,000 coming out of county’s Surtax revenue

A graphic shows the segments of the Myrtle Street project. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Thanks to action by both the Sarasota City Commission and the County Commission, another $1.4 million has been added to the county’s budget for the improvements to Myrtle Street that have been underway in North Sarasota.

On Sept. 21, during their regular meeting, the Sarasota city commissioners approved a total of $650,000 for the Myrtle Street work.

A memo City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw wrote the commission in advance of the meeting explained that, in February, city staff members learned from county staff that, based on the bids for the undertaking, the county was $1,424,240 short in its funding. Therefore, the county staff asked the city staff to help cover that shortfall, DavisShaw added. Part of the money — $350,000 — would come out of city road impact fee revenue that the county has been holding for the city; that money had not been allocated to any other initiative, she continued. Another $300,000 would come out of gas tax revenue the city receives, she noted.

All the money would be used for Phase 2C of the project, DavisShaw pointed out. That is the section from Orange Avenue to U.S. 301. It includes new sidewalks on both sides of the road, lighting, bicycle lanes and stormwater improvements, she wrote.

“While this segment is a County maintained roadway,” DavisShaw continued, “the residents on the south side of Myrtle Street are City residents and this facility will provide safety improvements for City of Sarasota residents …”
Thus, she wrote, staff supports the funding agreement with the county.

The accompanying, proposed agreement between the two local government bodies noted that Phase 2C “will be substantially complete by October 1, 2022 …”

The agreement further pointed out that if the final project expenses prove to be less than anticipated, the county will refund any city funding that remains unused.

The following day — Sept. 22 — the County Commission unanimously approved a budget resolution in recognition of the city’s contribution.

This is a view of the work on Myrtle Street, provided in City Manager Tom Barwin’s Sept. 4 newsletter. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The county board also approved the allocation of $750,000 from the county’s penny sales tax — or surtax — revenue to make up the rest of the $1.4 million needed for Phase 2C.

The item was listed as “Presentation Upon Request,” but no board member asked for staff remarks.

Commissioner Christian Ziegler made the motion to approve the city’s funding support and the extra county money, and Commissioner Nancy Detert seconded it.

“This is an important project to this area,” Ziegler pointed out. “It’s nice to see it get done.”

With Commissioner Michael Moran absent because of a family emergency, the vote was 4-0.

The county staff memo provided to the commissioners in advance of their meeting explained that on July 3, 1990, the County and City commissions “entered into a Road Impact Fee Interlocal Agreement providing for the collection of County road impact fees within the City.” That agreement, the memo continued, “recognized that road impact fees were to be collected by the City and transferred to the County monthly for use in the Sarasota Road Facility Service District. The impact fees were also to be used exclusively for developing projects within the District, or abutting the District, with the scheduling and prioritization of road impact fees being coordinated between the County and the City.”

Then, the memo noted, on Oct. 1, 2014, an amendment to that agreement went into effect, “recognizing the City would no longer collect County road impact fees, as the City would begin collection of an alternative mobility fee.”

The amendment established procedures through which all the funds collected before Oct. 1, 2014 would be expended, the memo added.

The Myrtle Street improvement project extends from U.S. 41 to U.S. 301, the county memo also pointed out.