20160701-1 Jul 2016

Avoiding the prospect of lengthy litigation, the county and city have proposed a settlement in a fire assessments dispute that became public last year

The City Commission will consider the agreement on July 5; the County Commission, on July 12

If the Sarasota City and County commissions approve a proposed agreement this month, the county’s attempt to impose fire assessments on city-owned property should cease to be a concern for the city “forever out in the future,” Assistant City Attorney Michael Connolly told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

Staffing and collections concerns raised in discussion with Sarasota County’s director of libraries

Vacancies continue to be a problem, Sarabeth Kalajian says, and reduced county funding has resulted in less state money for new books and other materials

Sarasota County’s libraries not only are dealing with staffing vacancies, but they also continue to be constrained in purchasing new materials for the collections, Sarabeth Kalajian, the county’s director of libraries and historical resources, told the County Commission during her recent budget presentation. (Read more »)

Robert L. Taylor Community Complex operations account for more than a third of funding gap in city’s proposed 2017 fiscal year budget

Finance director recommends City Commission use Unassigned Fund Balance to plug the hole

Because the Sarasota County Commission last week turned down a City of Sarasota request for almost $1 million to assist with the operation of the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in north Sarasota, the projected gap for the city’s 2017 fiscal year budget is about $1.4 million, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown explained to the City Commission during its June 27 budget workshop. (Read more »)

County’s chief engineer plans to implement a new road inspection program that will allow more preventive maintenance

New employees sought in Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources departments to facilitate upkeep of county resources

Among new employees for Sarasota County’s Public Works Department in the 2017 fiscal year will be a pavement management specialist who will be a key part of staff’s efforts to move to a four-year cycle for preventive road maintenance, the county’s chief engineer, Isaac Brownman, has explained to the County Commission. (Read more »)

County Commissioners specify that the county administrator is to represent them in negotiations over acquisition of Orange Hammock Ranch

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast continuing to try to broker a deal to preserve the 5,700-acre ‘pristine native landscape’ in South County

With the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast having gained an extension on an option to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch in South County, the Sarasota County Commission has authorized County Administrator Tom Harmer to participate in negotiations to try to reach a deal. (Read more »)

Sarasota County to increase staff on Siesta beaches to help keep them clean over the holiday weekend

Siesta Key Association members also working on trash pickup efforts and protection of beach-nesting birds, given the expectation of big crowds

Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department has arranged for more staff to work over the July Fourth holiday weekend to help keep Siesta Key’s beaches clean, Shawn Yeager, manager of beaches and water access for the department, has notified the Siesta Key Association (SKA), The Sarasota News Leader has learned.  (Read more »)

Federal judge rules against City of Sarasota motion to strike portions of ACLU lawsuit

Judge also denies the city’s request to hold a separate trial on allegations regarding the city’s Panhandling Ordinance

A vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Florida says a federal judge’s refusal to strike portions of a lawsuit the organization filed against the City of Sarasota last fall on behalf of homeless persons “demonstrates the merits of the complaint.” (Read more »)

Parking at the Terrace Building, potentially record-breaking voter turnout and homestead tax fraud among constitutional officers’ focus

County Commission gets updates as part of its 2017 fiscal year budget discussions

Ongoing parking worries for the Tax Collector’s Office, the potential for the county’s biggest voter turnout ever in November and new revenue resulting from investigations of fraudulent homestead exemptions are among issues on which Sarasota County’s constitutional officers have updated the County Commission while presenting their budgets for the next fiscal year. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax revenue down in April after three years of increases

Visit Sarasota County staff talks of marketing campaigns and sporting events to keep visitors coming

On the Friday morning before Memorial Day in 2011, Dr. Stephen Leatherman — aka Dr. Beach — proclaimed Siesta Public Beach No. 1 on his Top Ten Beaches list for the United States. And tourism entered a new “boom phase,” not just on Siesta Key but throughout Sarasota County. (Read more »)

Attorney for Rivolta project seeks reconsideration of TDR prices

Charles Bailey III says his client’s offer was tendered before the County Commission set its new policy of higher fees

On April 27, the Sarasota County Commission set a policy that future sales of Transfers of Development Rights (TDRs) would represent 10 percent of the median price of houses sold in the county in June. That month typically accounts for the highest amounts, county Planning Division Manager Allen Parsons explained. (Read more »)

Latest property value report show bigger increases for Sarasota County and the municipalities this year

The county figure is up 8.34 percent over the 2015 number, while North Port leads the way among the cities with a 13.23-percent rise

The latest value put on Sarasota County property for 2016 is $50,404,540,609, an 8.34-percent increase from the 2015 total of $46,522,880,939, according to a report the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office submitted to the Florida Department of Revenue this week, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Sarasota Sculpture Center’s book wins first place in international competition

Publication was made possible by a donation from Keith and Linda Monda

Sarasota Sculpture Center’s sculpture exhibition, held biennially over the past 15 years along the City of Sarasota’s downtown bayfront, has garnered further international acclaim through its first place win with its book, Season of Sculpture, Biennial Exhibitions 1999-2O12, the organization has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office employee named 2015 Corrections Accreditation Manager of the Year

Sarah Kenniff honored by state commission

Sarah Kenniff of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has been named 2015 Corrections Accreditation Manager of the Year by the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC), Sheriff Tom Knight has announced. Kenniff received the award on June 21 during the Florida Police Accreditation Coalition (FLA-PAC) conference in Orlando. (Read more »)

Suncoast Technical College graduates 21 more precision machinists

Program started in 2013 with funding assistance from the County Commission and the School Board; graduates earning $30,000 to $42,000

The third class to complete the Suncoast Technical College (STC) precision machining and computerized numerical control automation program graduated on June 23, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

County libraries looking to the ‘Cloud’ for ebook lending opportunities

Free app allows patrons to employ numerous devices to access materials

Sarasota County public libraries have a new, easy-to-use eBook and eAudiobooks lending service available from global leader Bibliotheca, the county has announced. (Read more »)

1 arrest made and 32 safety warnings issued during Operation Dry Water, Sheriff’s Office says

One person found to have a blood alcohol concentration almost three times the legal limit

Over a period of three days, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine Patrol deputies made 25 vessel stops to conduct safety checks and issued 32 verbal or written boating safety warnings, plus two citations, in conjunction with their participation in Operation Dry Water, the office has announced. (Read more »)

American Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club to close on July 1, with reopening planned in October

Greens will be revitalized, city staff announces

The American Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club will be closed temporarily starting Friday, July 1, while all 18 greens are revitalized with new turf, the City of Sarasota has announced. “It is anticipated the American Course with new, lush greens will reopen to the public in early October,” a news release says. (Read more »)

Parking reminders offered by City of Sarasota staff for holiday weekend

Parking in the Palm Avenue and State Street garages will cost $5 — cash only — upon entry on July 1 and July 4

With the upcoming 32nd Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix and July Fourth holiday weekend celebrations, the City of Sarasota Parking Operations Division is offering reminders to the public in an effort to boost safety and reduce the chances of people receiving parking violations. (Read more »)

Most City and County of Sarasota offices and facilities to be closed on July 4

Garbage and recycling collection to be pushed back a day in the city and unincorporated areas of the county

City and County of Sarasota administrative offices will be closed Monday, July 4, in observation of Independence Day. Garbage, recycling, yard waste and bulk waste collection will be collected one day later all of next week for both city and county residents, the local governments have announced. (Read more »)