20160506-6 May 2016

Taylor Community Complex multipurpose field project not eligible for county program funding, city learns

Following on the heels of city/county disagreement over one more CRA payment, the deputy city manager delivers the news about the athletic facility project

As Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown put it this week to the City Commission, not only is city staff “battling with the county right now” over a final payment the city says is due to the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund, but the city also seems to have lost out on hoped-for funding from a program designed to replace county CRA support. (Read more »)

Medical benefits payments drawing more acute county staff attention

Claims above $50,000 totaled 97 in the past fiscal year; they numbered 46 at this fiscal year’s mid-point

Amid all the positive trends of Sarasota County’s finances for the middle of the 2016 fiscal year, one concern has arisen: the rise in medical benefits expenses. As Kim Radtke, director of the county’s Office of Financial Management, ran through department budgets on April 27, showing the County Commission how much certain ones have spent since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1, she noted that Human Resources was at the 47-percent mark. (Read more »)

Residents reporting ‘vast improvement’ in conditions around Siesta Key Wastewater Treatment Plant

County staff continuing to work on measures to mitigate odor problem that had plagued homeowners

Almost exactly four weeks after numerous Siesta Key residents aired their anger about noxious odors at the Siesta Key Wastewater Treatment Plant, a Siesta Isles spokeswoman has told The Sarasota News Leader that she is happy to report the situation is much improved. (Read more »)

Parking fee program for St. Armands wins majority of city board support

Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie voices reservations that the revenue raised will prove sufficient

With only one “No” vote — from Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie, the Sarasota City Commission this week agreed to the next step in implementing a paid parking program on St. Armands Circle. Staff will be back before the board during its regular meeting on May 16 for a formal vote on the resolution setting the fees designed to generate sufficient revenue to pay for the annual debt service on bonds for the construction of a 520-space parking garage, as well as for operating the facility in the upscale shopping district. (Read more »)

Restroom at Deer Prairie Creek Preserve takes precedence over one at Scherer Thaxton Preserve, board says

County Commission focuses on public access plans for its natural areas over the next five years as part of the 2017 fiscal year budget process

In considering public access improvements Sarasota County can and cannot afford for its nature preserves over the next five years, Commissioner Christine Robinson pointed to one issue that made no sense to her last week — and won board consensus to change a project ranking. (Read more »)

Discussions between city staff and Woman’s Exchange representatives may proceed, city commissioners say

Laurel Park Neighborhood Association supports zoning amendment to change some street designations from ‘primary’ to ‘secondary’

By consensus on the afternoon of May 2, the Sarasota City Commission agreed to allow City Attorney Robert Fournier and staff members of the city’s Neighborhood and Development Services Department to meet with representatives of the Woman’s Exchange to explore options for a new loading zone on the nonprofit organization’s South Orange Avenue property in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

Siesta Fiesta’s future might be called a ‘work in progress’

Siesta Key Village Association members debate continuing the event and, if they do, whether to go back to closing part of Ocean Boulevard for it

After years of complaints about restaurants suffering at night during Siesta Fiesta because of the closure of a segment of Ocean Boulevard to traffic, the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) — the event’s sponsor — agreed to limit the crafts fair to Siesta Village sidewalks. And that drew complaints from the crowds, SKVA members reported at their monthly meeting this week. (Read more »)

Affordable housing the focus of County Commission request of staff in regard to TDR incentives

Commissioner Christine Robinson wins unanimous board approval to encourage more affordable homes in 2050 Plan developments

In an effort to spur the construction of more affordable housing in the community, the Sarasota County Commission has asked its staff to look into how transfers of development rights (TDRs) in its 2050 Plan — which governs development east of Interstate 75 — could be used as incentives for such homes. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

SKVA members despair over look of Village pavers, but rain comes to the rescue; valet parking issues get Code Enforcement attention; the public beach gets a ‘Mobi-Mat’; SKVA board and offices elected; results of the Great American Cleanup reported; and SCAT adjusts the Route 10 schedule

The dirty look of the pavers in Siesta Village drew more than a few comments and suggestions this week during the regular meeting of the Siesta Key Village Association. (Read more »)

June public hearing to be last formal step in assessing south Siesta property owners for renourishment project

Contractor should have all equipment out of Turtle Beach Park next week, county project manager says

Just a day after the last of the sand was put in place on south Siesta Beach, the Sarasota County Commission took another formal step in the process of assessing property owners who will benefit from the project their share of the $21.5-million expense. (Read more »)

‘Construction manager at risk’ hired for jail air conditioning project

Halfacre wins $19,000 contract, with project still expected to get underway this fall

The Sarasota County Commission has unanimously approved a $19,132 contract with Halfacre Construction Co. of Sarasota to provide construction manager at risk services in preparation for the replacement of air handler units and water heaters at the West Jail in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

This type of waiting game can become even more trying at times

Writer describes an encounter in a doctor’s office

Let’s face it: We have all been there (no pun intended). It does not matter who the doctor is, or what his/her specialty is, when we have an appointment, we know that we will never be seen at that time. (Read more »)

Volunteer tutors needed for Summer Reading Camp at three schools

Program to run from June 13 through July 21 at three elementary schools

Volunteer reading tutors are needed for the Sarasota County School District’s Summer Reading Camp, the district has announced. The camp will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. June 13 through July 21 at three elementary schools — Brentwood and Gulf Gate in Sarasota, and Lamarque in North Port, a news release says. No classes will be held the week of July 4, it adds. (Read more »)

Sarasota Police Department to hold community meeting on May 11

Latest in a series of New Beginnings II programs set from 6-8 p.m. at Taylor Community Complex in Sarasota

The Sarasota Police Department’s next community meeting in its New Beginnings II program will be held on Wednesday, May 11, at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Sarasota, the department has announced. (Read more »)

Summer pickleball league play offered at Englewood Sports Complex

Registration open for mixed doubles competition indoors, county announces

Members of the public are invited to register for the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Departments’ summer pickleball league. The indoor, mixed doubles competition will take place at the Englewood Sports Complex gymnasium every Monday from June 16 through Aug. 8, a county news release says. The complex is located at 1300 S. River Road. (Read more »)

Residents and visitors urged to ‘share the shore’ with wildlife

Bird- and turtle-nesting seasons underway on county beaches; dogs welcome only at Brohard Beach Paw Park

As summer approaches and trips to the beach become more frequent for residents as well as visitors, Sarasota County staff is reminding everyone to share the shore with native wildlife. (Read more »)

Free Comic Book Day to be held May 7 in Sarasota County libraries

Young people ages 5 to 18 eligible to receive a gift, county staff says, while supplies last

“Be a super hero and bring a child to any Sarasota County library Saturday, May 7, for Free Comic Book Day,” Sarasota County staff has announced. (Read more »)

Dorn named Sarasota Middle School principal, effective as of May 3

Sprinkle decides to stay on as Human Resources Department director for school district

Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White has appointed Janel Dorn, an assistant principal at Pine View School, as the new principal of Sarasota Middle School (SMS), effective immediately, the district announced on May 3. (Read more »)

Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw honored with 2016 Home Rule Hero Award

Nearly 70 local government officials recognized

Mayor Willie Charles Shaw recently was honored by the Florida League of Cities with the 2016 Home Rule Hero Award “in recognition of his outstanding advocacy” for the protection of Home Rule powers and rights for the city’s constituents and citizens during the 2016 Legislative Session, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)