20170210-10 Feb 2017

Revised city regulation to require leashing of dogs in all parks, except in areas designated for the animals

City Commission also directs staff to work on creating more dog parks

An amendment to the City of Sarasota’s leash law that the City Commission called for this week will make it necessary for all dog owners to keep their pets leashed except in designated dog parks. The board asked the city attorney to draft the revised ordinance, which would apply to all city parks, as well as those facilities within the city limits that Sarasota County maintains. (Read more »)

County Commission to decide on next steps on homelessness after seeing report expected in March from a City of Sarasota consultant

City and county leaders’ views continue to reflect different priorities, with long-term funding and triage among top county concerns

One Sarasota County commissioner this week suggested the board ask staff to research the establishment of a special taxing district to provide ongoing funds for solutions to homelessness in the community. Others continued to press for an emergency triage facility, although the Sarasota city commissioners continue to insist on Housing First as their top priority. (Read more »)

County Commission asks county attorney to research SKA’s argument that areas in Big Pass are part of county’s territory

SKA vice president says notice of potential court filing has put administrative challenge process on temporary hold at FDEP

The Sarasota County Commission this week asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to research the county’s boundaries in response to an assertion by the Siesta Key Association (SKA) that areas the City of Sarasota and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) propose to dredge in Big Sarasota Pass are within the county’s territorial limits. (Read more »)

Micro-tunneling for Lift Station 87 project clears Hudson Bayou and bridge

City manager and utility director point to significance of the news

City Manager Tom Barwin made the announcement on the night of Feb. 6, as the City Commission was close to wrapping up its regular meeting. Calling it “probably the best news that we could have received in four-and-a-half years,” he said that as of 2 p.m. that day, the Lift Station 87 microtunnel boring machine had successfully passed beneath both Hudson Bayou and the Osprey Bridge abutment. (Read more »)

County to spend about $16 million to purchase building on Cattleridge Boulevard to consolidate several divisions of the Sheriff’s Office

Commissioner Nancy Detert balks at first because of budget concerns, but other board members convince her to support the action

It appeared at first that the vote would be 4-1. However, after hearing more details regarding the annual debt service — not to mention the related cost savings — Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert joined her four colleagues on the board in approving the county’s payment of $15,765,280 for a 71,592-square-foot office building on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota for Sheriff Tom Knight’s administrative staff, evidence storage and consolidation of his department’s scientific divisions, including Forensics and the Drug Lab. (Read more »)

City manager still pursuing discussions with county staff over a final Downtown Sarasota CRA payment

Another session set for Feb. 14

On Jan. 17, the Sarasota City Commission agreed to give City Manager Tom Barwin and City Attorney Robert Fournier extra time to initiate informal discussions with their Sarasota County counterparts over a dispute regarding a Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund payment. (Read more »)

Downtown circulator expected to begin operation in Sarasota by late April, city staff says

Residents and visitors may use a mobile app to catch free rides on the electric vehicles

No later than the end of April, city residents and visitors alike should be able to use a mobile app — or just the wave of a hand — to catch a free ride on a six-person electric vehicle designed to ease traffic congestion in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

Legacy Trail North Extension process takes another step forward in preparation for purchase

County Commission approves formal work plan, as outlined in the county’s parkland acquisition process

It took only about 10 minutes on Feb. 7 for the Sarasota County Commission to move another step in its effort to acquire the property for the North Extension of The Legacy Trail. On a unanimous vote, the board members approved a formal work plan for county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff to pursue as a pre-acquisition step. (Read more »)

Detert indicates willingness for the county to intervene in the design of the Lido Renourishment Project, if convinced the county can do so

New county commissioner member also reiterates opposition to the current Siesta Promenade proposal

Former state senator and newly sworn-in Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert told about 50 people during the Feb. 2 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting that if she learned Sarasota County could intervene in the Lido Renourishment Project, she would be in favor of the county’s doing so. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Crystal Classic has quite an economic impact; SKA members get an update on bicycle safety initiatives; the SKA gets a new director; Condo Council to meet on Feb. 21; beached sailboat draws lots of lookers; North Beach Road bollards installed; Commissioner Detert’s sense of humor appreciated; and an SKA membership update offered

The 2016 Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival in November 2016 had an economic impact on Sarasota County of $8,134,000, the organizers have announced. The figure was based on data compiled by Research Data Services Inc., a news release says. The Tampa firm has handled such research in the past for Visit Sarasota County. (Read more »)

Commissioner Maio the new chair of Peace River Authority board and latest winner of Chairman’s Award from GCBX

Maio provides update on Peace River Authority’s capacity to his colleagues on the Sarasota County Commission

Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio recently was accorded two honors. On Feb. 1, he was elected the new chair of the Board of Directors of the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority. That evening, the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange (GCBX) presented him the Chairman’s Award. The latter recognizes “exemplary performance and service to the citizens of Sarasota County by a public official.” (Read more »)

Vote-by-mail ballots sent out for March 14 elections

Supervisor of elections reminding the public about deadlines for requesting and returning those ballots

On Feb. 7, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office mailed 10,417 vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the March 14 municipal elections, Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner has announced. This initial mailing included 4,821 ballots for the City of North Port Special Primary Election, 4,893 ballots for the City of Sarasota First Election, and 703 for the Town of Longboat Key General Election, a news release says. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota residents encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications

Police Department to conduct test of Rapid Notify on Feb. 14, involving residents of Lido and St. Armands keys

The Sarasota Police Department is encouraging City of Sarasota residents to sign up for an emergency notification system called Rapid Notify. This free service often is referred to as “Reverse 911,” a Police Department news release explains. “It can alert residents and provide important information during emergency events,” the release adds. (Read more »)

Voter registration deadline of Feb. 13 set for March 14 elections for City of Sarasota and Town of Longboat Key

Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner also reminding the public to update records, as needed

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is reminding voters that the last day to register to vote in the March 14 municipal elections will be Monday, Feb. 13. (Read more »)

Sarasota County to host workshops on flood zones

Sessions designed to provide information about risks, regulations and insurance requirements

Throughout this year, Sarasota County staff will host a series of flood zone workshops at county libraries, the county has announced. The sessions are intended to educate residents, lenders, and insurance and real estate agents about flood risks, zones, maps, regulations and mandatory requirements for the purchase of insurance, a news release explains. (Read more »)

‘Musical flea market’ to be held at Selby Library

Donations welcome for April 15 event in downtown Sarasota

The Sarasota Music Archive will host a “musical flea market” this spring in an effort to raise money to support its lecture series and performances, it has announced. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, in Geldbart Auditorium at Selby Public Library, which is located at 1331 First St. in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

Accreditation team for Sarasota Police Department welcomes public comments

Assessors to arrive in Sarasota on March 7, department says

A team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) is expected to arrive on March 7 to examine all aspects of the Sarasota Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations and support services, the department has announced. (Read more »)

2017-18 open enrollment underway for Virtual School

Internet-based learning program available for students from kindergarten through 12th grade

On Feb. 1, open enrollment began for the next Sarasota Virtual School year, 2017-18, and it will end on Thursday, July 13, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)