20180629-29 Jun 2018


City commissioners vote 3-2 to hold off on millage rate decision until after staff takes harder look at potential budget cuts, including number of new employees

Staff proposes increase of 0.0905 mills to cover expense of taking over five parks from Sarasota County

It took about an hour and 48 minutes during a special meeting on June 27 for the Sarasota city commissioners to vote 3-2 on a motion directing administrative staff to undertake a more thorough review of the proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year, with a focus on additional savings. (Read more »)

Decision on implementation of body cameras and patrol car cameras for Sarasota police officers to be made before City Commission approves 2019 budget

Police chief also talks with commission about need for new personnel and equipment

The biggest question for the Sarasota Police Department’s 2019 fiscal year budget will be whether the Sarasota City Commission elects to proceed with a body camera or fleet camera program for patrol officers. That decision may come on July 9. (Read more »)

Visit Sarasota County president faces barrage of County Commission questions about $675,000 payment to SANCA for Under 23s World Rowing Championships and comments about needing to ‘fill hotel rooms’

Commission approves 2019 budget for county’s tourism agency on 3-2 vote

On May 17, Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley addressed members of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC), expressing dismay that county staff had pulled her budget from consideration that day. Questions remained about whether county staff could support a request from the tourism agency to add $500,000 to its 2019 fiscal year budget, Jeff Maultsby, director of the county’s Office of Business and Economic Development, explained. (Read more »)

SANCA to get county funding for another year as it works with county staff on revenue-generating options

Nonprofit that manages Benderson Park had sought another three years of county financial support

At the recommendation county staff, the Sarasota County Commission has agreed to give the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) $858,353 in additional funding for the 2019 fiscal year to assist with paying for personnel and events — plus rising routine expenses — at Nathan Benderson Park. (Read more »)

Sarasota Orchestra announces plan to seek new concert hall it can call its own within city of Sarasota

Organization’s leaders point to supporters’ view that it cannot wait on build-out of amenities proposed for the bayfront

Given the years-long process that likely will be needed to create new amenities on the Sarasota bayfront, the leaders of the Sarasota Orchestra have decided to proceed with an endeavor to secure a new site elsewhere in the city that they can call their own. (Read more »)

North Palm Avenue streetscape project expected to get underway in late July

Initiative designed to solve stormwater issues, too

About six years after the project originally was proposed, the City of Sarasota has received City Commission approval for a North Palm Avenue streetscape/stormwater project for which $329,927.39 has been budgeted. (Read more »)

City Commissioner Brody argues that board should make settlement offer before judge rules on motions in breach-of-contract case involving $49.8-million verdict

City attorney and commissioners debate holding a ‘shade’ meeting on a counter offer

Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody has told his colleagues he would like for the city to make a settlement offer to a limited liability company in which the city has been engaged in litigation over an alleged breach of contract. He wants that to happen before the county judge presiding over the trial in the case — which ended in late May — rules on motions, including the city’s request for dismissal of the litigation, based on the assertion that insufficient evidence was introduced in court to prove the plaintiff’s arguments. (Read more »)

‘Bed tax’ revenue declines year-over-year for April, Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office reports

Overall total so far still indicates another record could be set

For the first time since the current fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2017, Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue has dipped for one month, compared to the same month last year, the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office has reported. The April figure was $64,432.37 lower than the April 2017 total, Tax Collector Office records show. (Read more »)

St. Armands parking garage and start of metered parking program on Circle key facets of city’s Parking Department focus in 2019 fiscal year

Subsidy for FY19 budget to be less than half necessary for 2017 fiscal year, budget shows

Along with implementing metered parking on St. Armands Circle in December and completing the new 500-space parking garage there, the City of Sarasota’s Parking Department staff will be adding another pay station for users of the Palm Avenue parking garage and making minor repairs to that facility in the 2019 fiscal year. (Read more »)

Seffner man dies after being struck by lightning on Siesta Beach June 24

James William Barton was snorkeling offshore as storm approached

A 33-year-old Seffner man who had been snorkeling off Siesta Beach on June 24 was struck by lightning and died after he waded out of the Gulf of Mexico, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has reported. James William Barton was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m. in the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, the report said. (Read more »)


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Wildlife organizations pleading with people to protect shore-nesting birds over July Fourth holiday

Mote and state wildlife officers seeking help to determine who drove over marked sea turtle nests near Turtle Beach on south Siesta Key

Beach-goers reminded to ‘pack in and pack out’ over holiday period

HAWK crosswalk system activated at intersection of First Street and U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota

Sarasota County School District earns A grade for 15th consecutive year

City and county administrative offices to be closed for Fourth of July holiday