20180907-7 Sep 2018



Consultant says county would gain most value from rezoning and marketing a parcel near the Celery Fields for industrial development

Miami consulting firm analyzed potential uses of ‘Northwest Quad,’ as commissioners seek to rezone and sell the land

Late last fall, the Sarasota County commissioners discussed selling surplus land to raise money to fill gaps they were anticipating in their 2019 fiscal year budget. During that Nov. 28, 2017 budget workshop, Commissioner Alan Maio won approval for a proposal regarding three “Quads” parcels the county owns next to the Celery Fields. (Read more »)

Sarasota County voters to decide on Nov. 6 whether to change method of electing county commissioners

Instead of every voter casting a ballot for every seat up for election, voters in each of the five districts would elect just the commissioner from their districts

Representing the board of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE), Sarasota attorney Dan Lobeck has made the case to the Sarasota County Commission that changing the method of electing the commissioners will serve constituents better and encourage more people to run for the seats. (Read more »)

County commissioners decry use of paid petition gatherers in effort to get citizen-initiated Charter amendment on the November ballot

Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections president says firm did hire outside help but mostly had volunteer assistance of county residents

During the Aug. 29 Sarasota County Commission public hearing on changes the board has proposed to the Sarasota County Charter regarding citizen-initiated petition drives, three of the commissioners commented on “paid petition gatherers.” (Read more »)

St. Armands public restroom project gets go-ahead from City Commission on 4-1 vote

Decision to be made later about how to handle the maintenance

With Commissioner Hagen Brody still expressing reservations about the proposed locations and architecture, the city commissioners voted 4-1 this week to give the St. Armands Business Improvement District approval to proceed with construction of two public restroom facilities on public rights of way of the Circle. (Read more »)

Mike Cosentino’s proposed Charter amendments to be on Nov. 6 ballot, though county attorney warns of potential legal concerns if they win approval

Cosentino argues that Office of County Attorney broke the law in rewriting his proposed amendments into language for the ballot and impugns character of commissioners and residents

It took almost an hour and 50 minutes on Aug. 29 for the Sarasota County Commission to vote unanimously to put on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot two proposed amendments to the Sarasota County Charter that emanated from the board’s May 2016 vacation of a segment of North Beach Road. (Read more »)

As Ramirez seeks rehearing in civil case, Waechter’s attorney points to fact that she could have accepted $500 settlement instead of facing prospect of almost $40,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs

Ramirez’s attorney argues that judge made several errors in dismissing remainder of Ramirez’s complaint

Siesta Key resident Lourdes Ramirez has filed a motion for a rehearing after a 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge in August dismissed the remainder of a civil case Ramirez filed several years ago against Robert Waechter, also of Siesta Key. In the meantime, Waechter’s attorney has pointed out to The Sarasota News Leader that Ramirez could have walked away with a $500 settlement, instead of facing the prospect of paying nearly $40,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in the case. (Read more »)

City Commission approves proposed budget and higher millage rate on 3-2 votes on first readings

Final public hearings set for Sept. 17

Mirroring their previous votes, Commissioners Hagen Brody and Shelli Freeland Eddie this week again opposed the City of Sarasota budget as proposed for the 2019 fiscal year. They cast “No” votes not only on the budget this week but also on the proposed millage rate for the new fiscal year, which will rise from 3.1728 to 3.2632. (Read more »)

On Sept. 17, City Commission to consider contract with firm to investigate allegations lodged against city auditor and clerk over several years

Brief confusion about timeline ensues during Sept. 4 board meeting

On Sept. 4, as the Sarasota city commissioners were trying to wrap up their afternoon session in time to get a break before the 6 p.m. start of the evening session, Mayor Liz Alpert made a request of Human Resources Director Stacie Mason. “Could you please address why you had not come back with a recommendation on … an investigation?” (Read more »)

Higher recycling and solid waste collection fees to be imposed by City of Sarasota starting Oct. 1

Commission votes 3-2 on second and final reading of ordinance

Sarasota City Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie joined Commissioner Hagen Brody this week in voting against increases in residential and commercial solid waste collection fees. With Mayor Liz Alpert joining Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch in approving Commissioner Willie Shaw’s motion to implement the new rates, the measure passed on its second and final reading. (Read more »)

County’s ‘bed tax’ revenue collections through June remaining on pace to set new record

Increase in hotel room inventory leads to lower room rates and occupancy levels

Through June — before the stench of red tide’s fish kills permeated many areas and the algae’s aerosols became more irritating to human respiratory systems — Sarasota County’s “bed tax” revenue continued to climb toward a new record, according to the most recent report of the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Aug. 28 primary challengers for District 4 win two precincts each; Big Pass buoy disappearance explained; Siesta roads swap still on track; Siesta Promenade opponent raises questions about plan for more retail space in the area; vacated North Beach Road segment distance definitively delineated; Calle de Costa Rica right of way vacation revisited; and LeLu’s joins Chamber and SKA in hosting red tide informational sessions

During Aug. 29 public hearings on proposed amendments to the Sarasota County Charter (see the related story in this issue), Siesta Key resident Mike Cosentino took several opportunities to remark on his disappointment in losing the Aug. 28 Democratic Primary for the District 4 board seat. (Read more »)

OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day

OTHER NEWS (free):

Grand opening of Canine Club at Gillespie Park in Sarasota set for Sept. 10

Candidates for Florida House seats invited to appear at CONA forum on Sept. 10

State grant to enable Sarasota Police Department to focus more resources on pedestrian and bicycle safety

13th Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale and EdFest set for Oct. 13 at Twin Lakes Park

September dubbed ‘Shoptember’ in Sarasota County