5 Apr 2019



County commissioners express intent to adjust priorities for county’s Capital Improvement Program in coming years to put emphasis on water quality initiatives

Every spring, the Sarasota County commissioners sit down with the county administrator, the director of the county’s Office of Financial Management and the leaders of the Public Works Department to review what they all refer to as the “CIP.” The Capital Improvement Program encompasses a wide range of projects — from athletic park maintenance to road resurfacing to the creation of new parks to installation of sewer lines to replace septic tanks.

Homeless Outreach Teams in City of Sarasota to mark fifth year of program, with more than 10,000 contacts of homeless individuals in 2018

With the Sarasota Police Department and the City of Sarasota preparing to mark the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT), the city’s homelessness response coordinator reported this week that team members made initial contact with 10,525 homeless individuals in the city in 2018.

Newtown workforce training program wins unanimous support of City Commission

In January 2018, Christine Robinson, executive director of the Argus Foundation in Sarasota, met with Sarasota City Commissioner Willie Shaw to talk about an issue, she told the full City Commission on April 1. “It was a short conversation about my topic,” she added, but a much longer one about a matter of great interest to Shaw.

Audubon bird-nesting program coordinator battling vandalism and dogs on Siesta Beach

First, it was the vandalism the last full week of March. Now, it is the dogs. On March 27, Kylie Wilson, program coordinator for Florida Audubon’s Bird Monitoring & Stewardship Program on Sarasota County beaches, contacted The Sarasota News Leader. She needed assistance, she wrote in an email, because of “recent acts of vandalism to our bird nesting enclosures. There have been several occurrences this week, undoubtedly related to all the beach traffic for spring break.”

No ‘rainy day’ reserve funds needed to balance 2018 fiscal year budget for Sarasota County

In the 2018 fiscal year, Sarasota County did not need any of its Economic Uncertainty Reserve Fund revenue to balance the budget, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis told the commissioners during their first budget workshop of the year. That was only the second time since the Great Recession began, he pointed out on March 29, that no such “rainy day” money was necessary to plug a gap.

Citing changes in the plans, Sarasota vice mayor votes against contract and budget amendments for South Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project

Even though staff and project team members called the changes minor, Sarasota Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and Commissioner Willie Shaw this week refused to approve requested budget amendments for the South Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project. The undertaking also involves improvements to Paul Thorpe Jr. Park.

Sheriff’s Office’s 2018 Annual Report points to continued decrease in crime and array of services to community

Since Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight took office in 2009, violent crime is down 43.85% in the county, and Part I offenses — including murder, robbery and aggravated assault, as classified by the FBI — have decreased 51.61%. The statistics are among an array of details in the Sheriff’s Office’s annual report for 2018, released in late March.

Siesta Seen

Attendance for the 2018 Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival was up almost 10% from 2017, with 65,225 attendees, organizers have announced. That uptick came in spite of what the organizers characterized in their news release as “the red tide challenges the area had experienced.”

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Master transportation plan for City of Sarasota to be focus of April 8 CONA meeting

Saprito Pier to be closed temporarily on April 5

Sheriff Knight named Community Advocate of Year by Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office for 12th Judicial District

Sarasota County wins prestigious national honor for its handling of fleet operations

City of Sarasota launches Newtown Historic Building Preservation Pilot Program

Baltimore Orioles welcome more than 100,000 fans during latest Spring Training season in Sarasota

About 850 Sarasota County students to receive free internet access, thanks to efforts of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Sprint program