15 Feb 2019



County commissioners indicate determination to allocate funding for replacement of more septic systems as they plan future budgets

At the urging of a former county commissioner, the Sarasota County Commission has asked County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to ensure that the board’s first budget workshop of the year include a focus on funding for projects that would eliminate septic tank use in the county’s watersheds. That budget workshop is set for March 29.

‘Bed tax’ revenue year-over-year decline not as dramatic for December 2018 as for first two months of fiscal year, latest figures show

For the third straight month since the 2019 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2018, Sarasota County’s “bed tax” revenue has fallen in a year-over-year comparison, the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office has reported. However, the decline for December 2018 was only about 2%.

Circuit Court judge rules for Siesta Key Association, saying City of Sarasota has to comply with its own environmental regulations before it can remove sand from Big Pass

For the Siesta Key Association (SKA), the third time — as the saying goes — was the charm. After ruling twice in recent months against the nonprofit, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Andrea McHugh issued an order on Feb. 12, ruling that the City of Sarasota must comply with a section of its own environmental regulations before it can dredge Big Sarasota Pass.

County Commission zeroes in on 90-day period for staff to plan water quality summit at facility large enough to accommodate 700 attendees

With further suggestions from Sarasota County commissioners this week, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis said he believed 90 days would be a reasonable time frame within which staff could plan a water quality summit for the public. Chair Charles Hines asked that Lewis provide updates to the board members during their next two sets of meetings, so they can help staff refine plans for the event.

Public encouraged to provide comments on Siesta Key traffic and parking issues through county webpage or in person at Feb. 27 workshop

The director of Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR) is encouraging all community residents to provide their thoughts on Siesta Key parking and traffic issues in advance of a Feb. 27 County Commission workshop on the topics.

New parking garage open on St. Armands

Blame the delay on unexpected underground situations, manufacturing issues that slowed down the delivery of some construction supplies and design changes. Finally — not quite two months later than originally planned — the St. Armands parking garage opened on Feb. 12.

County and plaintiffs in Charter amendments lawsuit agree Reopen Beach Road can be a party to the case

Siesta Key property owners who have challenged the legality of two Sarasota County Charter amendments and the Office of the County Attorney have agreed that the nonprofit organization Reopen Beach Road should be allowed to intervene in a 12th Judicial Circuit Court case focused on the amendments.

Final agreement involving swap of River Road and Siesta roads may be finalized in April, county engineer says

A new timeline has emerged as Sarasota County staff and representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) work to finalize a swap involving River Road and roads on Siesta Key. On Feb. 5, County Engineer Spencer Anderson notified Assistant County Administrator Mark Cunningham via email that the final draft of a Road Transfer Agreement (RTA) could be completed in April, for County Commission review.

County Commission’s investment in arts and cultural programming continues to garner better rate of return than national standard

Sarasota County continues to get a significant return on the annual investment it makes to community arts and cultural organizations in the form of grants, Jim Shirley, executive director of the county’s Arts and Cultural Alliance, has told the County Commission.

Casey Key couple wins approval to repair collapsed section of retaining wall and deck

It was only the fifth time in Sarasota County history that staff had brought to the County Commission a petition for a Coastal Setback Class II Emergency Variance, Environmental Permitting Manager Howard Berna told the commissioners on Jan. 29. After hearing from staff and one of the petitioners, plus supporters of the latter’s plans, two of the commissioners almost spoke in unison as they tried to make a motion to approve the request.

Siesta Seen

On Feb. 7, the assistant Sarasota County engineer reaffirmed to Siesta Key Association (SKA) members that the county’s swap of Siesta roads for River Road, involving the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), is expected to be completed soon. Larry Mau joined Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department (PRNR), in discussing traffic and parking issues on the island in the context of a planned Feb. 27 County Commission workshop.

OPINION (free):


Cartoon of the Day

Commentary: A ‘Super’ T-shirt nets variety of reactions

OTHER NEWS (free):

City and County of Sarasota to observe Presidents Day

Thunder By the Bay to take place Feb. 15-17

Sunrise beach walks offered on Wednesdays on Siesta and Nokomis public beaches

Lido Beach emergency renourishment project past the halfway mark, city manager reports