22 Mar 2019



Final decision on agreement for management of The Bay delayed until April 15 City Commission meeting

After learning this week about Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier’s limited involvement in the drafting of a proposed agreement for a nonprofit organization to manage a 53-acre city bayfront park, the City Commission decided to wait until April 15 to consider a final version of the document. Four of the five commissioners made it clear that they wanted to have Fournier review the agreement and provide comments on it before they vote on it.

CRA settlement with County Commission wins unanimous City Commission approval

It took almost exactly 3 minutes and 15 seconds on March 18 for the Sarasota City Commission to join the County Commission in unanimous approval of a settlement over a nearly three-year-old dispute between the two local governments.

‘Bed tax’ revenue down much more in January than December, compared to figures from same months in previous fiscal year

As it turns out, the drop in Tourist Development Tax (TDT) — or “bed tax” — revenue from December 2017 to December 2018 was not as dramatic as initial figures indicated. However, the latest data from the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office show collections in January were down $138,912.86 — about 6% — compared to the total for January 2018.

To improve county Fire Department’s effectiveness, three full-time crew members instead of two should be assigned to each engine, consulting firm says

The Sarasota County Fire Department “is one of the best that we have looked at” nationwide in terms of configuration of stations and service delivery, Stuart McElhaney, director of planning and strategic services for Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI), has reported to the Sarasota County Commission.

Use of civil citations in lieu of criminal charges for possession of small amounts of marijuana to be focus of proposed new City of Sarasota ordinance

Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody won unanimous support of his colleagues this week for his proposal that civil citations should be an option, instead of criminal charges, in cases when law enforcement officers are dealing with individuals possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana and cannabis paraphernalia.

Citing City of Sarasota arguments, Circuit Court judge gives Siesta Key Association 20 days to convince her why she should not dismiss nonprofit’s latest petition

An attorney for the City of Sarasota has questioned whether a meeting between representatives of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and senior staff of the City of Sarasota took place regarding the proposed dredging of Big Sarasota Pass, as the SKA has contended in a lawsuit against the city.

Widening of Clark Road to six lanes from I-75 to Ibis Street and realignment of Lorraine Road to be focus of proposed county Comprehensive Plan amendment

The Sarasota County Commission has authorized county staff to work on a plan to realign Lorraine Road “to provide a connected network of future roadways east of I-75 to support future development.” If ultimately approved, part of the process would lead to the reclassification of Clark Road as a six-lane major arterial from Interstate 75 to Ibis Street.

City budget amendments reflect state and federal grants for emergency and long-range Lido Beach renourishment projects

With no comments on March 18, the Sarasota City Commission formally approved two budget amendments regarding separate projects designed to stabilize the critically eroded beach on Lido Key. Both items were on the board’s Consent Agenda No. 2 of routine business matters. Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch made the motion to approve that Consent Agenda, and Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie seconded it. The vote in favor of the motion was unanimous.

Third emergency variance issued in the past year to stabilize a structure on Casey Key Road property threatened by shoreline erosion

For the third time in less than a year, the Sarasota County Commission has agreed to issue a Coastal Setback Class II Emergency Variance to property owners on Casey Key dealing with severe erosion. With no indications that anyone opposed this latest petition, the commission voted unanimously on March 12 to approve the request.

Siesta Seen

The work to develop an app for the Siesta Key Breeze trolley came up on March 12, as the County Commission was holding a discussion about whether to proceed with privatization of the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus system. Rob Lewis, interim director of SCAT, noted — as he had during the Siesta Key Condominium Council meeting in February — that the company operating the open-air trolley “is getting close to releasing a real-time tracking [mechanism] for your phone and mobile devices.”

OPINION (free):


Cartoon of the Day

Commentary: Visitor takes in the topless at the Med and learns about other ways of life on the Costa del Sol

OTHER NEWS (free):

Annual Tour de Parks bike rides set for Sunday, March 24

Free bicycle helmet giveaway and fitting event for youngsters planned on April 6 at Osprey Junction Trailhead Park

Solar panels to be installed atop St. Armands parking garage, starting this week

Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead to hold community garage sale on April 6

Sheriff’s Office works with Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles staff to bring mobile unit to county jail to enable inmates to obtain ID cards