From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
February 9, 2018
With the beautiful February weather we've been experiencing, the sidewalk cafes are bustling with residents and visitors relaxing with a coffee or enjoying a meal outdoors.   As one person at a table on Main Street near Pastry Art noted, "We live in paradise!" 


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Mon., February 12 - 8:30 a.m.

    City Hall - Commission
  • Community Workshop
    Mon., February 12 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., February 13 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Public Art Committee
    Wed., February 14 - 1 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., February 14 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Parks, Rec & Environmental Protection Board
    Thurs., February 15 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Accounting & Payroll Systems Supervisor
Capital Projects Engineer
Commission Reporter
Communications Specialist
Irrigation Technician I
Landscape Maintenance Tech II 
Pension Plans Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
  Senior Pension Accountant
Solid Waste Helper - Collections, Part-time
   Volunteer/Unpaid Intern     

This Week's Items to Know:

Parking Garages - Parking Access Equipment   New parking access equipment is now installed and functioning at the State Street and Palm Avenue Garages to allow for 3 hours of free parking and a simplified fee after 3 hours.

This means we'll need to make some simple modifications with how we enter and exit the garages.  Each driver who enters the garage will need to take a ticket dispensed from a machine upon entry.

When leaving the garage -- before you get in your car -- use one of
A driver inserts their ticket prior to exiting
the State St. Garage. 
the pre-pay machines conveniently located on the ground floor next to elevator. Using a pre-pay machine, you'll receive an extra 20 minutes to leave the garage.  Take the pre-paid ticket back to your car. Insert it at the exit -- and that's it. Those parking less than 3 hours will not have to pay a fee.

The pre-pay machines accept credit cards, cash and coins.  They're user-friendly, conveniently located, and save time when exiting.

Pay in lane machines are also available, if you forget to pay before you get in your car. 

A major new feature of the system now allows for overnight parking.  This is beneficial for those who may have had one too many drinks and can now leave their car overnight in one of our downtown garages without fear of a ticket or time limit as they can Uber, Lyft or take a taxi.  It also will help downtown residents who may have guests who need a place to park overnight.

As mentioned, the first 3 hours are complimentary.  Also, Sundays and holidays are free.

From hours 3 to 4 the fee is $3, then $1 per hour thereafter (or a part of an hour) up to $23 for the day.  A lost ticket is $20.

For those who work downtown, employee parking permits are available for just $20 a month. 

This parking system is in place to help cover the operations and maintenance of the garages and to maintain the cleanliness and safety standards which are expected in downtown Sarasota.

For more information about parking permits and the parking access equipment, please contact the Parking Operations Division:   941-954-7057 or ParkingInfo@SarasotaFL.Gov    
U.S. 41 - Traffic Shift   This week, FDOT crews paved the portion of U.S. 41 between 10th Street and 14th Street where medians had been located in order to narrow and shift north and southbound lanes.  The traffic shift is expected to be in place in both directions very soon.

To accommodate the upcoming roundabout construction, left turns will be temporarily prohibited between 10th and 14th.  By doing
Lanes will be shifted on U.S. 41 between 10th and 14th. 
this, FDOT's goal is to alleviate possible traffic backups on U.S. 41.

With the traffic shift, comes a shift in work schedules.  Starting Monday, February 12, FDOT will cease night work and transition to daytime work. So, be on the lookout for crews working in that area during the day.

FDOT's community outreach team is in contact with residents and businesses in the vicinity advising them about schedules, impacts and addressing concerns. City staff continues to be involved with weekly update meetings representing City issues and coordinating with FDOT.
More information is located on FDOT's website:

Redesigned Website:  SarasotaFL.Gov   With websites being the gateway to the world for businesses, organizations, and government, we want to ensure the City of Sarasota site is modern and user friendly.  Redesigning the website has been a top priority for the IT Department and the results are now available for the world to see!

The website has a new look, improved functionality, and a new url:  SarasotaFL.Gov.  (No need to type "www")  Those visiting the previous site will be automatically redirected.

Working with Vision Internet, a well known web designer which revamped sites for the City of North Port, City of Venice and many others around the country, the emphasis was 3-fold:  modernize the site to make it compatible with mobile devices, streamline the design, and develop a search option to allow users to type a few key words and easily locate what they're looking for.

A portion of the new City of Sarasota website:  SarasotaFL.Gov 
The homepage features a prominent search bar as well as oversized buttons for popular topics including meetings/agendas, news, maps, permits and much more.  A drop down menu offers users many more options to navigate the site.

With the new site being dynamic and easily changeable, we'll be able to quickly add and modify important messages on the homepage.  This will be especially helpful during an emergency, such as Hurricane Irma.  Reminders about trash/recycling collection schedules on holidays could also be posted.

Some interesting facts about the City's website:  Typically, it receives 5,000 unique page views per day.  That number jumped to 12,000 during Hurricane Irma.  Also, the number of people visiting via mobile device is on the rise at 34%, with 66% accessing it through a desktop computer.

Rolling out the new website truly has been a Herculean, citywide team effort, with every department involved in the process at some level. Thanks to IT Director Herminio Rodriguez and his team for working closely with all and having the determination to see this project to fruition.

Sustainability - Whitaker Bayou Cleanup    A sofa, TV and skateboard -- those are a few of the discarded items fished from the bottom of the Whitaker Bayou last Saturday by volunteers. 

The City's Sustainability team joined 3 dozen other volunteers with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota County, Ringling College students and Around the Bend Nature Tours to clean up the bayou.  Some worked on land and others from the water using boats and kayaks to better access the trash.

Volunteers plucked a sofa from the bayou during the cleanup. 
In just two hours, a total of 1,400 pounds of trash was collected,  hauled ashore, weighed and sorted for proper disposal or recycling.  

The Whitaker Bayou is an urbanized tidal creek which flows into the Sarasota Bay.  So, the health of the bayou impacts the Bay and the living conditions for dolphins, fish, turtles etc. 

Thanks to all involved for volunteering to help improve this important natural resource.        

Millennials - Moving to Sarasota    A report by Curbed and also Domino Magazine caught our eye which places Sarasota as one of the top cities in the nation for millennial population growth.

The article shows an 11% increase in the number of millennials moving to Sarasota between 2010 and 2015.  That puts Sarasota at #9 on
Sarasota is in the top 10 for millennial population
growth, according to Domino Magazine.

the list, just behind well known millennial havens such as Austin, Colorado Springs and San Antonio.

Favorable weather, booming economy, job opportunities in the creative arts, active restaurant scene, cultural arts, and 3 high quality local universities are all cited as reasons which are attracting increasing numbers of millennials here and helping to diversity the community's demographic profile.

Click here to read the full article.

The U.S. Census Bureau classifies the millennial generation as those born from 1982 to 2000  -- approximately 25% of the population.

This is an encouraging report as we as a City continue to reach out to young professionals in the community and discuss their quality of life  including a variety of housing choices within the region.

Employee of the Quarter - Rob Schanley    Congratulations to Rob Schanley, the City's Facilities Asset Manager, for being named the Employee of the Quarter by a committee of co-workers.

A veteran employee of 19 years, Rob was recognized by the City
Rob Schanley (center) being recognized as the Employee of the Quarter by Assistant City Manager John Lege and Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie.

Commission this past Monday night for going above and beyond to assistant a co-worker with a time sensitive project.   He was out of the office on a scheduled vacation, when specific information was needed about City-owned properties, which Rob oversees.  Hitting the pause button on his vacation for a bit, Rob located and shared the information with us.  And, his assistance made a significant difference!

We greatly appreciate employees, like Rob, who provide exceptional service for co-workers and residents.  Thanks for serving with excellence and pride!   

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

Van Wezel seats

The following is a list of shows through Feb. 2018.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit      
Tony Bennett 
Sat., Feb. 10 - 8 p.m.
Ramsey Lewis & John Pizzarelli 
Sun., Feb. 11 - 8 p.m.
Dancing With the Stars: Live! - Light Up the Night 
Tues., Feb. 13 - 8 p.m.

The Beach Boys 
Wed., Feb. 14 - 7:30 p.m.
George Benson 
Thurs., Feb. 15 - 8 p.m.
Michael McDonald will be at the Van Wezel on Feb. 17.

Barry Manilow 
Fri., Feb. 16 - 8:30 p.m.

Michael McDonald 
Sat., Feb. 17 - 8 p.m. 

The Hot Sardines 
Sun., Feb. 18 - 7 p.m.
Stayin' Alive 
Mon., Feb. 19 - 8 p.m.
Gordon Lightfoot 
Thurs., Feb. 22 - 8 p.m.
Moscow Festival Ballet - Romeo & Juliet & Carmen 
Tues., Feb. 27 - 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets over the phone call 941-953-3368 or stop by the Box Office at 777 N.Tamiami Trail. 

For a complete schedule of events, visit

 Thanks for reading this week's edition.  If you'd like to receive Weekly Briefs directly to your inbox, click 'Join Our Mailing List ' below or send us an email at CityNews@SarasotaFL.Gov

Tom Barwin
City Manager