From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
August 2, 2019
The blue skies, serene waters and scenic skyline of downtown Sarasota can be a sight to behold, especially if you're taking it all in while aboard one of several sightseeing vessels that make their way around Sarasota Bay daily. These folks were treated to some stunning views as they passed under the John Ringling Causeway while enjoying their tour earlier this week.


  • Community Workshop
    Monday, Aug. 5 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wednesday, Aug. 7 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

Water Quality - Pet Waste    It's not just common courtesy to pick up after your dog, it is vital to keeping our waterways and our environment clean and healthy.

The City has placed pet waste bag dispensers at its parks to help encourage pet waste  pickups. Not doing so can lead to unsanitary conditions not just on land, but in the water, too. This is especially so at all of our waterfront parks.

Water quality tests are conducted regularly by the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County. When an area shows unsafe results, staff make a site visit. The most common cause for unsafe conditions at Bird Key Park is dog waste. In almost all instances, the site inspector has observed dog waste bags available in the nearby dispenser; however, some dog owners did not pick up after their pets. Occasionally, high counts can be related to concentrated amounts of algae, but the majority is from animal waste.

Please help us educate the community - your friends and neighbors - and encourage them to pick up after their dogs and help keep our beautiful Bird Key Park and Sarasota Bay clean and safe for all.

Residents can help ensure public health and improve water quality at Bird Key Park by utilizing the pet waste bag dispensers and picking up after their dogs.
Housing & Community Development - 7 New Homes  Thanks to our City Commission and the Board of County Commissioners, who committed grant funds to partner with non-profit developers, seven families now have affordable, safe and energy-efficient housing.

Using State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) funds, seven new
One of seven newly built affordable homes.
homes have been completed in the past two months by Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County.  Located in the Sarasota city limits, Venice and North Port, the homes feature wind-resistant windows and doors, plus they are zero-energy buildings, meaning the total amount of energy used is approximately the same as the renewable energy produced.

Over 20 student volunteers from Suncoast Technical College helped Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, Inc. with the construction of a house on McIntosh Road (pictured above).

SHIP funding from the State of Florida is jointly received by the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County, with the City serving as the lead agency. The Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) administers SHIP funding for Sarasota.

Since 2006, a total of 106 houses have been completely renovated or newly constructed by both Habitat for Humanity organizations using SHIP, federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, all of which are administered by OHCD.

Thanks to all involved!
Procurement Award  For the fifth consecutive year, the City's Procurement Division has been honored with the Achievement of Excellence award from the National Procurement Institute.   
The City of Sarasota is one of just 26 recipients in Florida and 201 total throughout the nation.
This professional achievement recognizes leadership, innovation, professionalism, productivity and e-procurement.  Purchasing is a significant aspect of municipal government, and this recognition highlights our commitment to building trust with vendors and taxpayers by using national best practices in the field of procurement and continually seeking ways to improve.
The government procurement process can be intimidating, especially to new and small business owners.  To help demystify the process and encourage more businesses to participate, our Procurement team recently created Vendor 101 classes offering friendly interaction with instructions and tips on how to submit a bid or Request For Proposal. The classes were well attended and received.  This is just one example of how  Procurement General Manager David Boswell and his talented (and extremely busy) staff are setting new standards of excellence.  The Procurement Division is part of the Finance Department led by Director Kelly Strickland.  Bravo to all -- keep up the good work!
Going Solar - SolSmart Certification   We're pleased to announce that the City of Sarasota recently received a SolSmart "Bronze" Certification. SolSmart is a well- respected certification program that recognizes steps taken by communities to make installing solar easier for residents and remove obstacles to solar growth. SolSmart is led by the International City/County Management Association and the Solar Foundation. 
We're particularly proud to share that we are the first community on the west coast of Florida to receive this certification and one of about 200 cities and counties around the country since the program launched in 2016. The  recognition shows that we've helped identify ways to reduce the "soft" costs of going solar and implemented changes so that contractors and companies can pass those savings along to consumers. Also, for green companies looking to expand, a SolSmart designation means that Sarasota is "open for solar business."
This is an achievement our staff has been working toward for some time. I'd like to acknowledge the leadership and collaboration of Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes, Development Services Director Tim Litchet and Building Official Larry Murphy for helping to identify opportunities and implementing changes related to solar permitting. Specifically, Larry and his team created a clear checklist for contractors detailing what's required for permitting a solar power system in Sarasota, made it publicly available, and also implemented a same-day approval for solar installations that meet certain conditions.
In addition to the Bronze certification, Sarasota was presented with a special recognition award to celebrate going "above and beyond" in the category of Utility Engagement. This recognizes our unique relationship working with Florida Power & Light through the Ready for 100 effort and collaboration on renewable energy projects.  

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Friday Fest - Reverend Barry and the Funk 
Fri., August 16 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
Friday Fest - Ari and the Alibis 
Fri., September 20 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager