From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 19, 2019
It's an active summer for the Parks and Recreation Department with multiple summer camp programs taking place at different recreation facilities, including Junior Golf Camp at Bobby Jones Golf Club.  In this photo, the City's PGA Golf Professional and Assistant Golf Course Manager, Christian Martin, is showing Chase Adams, 8, how to hold a club to successfully connect with the ball.  This summer's golf camps have been the most popular in recent years with all available spots taken, plus a waiting list.  One more 3-day golf camp will be held in August -- and that's sold out as well. What a great way to get the kids and grandkids into good habits at an early age with a recreational activity they can enjoy for decades!


  • Parking Advisory Committee
    Wed., July 24 - 4 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., July 24 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
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This Week's Items to Know:

FY 2019-20 Budget - Preliminary Millage Rate Set   Last week, the City Commission reviewed our budget for fiscal year 2019-20 and set the preliminary operating millage rate at 3.2632 mills. This figure is unchanged from last year's and ranks among the lowest in the state - only about 25 percent of Florida municipalities have a lower millage rate.
The FY 2019-20 budget reflects the City's efforts to manage a historic building boom, which includes 4,000 new downtown residential units recently completed or under development. Our staff continues to respond to Sarasota's population growth and demands for public service. The recommended budget addresses fiscal challenges while continuing to fund an ambitious capital improvement program and our new Park and Recreation District, created to promote healthy living by improving park maintenance, programming and transparency in the financing of quality of life park investments.
We are also collaborating with the community on a number of transformative and aspirational projects, including the Sarasota Bay Park master plan, the revitalization of the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club as an environmental and recreational asset, the future of our transportation system and the long-term protection of the Lido Beach shoreline. All of this work will enhance the exceptional quality of life already enjoyed by our special city, most recently recognized as the 18th Best Place to Live in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Thanks to Finance Director Kelly Strickland and all our department heads and support staff for their arduous work in developing this budget.  
The proposed budget documents and budget workshops can be viewed on the City's website,, and anyone interested in speaking about the topic is invited to do so during two public hearings set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 at City Hall.
Public Art - 2 Recommendations  The Public Art Committee listened to six artists' presentations and public input earlier this week before making recommendations for sculptures to be placed at the roundabouts now under construction at U.S. 41 and 10th St. and 14th St.
In the end, the PAC made the following recommendations:  
14th Street:  "Poly" - Nancy Hou
"Life in the Seagrass" - Casto Solano 

"Poly" - Nancy Hou

The talent pool was impressive with 114 submissions received for the 10th Street Call to Artists and 95 for 14th Street.  We're fortunate so many creative artists were interested in participating in our process.  
The next step will be for the City Commission to consider the recommended pieces.  Most likely that will occur during the regular City Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3.  (The meeting will be held on Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday.)  
With U.S. 41 being a state road, maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation, ultimately, that agency will review the specifications of each piece to ensure compliance with safety standards.  
Thanks to everyone who provided input to the PAC by attending the meeting, sending emails (we received quite a few!) and those who shared their thoughts on social media.              
Parking -  Downtown Parking Program   Rollout for the downtown parking program is continuing with the Judicial District activated and users interfacing with the pay stations with few issues.  The Parking Operations Division is monitoring the machines closely to ensure they're working properly before moving westward into the Downtown District.  All will be operational within a couple of weeks. 
Please keep in mind, just a small portion of downtown is included in the paid parking program -- approximately 11 percent.  The other 89 percent is still free for up to two hours, both on-street and in the two City-owned parking garages, which are conveniently located in downtown a short stroll to the stores and restaurants on Main Street.
A downtown parking map is available online and at your favorite stores.   
This brief video provides a helpful overview on the downtown parking program:
Downtown Parking Program 
Questions about the downtown parking program? 
Please contact ParkingInfo@SarasotaFL.Gov  
Similar to the St. Armands parking program, the downtown parking program was developed prudently to shift to a user pay system in hopes of eliminating subsidies from the general fund and to make it easier for visitors to access prime parking spaces.   Thousands of spaces are still free.

Questions?  Please check out the FAQs or contact the Parking Operations Division at ParkingInfo@SarasotaFL.Gov  
Parks & Rec - Making a Difference    Our Parks and Recreation Director, Jerry Fogle, has a strong commitment to helping children and offering a safe environment where they can relax, play -- and also focus on learning.  
For the past several years, the City has supported an after-school homework and tutoring program, called Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing, by offering space at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.  This partnership is making a significant difference in individual lives, as we heard recently from a 6th grade math teacher at Booker Middle School.
Every student enrolled in the program improved two levels or more in math except one student who improved one level.  The teacher went on to directly attribute the students' impressive success to the after-school program at R.L. Taylor and the commitment of the volunteer tutors and students.  Each year, she says, all of her students who attend the program improve their state testing math scores, and this year was their best year yet.  
What a profound impact this community collaboration between Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing and our Parks and Rec Department is having on the lives of our youth! 
Congratulations to all involved -- from Alice Jones, the Sarasota resident who started Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing, to the volunteer tutors to the hard working students to our staff at R. L. Taylor -- well done!    

Van Wezel:  Subscriptions on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
Friday Fest - Rebel Heart 
Fri., July 19 - 5 p.m.
FREE Event 
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