From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
March 22, 2019
Blue skies!  As soon as there was a break in the unusually chilly and damp weather this week, the John Ringling Causeway bridge walkers and runners, as well as the anglers,  could be seen enjoying the outdoors.  Several sightings of dolphins in the area have also been reported this week, which is great news following the recent red tide experience. This fisherman, casting his line for sea trout, is visiting from New Hampshire and tells us he and his wife have been exploring the east and west coasts of Florida for years and have decided Sarasota is the only place to be with its easy walkability, abundant natural resources and cultural arts.   Thank you -- and we couldn't agree more!


  • General Employees' Pension Plan Board of Trustees
    Mon., March 25 - Noon
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Featured Job of the Week 

Other great opportunities!  

This Week's Items to Know:

2019-20 Budget - Community Input Requested   As with most local governments, we are in the midst of reviewing the City's budget and assessing community needs for the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year.  
This is a lengthy, in-depth process as we strive to present a proposed budget to the City Commission which balances the needs and goals of the community with many varied programs and projects.
Local government remains the one level of government where residents can provide input and feedback -- and truly have a say on local issues.   
We hear from residents on most every subject -- from Parks and Recreation to traffic to development to sustainability issues.  And, this feedback helps us set priorities and build a stronger community. 
That's why we invite your input about the upcoming budget.  What are your priorities?  What suggestions would you like to give us while we're still early in the budget process?
The City Commission is scheduled to hear the proposed 2019-20 budget July 8 and 9.  Prior to then, we welcome your budget questions and suggestions.  And, to make it convenient, you can submit your feedback online via SarasotaFL.Gov
Thanks in advance, and we'll look forward to hearing from you. 

Sustainability - Shoreline Rehab   A much-needed rehabilitation of the Sarasota Bay shoreline at the terminus of Boulevard of the Arts is now underway.
Crews working to rehab and restore the shoreline at the end of Boulevard of the Arts.  
Thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection totaling almost $188,000, we are in the process of removing a dilapidated concrete seawall and replacing it with a sloped rip rap.  A living shoreline at this location is also being restored.   The combination of these strategic environmental improvements will allow us to better adapt to sea level rise, absorb wave action, reduce erosion and improve habitat for wildlife.  
An added benefit is that this approach was more cost effective than simply rebuilding a new seawall.  
The project, which is adjacent to Phase 1 of The Bay master plan, is expected to be completed by mid-June.
Thanks to Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes for doing the heavy lifting with the grant application and ensuring state funds were in place, and also to Project Manager Georges Nicolas for overseeing and closely monitoring this important environmental project.  
Mobility Impact Fees - Reduced in N. Sarasota   We're seeing redevelopment interest in North Sarasota as a direct result of action taken by the City Commission recently.
Last month, the Commission reduced multi-modal transportation impact fees for select non-residential uses in the Newtown CRA of up
A portion of multi-modal transportation impact fees can be discounted for designated commercial uses.

to 90 percent and up to 75 percent along the North Trail.  The goal was to incentivize economic development in an area of the city that has been long overlooked by the private sector. 
Some of the commercial uses eligible for the discounted impact fees include restaurants (excluding fast food), hotels/motels, retail stores, pharmacies and banks.
And the good news is....already, the Economic Development Office is receiving inquiries regarding potential redevelopment projects.  Exciting! 
We appreciate the team effort with Planning, Economic Development, Engineering and the City Attorney's office that went into changing the impact fee schedule, which we are optimistic will help revitalize the area.
Interested in learning how to apply for the discounted multi-modal transportation impact fees?  Please contact Assistant City Engineer Dan Ohrenstein at 941-365-2200, ext. 4371. 
Emergency Preparedness - New Generator Funding    This week, the City Commission approved a critical grant for nearly $243,000 from FEMA to assist the City with emergency preparedness.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant will enable the City to install a fixed or permanent 400-kilowatt generator at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. In the City's emergency preparedness planning, RLTCC is a key staging area for response crews. Once we move to the recovery phase following a storm, having a generator would allow us the flexibility to use the site as needed - whether it's as a public cooling station, a distribution site for food and supplies, a post-storm shelter for citizens who cannot return home or who have medical needs after schools need to be reopened, or more.
This grant is a 25 percent match, with the City's share of the project costing just under $81,000. It is being funded via the Penny Sales Tax.
Following the community's close call with Hurricane Irma in 2017, a comprehensive post-storm assessment noted a generator at Robert L. Taylor was needed.  We're pleased it should be in place by the upcoming hurricane season.
Thanks to our Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering and Grants Writer Laura Wittenbauer for diligently following through with this significant grant, which will help us be that much more prepared for a potential emergency.  
Bobby Jones Golf Club -  Tournament Registration   Registration is now open for the 24th Annual Men's Senior City Championship to be held at our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club, the weekend of April 6 & 7.
2018 Men's Sr. City Championship winners:  K.C. Fox (left) and Ray Wenck (right) with Assistant Golf Course Manager Christian Martin (center).

The tournament is open to any male amateur golfer who will be at least 50 years young by April 6.  A Super Senior division is also available for those 70+.
The event is a 36-hole competition on the British Course, with play starting each day at 7:30 a.m.
The entry fee is $150 per player, which includes greens fees, cart, tee gift, prizes, refreshments and awards dinner.
The tournament is limited to 104 players.  Paid entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 1.  After that time, a $10 late fee will apply.

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

To view the full Van Wezel season, visit 
The Lion King  
Now through Sun., March 31
The Music of Cream will be at the Van Wezel
April 15.

All 23 dates and tickets

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Thurs., April 4 - 7:30 p.m. 

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
Tues., April 9 - 7:30 p.m. 
Wed., April 10 - 7:30 p.m. 
The Music of Cream 
Mon., April 15 - 8 p.m. 
The Second City:  It's Not You. It's Me.
Tues., April 16 - 8 p.m. 
Menopause the Musical
Wed., April 17 - 7:30 p.m. 
Boz Scaggs - Out of The Blues Tour 2018 
Thurs., April 18 - 8 p.m.
Alan Cumming - Legal Immigrant 
Sat., April 20 - 8 p.m.

Rosanne Cash and Band 
Thurs., April 25 - 8 p.m.

The Temptations and The Four Tops 
Fri., April 26 - 8 p.m.

Whoopi Goldberg 
Sat., April 27 - 8 p.m.
Catch Purple Reign May 4.

Lee Greenwood and Crystal Gayle 
Sun., April 28 - 7 p.m.
The Illusionists 
Tues., April 30 - 7:30 p.m. 

Purple Reign
Sat., May 4 - 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