From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
October 6, 2017
During National Night Out this week, the Robledo family met Eli, a 2-year-old German Shepherd with the Peace River K-9 Search and Rescue Association who is here assisting the Sarasota Police Department.  Hosted by SPD, the annual National Night Out is a chance for police officers and residents to get to know each other in a fun, relaxed setting to help create strong community bonds.  Thanks to all who coordinated this important partnership policing event and to those who attended. 


  • Special City Commission
    Mon., October 9 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers

  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., October 10 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., October 10 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., October 11 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Community Assistance Forum
    Fri., October 13:  6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
    Robert L. Taylor Community Complex - 1845 34th St.
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Control System Tech I - Plant Maintenance
Deputy City Auditor & Clerk  
Director of Utilities
Event Production Runner
Facility Maintenance Tech - SPD
Irrigation Technician I
Landscape Maintenance Tech II
Maintenance Mechanic Solid Waste Collection
Maintenance Tech I - Facilities
Manager, Redevelopment
Operations Manager, Business Improvement District
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)    
Recreation Specialist
Treatment Plant Operator C - Wastewater
Utility Mechanic I - Wastewater Collection
Utility Mechanic I - Water Distribution
Volunteer/Unpaid Intern        

This Week's Items to Know:

Storm Debris Collection - Progress Report   Progress is being made with storm debris collection.  As of mid-week, approximately 40% of the storm debris throughout the city limits has been picked up during the first collection cycle.   Crews are working in all areas of the City now and we expect they will finish the initial pass for the entire City by October 20th.   
Approximately 75%
Sarasota storm debris trucks lining up to be weighed by
contract monitors in a makeshift tower. 

of the debris north of Fruitville Road has been collected, as contract and Public Works crews continue to work from north to south.  Additional crews are now in neighborhoods south of Fruitville Road and on the barrier islands.   
So far, a total of 20,000 cubic yards has been picked up. We calculate the amount of debris created by Irma is almost the same amount of yard debris our crews would pick up over two years.  It's an enormous task made even more challenging with so many communities throughout the southeast seeking the same resources.    
For those awaiting debris collection, we appreciate your patience.
The Storm Debris Hotline is still active and will continue to take calls as long as necessary:  1-855-428-4526.  
Buyer Beware - Watch for Possible Contractor Scams   We'd like to issue a reminder to be careful when hiring unsolicited contractors who may be looking for work following Hurricane Irma.
Crews collecting storm debris last weekend noticed flyers placed on
There are no additional fees for storm debris pickup by the City.  Residents do not have to pay a private contractor for debris removal.

piles advertising collection for a "reasonable rate".  Please note: There are no additional fees for storm debris pickup by the City.  Residents do not have to pay a private contractor for storm debris removal.  
Before hiring a contractor for any work, you're advised to ask for the business license number and verify it through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or Sarasota County (941-861-5000), obtain three estimates, and check the company's reputation through the Better Business Bureau.
Also, watch for anyone going door to door in an unmarked vehicle, offering an unusually low rate, requiring payment up front or refusing to provide a written estimate.
It's wise to be cautious and alert, especially at this time when unscrupulous individuals may try to take advantage of homeowners recovering from Irma.  

Bond Rating Upgraded - Moody's Aa1 & Aa2  We're pleased to report Moody's Investor Service recently upgraded the City's bond ratings, assigning the City two of the top three highest and best ratings given
The General Obligation debt was upgraded to Aa1, one notch from City Logo the highest rating.   
Also, non-ad valorem debt was upgraded to Aa2, which is very good news as the City prepares to issue revenue bonds for the upcoming St. Armands paid parking improvements.   
The better ratings will result in better interest rates for the City.  Our financial team estimates the upgraded non-ad valorem debt rating will save the City an estimated $250,000 a year in interest payments on the St. Armands Garage alone.  Well done!
These ratings are the result of the City Commission's disciplined policies with debt and pension liabilities, the City's historically stable financial state, a growing tax base, and strong management of City resources.
Congratulations to the Finance team for achieving this excellent rating and affirming the City's dedicated stewardship of taxpayers dollars.   

Finance Dept. - Trifecta of Awards!   More kudos for the Finance Department!  The team earned the Government Finance Officers Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.   
The addition of this award completes the GFOA's "Trifecta" for the Finance team for the fourth straight year.  Earlier in the year, they received awards for Excellence in Financial Reporting and Distinguished Budget Presentation. 
The Popular Report award recognizes the department's commitment to explaining the City's finances in a helpful, user-friendly format. The award winning report was produced for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2016.    
To consistently achieve so many professional awards -- while also earning bond rating upgrades --  is a testament to our talented and dedicated Finance team. Congratulations, one and all!
The Finance Department 2017:  (L to R) back row:  Laura Wittenbauer, Lorrie Simmons, Michele Keeler, Mark Stinson; middle row:  Margie Holman, Lisa Shay, Kelly Betz; front row:  Finance Director Kelly Strickland, Michelle Valentich, Susan Dodd, Deputy Finance Director David Flatt   
Seawall - Phase I Complete   A much needed 240-foot shoreline stabilization seawall at Bayfront Park, adjacent to O'Leary's Tiki Bar, is now completed. The timing couldn't have been better with it being finished ahead of schedule and just before the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
The new seawall will help protect the
shoreline at Bayfront Park.

The seawall was installed to protect the shoreline by minimizing erosion.   
Phase II of the project, the living seawall, is currently in the design stage. Staff is working with Reef Innovations, a local contracting team, to design and install concrete modules which will absorb more velocity, helping to restore the area for wildlife habitat and minimize erosion elsewhere.  We're also working with Mote scientists to better understand and document the impacts of wave action and how the living seawall can mitigate these forces.  Together, these measures will help maintain this valuable City asset and future shoreline and habitat preservation and restoration efforts.
Lift Station Operations To gain better insight into critical infrastructure potentially vulnerable to climate change, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown and I recently inspected Lift Station 10.  Located off the North Trail near 18th Street, it handles nearly 20 percent of the City's wastewater (approximately 2 million gallons) every day, before being transported to the treatment plant on 12th Street.
Peering into one of four valve vaults at LS 10. Crews descend
6 feet to conduct preventative maintenance checks on valves. 
LS 10 was among the more than 200 critical infrastructure components recently evaluated for its vulnerability to future climate conditions.  With its proximity to a canal that feeds into Sarasota Bay, LS 10 was identified as a priority asset that could be considered for future hardening to withstand sea level rise and extreme weather  events. 
The facility underwent a major rehabilitation in 1995, including the addition of an emergency standby generator which is tested regularly.  Had power been lost at LS 10 during Irma, the Utilities Department is confident the generator would have functioned well, as others did at various lift stations across the city.   
Over the past two years, many major components at LS 10 have been replaced as part of the City's ongoing preventative maintenance program. Twice a year, the electrical system is tested via thermo imaging to detect problems before they create a possible electrical issue at the facility.
We greatly appreciate the hard working Utilities crews who help ensure the health and safety of residents and safeguard the environment by properly maintaining all the lift stations, including LS 10.     
With the Utilities Department lift station crew at Lift Station 10. 

Veterans Day - Seeking WW II-era Women   In the spirit of Rosie the Riveter, the theme for this year's annual Veterans Day parade, on Sat., November 11, will be "We Can Do It!"   
The Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee (POC) is seeking to honor Sarasota-area women who served in World War II and supported the
WW II-era women will be honored during the annual Veterans Day parade on Sat., Nov. 11. 
war effort at home.  
During the war, many women suddenly found themselves in the workforce, producing defense machinery and equipment in shipyards and factories.  The experiences of two women named Rose, and others who pitched in for the war effort, were combined to create the iconic figure Rosie the Riveter.
On Veterans Day, the POC will honor women and their immeasurable contributions which helped lead the U.S. and the Allied  powers to victory and end WW II.
To be included in the women's "We Can Do It" recognition, please contact Dan Kennedy with the POC:  941-812-5406.
The annual parade will start at Main St. & Osprey Ave. at 10 a.m. on Sat., November 11. A ceremony will follow at 11 a.m. at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park, located at Main St. & Gulfstream Ave.   
The keynote speaker will be former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant C.J. Bannister, who now serves as the Director of Veteran Services for Goodwill Manasota.  During her 8-year tenure in the military, Ms. Bannister was honored with many awards and medals including the National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through Dec. 2017.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 

Big Stage Ballroom - Fred Astaire 
Fri., October 8 - 7 p.m.

Neil Berg's 50 Years of Rock and Roll 
Fri., October 13 - 8 p.m.
Willie Nelson & Friends  
Tues., October 17 - 8 p.m.
Chicago Live in Concert 
Mon., October 30 - 8 p.m.
Straight No Chaser will be at the Van Wezel Nov. 16. 

So You Think You Can Dance 
Fri., November 3 - 8 p.m. 
Doo Wop Spectacular
Sat., November 4 - 7:30 p.m.

Celtic Thunder
Wed., November 15 - 7:30 p.m.

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 16 - 8 p.m.
Decades Rewind 
Fri., November 17  - 8 p.m. 
Three Dog Night 
Sat., November 18 - 8 p.m.
Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour 
Tues., November 28 - 8 p.m.
An Irish Tenors Christmas 
Sat., December 2 - 8 p.m.
Leann Rimes 
Sun., December 3 - 7 p.m.
Catch Dave Koz on Nov. 28.

Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story 
Tues., December 5 - 8 p.m.
98 Degrees Christmas
Mon., December 11 - 8 p.m.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Sun., December 17 - 2:30 p.m.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Thurs., December 21 - 7 p.m.

A Christmas Carol
Fri., December 22 - 7 p.m.

Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker
Fri., Dec. 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager