From the Desk of the
City Manager
February 21, 2014
The City Commission voted unanimously this week to continue to allow chickens in the city limits (up to four chickens on a single family home property -- no roosters).  I'm told this was a very contentious issue three years ago, before my arrival, but now it's virtually quiet because of the dedicated efforts of those residents who wanted to see it succeed.  Collectively, those supporters are known as CLUCK -- Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping.  Over the years, they have exceeded expectations working closely with residents to educate them and ensure they understand the do's and don'ts of urban chicken keeping.  This commitment has gone a long way, as residents across the city have started raising chickens.  A three year status report, required in the ordinance and presented to the City Commission this week, shows that our Code Compliance division received just 21 complaints since 2011 (and, ultimately, 14 of those complaints concerned roosters which are banned).  That's an average of seven complaints per year.  It seems there isn't much to cluck about (couldn't resist the pun) -- and that's a good thing.  And, the good news continues:  we're told by CLUCK that other locales are now using our urban chicken ordinance as a model.  This is a true success story of community collaboration.  Thank you, CLUCK -- especially Jono Miller -- for your ongoing educational outreach efforts to ensure residents with chickens are being good neighbors and that the backyard hens are well cared for.  Thanks also go out to our Code Compliance staff and residents who, through a unified vision, made this urban chicken ordinance a success.  If you'd like to read the chicken ordinance, click here.  (Photo Courtesy:  Virginia Hoffman)


  • Downtown CRA Extension Study Committee
    Tues., February 25 - 5:30 p.m. 
    City Hall - Room 109
  • Firefighters Pension Board Meeting
    Wed., February 26 - 9 a.m.
    SRQ Media Studio - City Hall Annex
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., February 26 - 1:30 p.m.
    SRQ Media Studio - City Hall Annex 
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., February 26 - 5:30 p.m.
    SRQ Media Studio - City Hall Annex

This Week's Items to Know:
Finance Department Honored Our Finance Department has been honored once again with two prestigious professional awards: the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. A formal presentation was made by Mayor Shannon Snyder to our Finance Department staff during the City Commission meeting this week.
Finance Awards 21814
L to R: Mayor Shannon Snyder, Finance Director John Lege, Kelly Strickland, Michelle Valentich, Dolly Gamble, David Flatt, Susan Dodd and me.
These awards speak volumes about the caliber of professional staff we have working in the Finance Department overseeing taxpayer dollars. And, these honors are not anomalies. In fact, this is the 32nd consecutive year staff has been recognized with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and the 23rd consecutive year they have been honored with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. Such professional consistency over the years is indeed impressive. Some of our employees have been instrumental in earning these awards year in and year out for as many as two decades. This truly instills confidence in our budget methodology, bookkeeping and reporting on annual expenditures of $192.4 million.  In the government finance realm, our team received the gold medal.  Congratulations to all involved!
Bobby Jones Golf Club on the Golf Channel  Our popular municipally owned and operated 45-hole golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club, will be featured on an upcoming program on the Golf Channel. A video production crew was on-site recently to produce a segment about the history of golf in America, and naturally, they wanted to include Sarasota which is considered to be the cradle of golf.  The segment is called "Golf Detective" and is scheduled to air during the program "In Play with Jimmy Roberts" this coming Monday, February 24 at 10 p.m.  In 1886, when Col. John Gillespie arrived in Sarasota, he brought the unique concept of recreational golf with him, and soon built two greens and one long fairway where Main Street is now located.  Although that is gone, our 9-hole executive course honors our golf history by carrying the Gillespie name.  Later this year, the City Commission will begin discussing future renovations and improvements at Bobby Jones.  In the meantime, we're looking forward to sharing our history with the nation as well as showcasing our golf course on the Golf Channel. 
Downtown Winter Concert Series  Live music wafted from Selby Five Points Park yesterday evening as the Downtown Sarasota Alliance hosted its free 2nd Annual Winter Concert Series, with French musician Michelet Innocent crooning a Tribute to Nat King Cole.  When the park was renovated in 2010 by the Downtown Improvement District, the long range vision included creating a vibrant sense of place where people could gather and
Michelet Innocent performing last night at Selby Five Points Park.
enjoy special events in our downtown core.  The DID invested $188,000 removing a low wall, installing brick walkways as well as connecting the necessary conduit for live music.  Some of the concert goers last night spread out a blanket, while others enjoyed the open air music in our beautiful winter climate from a lawn chair.  These kinds of social events are important to the vitality of a downtown, and it's wonderful to see the park being used in this manner.  Congratulations to those behind the scenes at the DSA who pulled this event together.  By the way, the concert series continues next Thursday, February 27 at 5 p.m. in the park.   
SPD Citizens Academy  Interested in learning the ins and outs of partnership policing and the Sarasota Police Department?  We're now hosting a SPD Citizens Academy, and our second class recently started.  This is an interactive, hands-on learning experience, so don't expect to sit in a classroom the entire time.  For example, SPD Citizens Academy participants will take a field trip to the shooting range to experience firearms training.  Students also will learn about the SPD's dive team, marine patrol, emergency response and explosive material teams, SWAT and crisis negotiation unit, K-9, plus patrol methods.  There's a lot to learn and digest with our partnership policing program, and that's why it's a 13-week program, meeting once a week.  The goal is to educate as many residents as possible about our unique partnership policing program and have residents take that information back to their neighborhoods and ultimately strengthen our relationships.  The next class is scheduled to begin in August.  If you're interested in enrolling, you just need to be at least 18 years old and a City of Sarasota resident.  For more information call Officer Danny Robbins:  941-954-7056 or apply online at
The Winter 2014 SPD Citizens Academy. 
Upcoming Events

J.D. Hamel Park Arts & Crafts   
  J.D. Hamel Park
Sat. and Sun., February 22 and 23 - 5 p.m. 

Sarasota Exotic Car Festival on Main Street 
Main Street 
Sat., February 22
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

Mon., February 24 - 8 p.m.
Bob Newhart

Tues., February 25 - 8 p.m.
Lang Lang
Wed., February 26 - 8 p.m. 
The Moscow Festival Ballet: Don Quixote
Thurs., February 27 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets

Rhythm of the Dance
Fri., February 28 - 8 p.m.
Buy Tickets
It's been another busy and productive week at City Hall.  If there's an item you would like included in a future edition of the e-newsletter or if you know someone who would like to subscribe please contact us at:  Lots of activities are on tap for this weekend.  There's no question -- we're in season!  However you spend the weekend, I hope you enjoy some quality time in our beautiful city.

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
   Follow us on Twitter