From the Desk of the
City Manager
June 13, 2014
6th St. Canal
An old wooden pedestrian bridge adjacent to our bayfront, which has seen better days, spans the 6th Street Canal and connects the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall with the former GWIZ property.  After 20 years of use, it's time to replace it.  And, that's what crews are doing now.  The bridge is temporarily closed while a new one, made with a wood alternative to prevent warping, is installed.  The path is expected to reopen for pedestrians on or near Friday, June 27.


  • General Employees' Pension Board 
    Mon., June 16 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission     
    Mon., June 16 - 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers   
  • Public Art Committee   
    Tues., June 17 - 6 p.m. 
    City Hall - Commission Chambers 
  • Development Review Committee 
    Wed., June 18 - 9 a.m. 
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., June 18 - 1:30 p.m.  
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.

Lifeguard I
Manager, Information & Communication Technology
Manager, Treatment 

This Week's Items to Know:
State of the Utility     One of the key functions of local government is the operation and maintenance of utilities, specifically, providing clean, safe drinking water, and properly collecting and disposing of wastewater.  This week, the City Commission received a State of the Utility report from our Utilities Department, and I'm pleased to report the state of our utilities is aging but good.

On average, we provide approximately 6 million gallons of drinking
Crews rehabilitating Lift Station 16. 
water each day, with the capacity to provide service to an additional 23,500 residents.  The City is responsible for 275 miles of pipe which comprises our water distribution system, and 250 miles of pipe within our sewer collection system.  That's a critical and significant amount  of infrastructure to maintain our quality of life and economy.

For the past several years, the Utilities Department has focused on improving the infrastructure, including relining nearly 10 miles of sewer mains to reduce groundwater infiltration and rehabilitating several lift stations.  To meet regulatory compliance, the City is in the active process of building a deep injection well, plus Lift Station 87.

In recent years, the City Commission has supported a long range vision to fund necessary capital improvements without issuing debt, while maintaining a sufficient capital reserve.  To accomplish this goal, while faced with increased annual operating costs, the City Commission will consider a modest rate adjustment allowing for ongoing utility infrastructure maintenance.  To review the State of the Utility presentation click here.

The Utilities Department plays a critical role in our everyday operations.  Thanks to Director Mitt Tidwell and his crew for their continued dedication and hard work.

Solid Waste Division    It's important for our 700 part-time and full time employees to understand the City's mission and be informed about ongoing improvement projects throughout the community.  That's why Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown and I are setting aside time to meet with employees and provide them with updates about everything from budgets, to water line improvements, to new playgrounds, to culture and tourism in our community, to the homeless issue.

We had the opportunity this week to meet with the City's Solid Waste crew.  This division of 18 employees is a physically fit team and is
The Solid Waste crew with me and Marlon Brown.  
responsible for solid waste collection from over 14,500 residences and 2,200 commercial services, plus all the receptacles in our parks and business districts.  In total, they collect approximately 45,000 tons of solid waste every year.

Residences are provided with a 90 gallon cart, which is picked up once a week using semi-automated equipment.  Collection for commercial businesses varies from once a week to six times a week depending on their individual needs.

Solid waste collection is an essential quality of life service that protects public health and the environment.  We are fortunate such a hard working crew oversees this service and is part of our City of Sarasota team.

Trash collection schedules vary only a few times a year due to  holidays, and we're approaching one of those holidays.  As an early reminder, there will be no garbage, recycling, yard waste or bulk waste pick up on Friday, July 4th.  Collection will occur the following day on Saturday, July 5th.

State Street Garage Update    If you've been near the old State Street Parking Lot recently, you've noticed it's looking different.  To provide improved aesthetics and to keep construction dust and debris within the project site, the area is now fenced with a green
The State Street Garage construction site. 
screen.  The vegetation is gone and crews are drilling test holes on the property where the foundation pilings will be installed.  Expect to see vertical construction on the new parking garage, which will house approximately 395 parking spaces and retail, within the next month.

To see a detailed map showing parking options throughout downtown click here.

In the meantime, interested individuals are invited to attend our  public outreach meetings every other Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in the SRQ Media Studio in the City Hall Annex.  The next meeting is scheduled for June 25.  City staff and contractors are on hand to provide updates and respond to suggestions from the community about the project. 

New SPD Officer     I'd like to welcome Isven Chavez as our latest
SPD Officer Isven Chavez

SPD recruit to successfully complete field training.  For 14 weeks, Officer Chavez worked with three SPD Field Training Officers becoming proficient in more than two dozen different subject areas, which he was evaluated on every day.  Officer Chavez now has been deemed qualified to protect and serve our community and has been assigned a patrol shift.  Congratulations and be safe!

MDA Lock-Up    One of our own was "locked up" this week -- for a good cause.  SPD Capt. Lucius Bonner participated in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-Up.  He was escorted away by SPD Crime Prevention Officer Danny Robbins and taken to Ruth's Chris where a "mugshot" was taken and he was allowed to work the phone lines, seeking donations to MDA in exchange for his release.  Capt. Bonner raised an impressive $2,700.  The funds will help adults and children living with muscular disease, by providing research, healthcare, advocacy and education.  Thank you Capt. Bonner and all who contributed to this worthwhile cause.
MDA Lock-Up
Officer Danny Robbins is all smiles as he "arrests" Capt. Lucius Bonner; Capt. Bonner standing in the MDA "jail".  
Distinguished Budget Award    For the 24th consecutive year, our Finance Department has been honored with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.  To continue to perform at such a high level throughout leadership changes over nearly a quarter of a century, speaks volumes about our dedicated and talented Finance team.  This professional acknowledgement will continue to instill confidence in the community that we have skilled experts watching over our City finances. 

A special thank you goes to Deputy Finance Director Kelly Strickland and Budget Manager Michelle Valentich who were instrumental in this achievement.  I am proud of this team which continues to diligently pursue municipal excellence under the leadership of Finance Director John Lege.  By the way, our budget documents, including the 2013-14 adopted budget which received this award, are posted online at

Lifetime Achievement Award - Chris Lyons    One of the many reasons why the City is in its current stable financial position is the leadership, foresight and tireless efforts of our former Finance
Chris Lyons
  Former Finance Director Chris Lyons accepting the FGFOA's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Director, Chris Lyons.  After working for the City for 26 years, Chris retired in 2013.  Members of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association showed their admiration and appreciation for his extensive contributions to the public finance profession by honoring Chris with their Lifetime Achievement Award during a recent conference in Orlando.  Gib Mitchell, a former City of Sarasota Finance Director and Chris' supervisor for 20 years, presented him with the award.

Our Finance Department is a close-knit staff and, as you can imagine, they are proud Chris was recognized in this manner by his peers.  Planning for his departure, Chris ensured there would be a smooth transition at City Hall by helping to recruit a successor, John Lege, who worked closely with Chris before Chris retired.  Even after his retirement, Chris has been willing to provide historical knowledge and insight with complex issues when necessary.  You left us in extremely capable hands, Chris, but your expertise, unwavering commitment and good natured sense of humor are attributes we continue to cherish.  Congratulations on this well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award!

Bobby Jones - Drive, Chip, Putt Qualifier    The second annual PGA Drive, Chip and Putt qualifying event at Bobby Jones Golf Club attracted a lot of attention last weekend as 185 junior golfers participated in the youth event.  Even representatives from the national PGA organization were on hand to watch the competition unfold.  By the end of the day, a total of 24 boys and girls advanced to the next stage of the competition by finishing in the top three of their age bracket.  The next qualifying round will be played in Orlando in August.  The PGA is diligently trying to attract young players to the sport, and this was a great way to introduce children to golf and help them sharpen their skills in a fun, competitive atmosphere.

Congratulations to the entire staff at Bobby Jones for hosting another successful event.  We'll look forward to hearing how far our Sarasota qualifiers make it in the national competition.  Perhaps one of these talented young golfers will compete one day in the U.S. Open, which is underway now in North Carolina.
Drive Chip Putt
Junior golfers practicing their putting before the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Bobby Jones Golf Club.

Sarasota Keys - Summer Hiatus    JIm Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, informed us this week that the Sarasota Keys musical program is on hiatus during the rainy season.  One of the challenging aspects of having pianos out in
Sarasota Keys
A Sarasota Keys concert at Main St. and Lemon Ave. 
the open at designated locations throughout downtown is dealing with a sometimes petulant Mother Nature.  To preserve the integrity of the pianos, they were placed in summer storage this week and will return in November, just in time for the holidays and the return of our seasonal residents and visitors.  We reported in last week's edition of Weekly Briefs that the City Commission approved the continuation of the Sarasota Keys program for one year with up to six more pianos, for a total of 12 downtown.  We will look forward to hearing the melodious sounds of the pianos once again this fall.

Upcoming Events

Flag Day
Selby Five Points Park
Sat., June 14
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

St. Armands Craft Festival & Sidealk Sale 
St. Armands Circle
Sat., June 14 and Sun., June 15
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Fathers & Fenders Car Show 
Selby Five Points Park 
Sun., June 15 
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel

Julianne Hough and Derek Hough Move Live On Tour

Sun., June 15 - 7 p.m. & 2 p.m. 

Friday Fest - Yesterdayze 
Fri., June 27 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert  Van Wezel seats

American Idol Live!
Thurs., July 17 - 8 p.m.
Friday Fest - Come Back Alice
Fri., July 25 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert


Friday Fest - SoulRcoaster
Fri., August 22 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert
Friday Fest - Adrian Ray
Fri., Sept. 26 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert
Have a fun and safe Father's Day weekend!

Thanks for reading this week's updates.  If you'd like to receive Weekly Briefs directly to your inbox click 'Join Our Mailing List' below or send us an email at

From sunny Sarasota,

Tom Barwin
City Manager
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