From the Desk of the
City Manager
September 12, 2014
One of the primary functions of local government is public safety -- not just from a partnership policing aspect, but ensuring residents and visitors feel comfortable here.  That includes making sure street lighting is functioning properly so pedestrians can see and feel safe while strolling around town.  We encountered Public Works employee Kevin Starcher working on a tall order recently -- installing and connecting a new light post and light on First Street across from City Hall.  A vehicle collided into the old pole and damaged it enough to necessitate this new installation.

  • General Employees' Pension Board
    Mon., September 15 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • City Commission
    Mon., September 15 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • St. Armands BID
    Tues., September 16 - 8:30 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 109
  • Downtown Improvement District
    Tues., September 16 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., September 17 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112

Current Openings
magnifying glass and text  jobs . conceptual photo.

 Arborist I
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Maintenance Technician III
Rec Attendant
Supervisor - Landscape Maintenance
Supervisor - Public Works, Roads & Bridges
Treatment Plant Operator C   

This Week's Items to Know:
Single Family Homes - Building Boom    We've been mentioning the uptick in commercial and multi-family construction in Weekly Briefs for awhile.  And, when it comes to single family homes, we are also experiencing quite a building boom.  In recent years, our Building Department typically has issued approximately 30 permits
A single family home under construction
on Orange Avenue.
annually for the construction of single family homes.  That trend started to change two years ago.  In 2012, 40 houses were permitted.  Last year, it increased to 53.  And, so far this fiscal year, 81 single family home permits have been issued.  That's nearly triple the amount of home construction in just a couple of years.  These new homes translate into almost $44 million in construction value.  Plus, when you consider the many construction jobs that are being generated, this housing boom is beneficial to our local economy.

We're hearing from area home builders that some of their clients are Baby Boomers who plan to retire here from out of state.  So, Sarasota continues to be a very desirable location, especially with retirees.  Couple that with the easing of lending restrictions and pent up demand, and we have increased home construction unlike anything we've seen in recent memory.

Neighborhood News:  New Water Line   A small Utilities improvement project is underway in the Arlington Park neighborhood that will have a positive impact on water distribution in the area.  A 3-inch AC water line is being replaced on Hibiscus Street, near Shade Avenue, with a 6-inch PVC pipe.  The old line was installed 60 years ago and has become increasingly unreliable, breaking six times in the past 3.5 years.  The new pipe will provide better water flow, performance, and reliability.  Safety also will be increased with the addition of a new fire hydrant.  Because of the location of the pipe, crews are crossing a handful of residential driveway aprons, which will be replaced as part of the project. We expect the project to wrap up in the next several weeks, and we appreciate residents' patience as they endure some inconveniences during this improvement project. 
A Utilities crew installing a new water line along Hibiscus St.

Vandal Proof Lights  Next time you're at City Hall, you may notice 13 new pedestrian lights along the walkways around the building.  Over the past year or so, the lights on the low wall near the City Hall parking lots have been broken or ripped from the wall enough times that it was decided an effective solution would be the installation of vandal proof lights.  The new lights are LED, very sturdy and firmly mounted.  We're optimistic these rugged lights will brighten the pathway for pedestrians while deterring vandalism. 
Finance Award - 33 Years & Counting   For the 33rd straight year, the Finance Department has been honored by the Government Finance Officers Association with the prestigious Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the last fiscal year, ending September 30, 2013.  When it comes to governmental accounting and financial reporting, this is the highest form of recognition and represents a significant achievement by our Finance staff.  Consider it the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. To earn this award is noteworthy.  But, to do so 33 years in a row is a remarkable achievement.  It's uplifting news like this that highlights Sarasota's legacy of quality fiscal management.  It also helps this City Manager sleep at night.  Congratulations, once again, to Finance Director John Lege and his very capable staff.  
The Finance Team.  Back - L to R:  Finance Director John Lege, David Flatt, Lou Ciferno, Dolly Gamble, Susan Dodd and Barney Kavanagh.  Front - L to R:  Margie Holman, Rob Schanley, Jr., Mary Tucker, Kelly Strickland, Denise Donohue, Michele Keeler, Michelle Valentich and Lisa Shay.

Homeless Resource Guide   The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness has created an extremely helpful pamphlet with detailed information about social services available in the Sarasota area for homeless and at-risk   individuals.  The Sarasota Resource Guide for Homeless and At-Risk provides contact numbers, street addresses, maps and websites for a wide range of social services including emergency shelter, meals, employment, legal assistance, health services, behavioral health, housing, children services and transportation.  Comprehensive and packed with valuable resource information, the pamphlet folds into a small pocket size guide which can be easily carried.  To download the resource guide click here.

Twitter - 10K Followers Strong    We reached a significant milestone this week with the popular social media platform Twitter.  We now have 10,000 followers all over the globe!  Although individual messages are limited to 140 characters, Twitter is an effective way to communicate directly with the public without a filter. Other communities have discovered it is an especially powerful and helpful tool during emergency situations, such as a tropical storm.  If you're not already following us on Twitter, check us out at
The City's tweet announcing 10K followers.

September 11th Ceremony    We'd like to thank everyone who took the time yesterday morning to attend our September 11th remembrance ceremony at the Sarasota Police Headquarters.  The event was held in conjunction with the Sarasota County Sheriff's
President George W. Bush, while visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary on September 11, 2001, being informed of the first hijacked airplane hitting the World Trade Center.
Office and Fire Department to remember the many brave souls who lost their lives that day, our nation's resiliency -- and Sarasota's indelible connection with September 11th, with President George W. Bush visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary at the time the terrorist hijacked jets hit the World Trade Center.  It's an emotional day for many of us as we reflect on how these events forever changed our lives.

At the end of the ceremony, Norm Schimmel, who contributes the final photo in each Weekly Briefs, presented a framed photograph of the new 1 World Trade Center tower.  The piece is entitled, "America Has Risen" and will be on display in the SPD lobby, 2099 Adams Lane, along with two framed photos of ground zero, also captured through Norm's lens.  Thank you, Norm, for these impressive images which will help us to never forget September 11, 2001.  I'd also like to thank SPD for coordinating this poignant event and our local agencies who participated.

To see a photo album of the ceremony click here.
Resident Norm Schimmel unveils 'America Has Risen', a canvas photograph of 1 World Trade Center. 
City Commission Vacancies - Application Deadline  The deadline for applications for the District 2 and District 3 City Commission seat vacancies was today (Sept. 12) at noon.   All completed candidate applications will be posted on the City of Sarasota website.  To review those materials click here

On November 19 at 3 p.m., the City Commission will hold a special meeting to make the two appointments.

Upcoming Events

Life's a Beach Triathlon Kickoff
Lido Beach S. Parking Lot
Fri., September 12
4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Life's a Beach Triathlon
Lido Beach & S. Parking Lot
Sat., September 13
6 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Upcoming Shows at the Van Wezel:

Friday Fest - Adrian Ray
Fri., Sept. 26 - 5 p.m.
FREE Outdoor Concert
Reminder:  Single tickets for the 2014-15  season go on sale Sat., September 13  10 a.m. - 6 p.m.  Appointments are available by calling the Box Office:  941-953-3368. 
To view the full season brochure click here

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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