From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 26, 2015
11-year-old Emma Smith and 6-year-old Vance Freeman were thrilled that the circus playground at Payne Park reopened this week following a short closure for repairs and improvements.  Please note:  a brief closure will be necessary in one month to finish the repair work after we've waited the required 30 days for a new concrete slab to cure.   We'll keep you posted!


  • City Commission Workshop
    Mon., June 29 - 5 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Development Review Committee
    Wed., July 1 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Joint Special City Commissions & Council
    Wed., July 1 -  2:30 p.m.
    Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Grand Foyer
  • Community Workshop 15-CW-14
    Wed., July 1 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Code Compliance Hearings
    Thurs., July 2 - 8 a.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Golf Course Attendant
IT - Manager, Professional Business Services
Lifeguard I
Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant (Children's Fountain)
Rec Attendant (RLTCC)
School Crossing Guard
   Utilities Engineer (Contract)   

This Week's Items to Know:
City Hall Closed - July 3     City Hall administrative offices will be closed next Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.  Please note:  There will be no change with the regular collection of garbage, recycling and yard waste.

Bobby Jones Golf Club, Lido Pool and the Children's Fountain will be open on July 3rd with regular hours.

The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex will have limited hours on July 3 (6 a.m. - 10 a.m.) and regular hours on July 4.

The Children's Fountain will be open on July 3 (10 a.m. - 7 p.m.) weather permitting and closed on July 4.

Powerboat Races - FREE Trolley Service    We're encouraging everyone planning to attend the upcoming Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival at Lido Beach to get out of their cars and use alternate modes of transportation  --- walk, bicycle, car pool or take a free shuttle. 

On July 4 and 5, trolley cars will run between the Palm
SRQ Trolley cars will operate between the
Palm Ave. Garage and Lido Beach Pavilion. 
Ave. Garage and Lido Beach Pavilion from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.  It's hoped the free service will mitigate traffic and parking congestion on Lido Key and help make everyone's experience more enjoyable.

The free shuttle is being offered by Suncoast Charities for Children, thanks to generous grants from the Downtown Improvement District  and A.D. Morgan.

Please plan ahead!  Together, let's do our part to reduce traffic congestion and make the journey to and from the races as stress-free as possible. 
Water & Sewer Bonds:  'AA' Rating Affirmed    We have more good finance news to share!  Fitch Ratings affirmed the City's water and sewer revenue bonds at 'AA' with a stable outlook.

'AA' is a favorable rating and Fitch cites several reasons for it, City Logo including the Utilities Department's strong expected cash flow to fully fund the current 5-year capital improvement plan, declining debt, and systematically increasing rates making them comparable to neighboring municipalities.  The Utilities Department relies solely on user rates to fund improvement projects as well as personnel.

An 'AA' rating typically results in lower borrowing costs to fund new infrastructure improvement projects, if necessary.  Currently, the Utilities Department is carrying out an ambitious capital plan to maintain the City's aging infrastructure on a pay as you go basis.

Thank you to the City Commission for setting the policy that resulted in this 'AA' rating and to Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell, Finance Director John Lege and their teams for successfully carrying it out.       
Facebook - Employment Listings    The City's employment opportunities are now available on Facebook just as soon as they're posted to the City of Sarasota website.  Not only can you view all the current openings and job descriptions, you can share individual openings with your friends.  This is great news since we know how many people use Facebook for information sharing.

On the City of Sarasota Facebook page, look for the tab entitled 'Employment' directly under the cover photo.  Just click on that tab to have all the job openings right at your fingertips.  Check it out here.

To modify the template of a social media page like Facebook takes a coordinated effort and patience.  Thanks to Sr. Communications Manager Jan Thornburg, Webmaster Bill Mallett and Human Resources Director Stacie Mason for visualizing this beneficial tool and shepherding it across the finish line by working with NeoGov, which hosts the City's employment opportunities online.

Similar employment tabs also will be installed on the City's other Facebook pages including the Sarasota Police Department, Robert L. Taylor Community Complex and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.   

N. Water Tower Park - Exotic Vegetation Removal    Good progress is being made with the extensive removal of exotic vegetation in North Water Tower Park. Areas that have been inaccessible and clogged with potato vines and Brazilian peppers are now being cleared, creating an open space and reducing opportunities for unwanted activity in the park.  Crews should wrap up the vegetation removal by next week.  Then, work will begin on an improved drainage system which will help the park and nearby neighborhoods.

Thanks again to our partners at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Sarasota County for collaborating with us on this much needed and anticipated revitalization project.
(L):  A worker cuts through the exotic vegetation; (R):  An open area created by the removal of the overgrowth of exotic plants 
Lido Beach - Black Skimmer Stewards Needed    Our friends at the Sarasota Audubon Society are in desperate need of volunteer stewards to watch the black skimmer colony on Lido Key, especially during the busy 4th of July weekend.

Black skimmers are listed as a Species of Special Concern.  And, on popular beaches, like Lido Beach, their nests are vulnerable to human activity.

Volunteer stewards will be posted near the colony to keep a watchful eye on the roaming chicks and to educate beach goers that the skimmers are nearby and should not be disturbed. 

The black skimmer is very distinctive looking.  It's the only bird in the U.S. whose lower bill is longer than its upper.  It skims the water and dips down to snatch small fish near the surface.

A black skimmer flying along the Gulf of Mexico.  Photo courtesy:  JET Media Works. 

The Audubon Society is hosting extra steward training sessions next week for those who may be interested in volunteering.  A short class will be held on-site on the north end of Lido Beach next Tues., June 30 and Thurs., July 2 at 8:30 a.m.

Volunteers are needed during the next few weeks, particularly in the evenings when the black skimmers actively feed.

For more information please contact Holley Short with the Audubon Society  at

Upcoming Events 

Blue + You Movie Night  
FREE Movie (Paddington)
SPD Headquarters - 2099 Adams Lane 
Sat., June 27
8:30 p.m.

Folk Dancers  
Bayfront Community Center 
Wed., July 1
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.  

Senior Ballroom Dancing
Bayfront Community Center 
Thurs., July 2 
10 a.m. - Noon

Scottish Dancers  
Bayfront Community Center 
Thurs., July 2 
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

John Cleese and Eric Idle will be at the Van Wezel on Fri., October 2.
American Idol Live!
Wed., July 8 - 7:30 p.m.

Friday Fest: Kim Betts & the Gamble Creek Band
Fri., July 10 - 5 p.m. 
Free Outdoor Concert

Friday Fest:  Yesterdayze
Fri., August 21 - 5 p.m. 

Friday Fest: Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul
Featuring The Hellacious Horns
Fri., Sept. 18 - 5 p.m. 
Free Outdoor Concert

John Cleese and Eric idle
Fri., October 2 - 7:30 p.m.

Shen Yun Orchestra 
Tues., October 13 - 7:30 p.m. 

The Ultimate Doo Wop Show
Sat., Oct. 24 - 8 p.m.

Lewis Black:  The Rant is Due:  Part Deux
Fri., November 13 - 8 p.m.
Tickets are on sale to see Kristin Chenoweth on Feb. 27, 2016. 

Straight No Chaser
Thurs., November 19 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet:  Great Russian Nutcracker
Mon., December 28 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Kristin Chenoweth
Sat., February 27, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Linda Eder with Robert Cuccioli
Thurs., March 24, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Subscriptions are on sale for the upcoming 2015-2016 season of Broadway, dance, and orchestra performances. The digital edition of the 2015-2016 Subscriptions Brochure can be viewed by clicking here

To purchase tickets over the phone call 941-953-3368 or stop by the Box Office at 777 N.Tamiami Trail. 

For more information visit

The first Friday Fest of the summer season was a hit last week complete with a dazzling salmon sunset which our contributing photographer Norm Schimmel captured in this week's 'Sarasota Scene'. 

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

Tom Barwin
City Manager