From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
January 22, 2016
We have some good news to share regarding our urban wildlife!  It looks like an osprey has returned to the nest at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex which the City relocated (with State of Florida authorization) at the end of August.  In this photo, taken this past Monday, an osprey is seen roosting on a perch which City staff specifically had custom built in hopes the birds of prey would return.  The nest was relocated from one side of the athletic field to the other as we prepare to build a new community multi-purpose field.  We appreciate Project Manager Neil Gaines for going the extra mile to ensure the City is a good neighbor and allow improvements to co-exists with our feathered friends.


  • Firefighters' Pension Plan Bd. of Trustees
    Wed., January 27 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Board of Adjustment
    Wed., January 27 - 1:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • PCC & IPAP - Joint Workshop
    Wed., January 27 - 4:30 p.m.
    SRQ Media Studio - City Hall Annex 
  • Police Complaint Cmte
    Wed., January 27 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio
  • DID Expansion Ad Hoc Cmte
    Thurs., January 28 - 2 p.m.
    City Hall Annex - SRQ Media Studio

City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.
Administrative Specialist I
Electronic Traffic Signal Technician
Equipment Operator
Golf Course Attendant
Maintenance Mechanic II
Network Administrator
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Reliability Maintenance Planner I
Treatment Plant Operator B
Treatment Plant Operator C
Utilities Capital Manager
Utilities Engineer
Windows System Administrator 

This Week's Items to Know:
Emergency Alerts    Many of us were notified in the middle of the night about the deadly storm approaching Sarasota last weekend via emergency alert on our smart phone.  Meterologists and emergency managers were very concerned about the timing of the storm and people being asleep at 3 a.m. and possibly not being aware of the danger. 
Government alerts activated on an iPhone. 

Since tornadoes are not as frequent in Florida as other states, tornado sirens are not used here.  Even if they were, the sound might not penetrate through the thick structures which are built to withstand hurricane strength winds. So, this storm serves as a reminder to make sure your smart phone is activated to receive emergency alerts, including severe weather alerts. 

On most phones, under 'settings', look for 'notifications'.  There you should be able to enable/disable emergency alerts for weather as well as Amber Alerts for missing children.  Because so many people were awakenend in the middle of the night by their cell phone and were able to take the necessary safety precautions, these emergency alerts are being credited with possibly saving lives.

If you do not have a modern cell phone, all-hazard weather alert radios are readily available for under $50 at most retail stores that sell storm supplies.    
Neighborhood News:  Newtown on FDOT Map    Newtown is literally on the map!  The 2016 edition of the Florida Department of Transportation road map is now available to the public -- and the
Newtown is designated on the 2016 FDOT road map. 
Newtown community is designated on it.  To be noted on the map, a community has to meet criteria set by FDOT and complete a permitting process.  One of the final steps for approval for Newtown was the installation of two community makers along U.S. 301, which the City completed recently.

A big thank you to Barbara Langston, Amaryllis Park Neighborhood Association President, and Public Works Capital Projects Manager Bill Nichols who began pursuing the designation in 2011 and saw it through to completion.  Congratulations!  This official designation is a significant achievement for our historic, century-old African American community.

Copies of the map are available at no cost at the Newtown Redevelopment Office (1782 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way) or can be ordered through the Visit Florida website.      
Neighborhood News:  Newtown Farmers Market    Residents in the Newtown community are testing the idea of a Newtown Farmers Market.  They were open for business on MLK Day selling a variety of fruits and vegetables in the parking lot of the City-owned Newtown
Residents are testing interest in a
Newtown Farmers Market. 
Redevelopment Office.  City staff worked closely with organizers to help them open for business along the MLK Unity Walk route.

Those spearheading the effort are pleased with initial support and in the next month or so, hope to launch a Newtown Farmers Market with regular days of operation.  City staff will continue to work with this new enterprise and do what we can to support it.
Newtown Farmers Market organizers Lou Murray and Valerie Bouchand. 
MLK Day Events    We're told participation in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events was up this year, possibly by as much as 20 percent.  More people participated in the 36th annual MLK Day Breakfast, and a large diverse group marched in the Unity Walk from the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex to MLK Park.  It's important to remember and honor Dr. King's work.  And, seeing an increase in support for these events is positive for the Sarasota community.   Sr. Communications Manager Jan Thornburg produced a video highlighting the day's events:

YouTube video:  MLK Day 2016 
New Purchasing General Manager    Procurement of services and products is an integral part of local government and is tied into daily
David Boswell is the new Purchasing General Manager. 
operations, from something as simple as using an office computer to more complex issues like contracting services for a municipal construction project.  It's critical that our procurement process is professional and ethical -- and the public and potential bidders have confidence in that process. 

With this in mind, we're pleased to announce David Boswell was promoted to the position of Purchasing General Manager.  David has served as the Assistant Purchasing Manager for the past 4 years. 

Following a comprehensive search and interview process, David's professionalism, character and knowledge of local government procurement laws separated him from the pack. 

David retired from a successful military career, serving in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years. He  graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ashford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration.

It's a busy time in the Procurement Division, and we wish David all the best as he takes over the reins.  Congratulations!   

FREE Tax Preparation Services - United Way   If you earned less than $62,000 in 2015, the United Way Suncoast is offering free tax preparation services at sites in Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.

Last year, people who visited one of the United Way tax preparation sites saved $253 (on average) in preparation fees alone.   In addition, more savings can be earned by applying for and receiving Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Child Tax Credits.  Both are intended to increase disposable income for families and individuals.  The IRS, though, reports that 20 percent of those eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits do not submit a claim for it.  The United Way volunteer tax preparers will help make sure those credits are applied for.

In the Sarasota city limits, three tax preparation sites will be open until April 18 with designated hours:

* Boys & Girls Club - 3100 Fruitville Rd.   
   Hours:  Tuesdays  9:30 a.m.  -  12:30 p.m.

Robert L. Taylor Community Complex -  1845 34th St.
   Hours:  Mondays  3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

United Way Suncoast  - 1800 2nd St.; Suite 102
   Hours:  Tuesdays  2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

For more information, including items you will need to bring, visit the United Way Suncoast website.

Ed Smith Stadium:  "Field of the Year"    Congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles!  The Sports Turf Managers Association named Ed Smith Stadium, located in the Sarasota city limits, as the 2015 "Field of the Year".

This award is considered the highest honor in the industry with members at all levels:  professional, collegiate, schools, and parks and recreation.  A panel of 15 judges rated the grounds based on many criteria including surface appearance, playability, effective use of budget and argonomic plan.

This is good news not just for the Orioles but the entire Sarasota community.  Since the Orioles located here 6 years ago, over 640,000 spectators have enjoyed games at Ed Smith Stadium, setting many new attendance records.

Spring training tickets for the Orioles go on sale tomorrow, Sat. January 23 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased online or at Ed Smith Stadium.  The first home game is March 2nd.  Click here for the full Spring Training calendar.  

Upcoming Events 

One Book Kick Off
Fri., Jan. 22 
6 p.m. 
Selby Public Library
Annual Flower Show
Sat., Jan. 23 - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 24 - 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sarasota Garden Club ( 1131 Blvd. of the Arts)

Vintage & Collectibles Fair 
Sat., Jan. 23:  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 24:  10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Municipal Auditorium

J.D. Hamel Winterfest 
Sat., Jan. 23
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
J.D. Hamel Park (Main St. & Gulfstream Blvd.)

Seafood & Music Festival 
Sat., Jan. 23:  10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sun., Jan. 24:  10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Selby Five Points Park


Tea with the Chief 
Tues., Jan. 26
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Bijou Cafe - 1287 First Street

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a list of shows through March 2016.  To view the entire Van Wezel season visit 
Wynonna & The Big Noise: Stories & Song
Sun., January 24, 2016 - 7 p.m.

ABBA Mania
Mon., January 25, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Renee Fleming with the Sarasota Orchestra
Wed., January 27, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Thurs., January 28, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Dancing With The Stars:  LIVE! Dance All Night Tour
Fri., January 29, 2016 - 8 p.m.
Joshua Bell will be at the Van Wezel on
Jan. 30.


Joshua Bell

Sat., January 30, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Tues., February 2, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Masters of Illusion - Believe the Impossible
Thurs., February 4 - 7:30 p.m.
The Book of Mormon
February 9 - 12, 2016:  8 p.m.
Sat., February 13, 2016:  2 p.m. & 8 p.m.
Sun., February 14, 2016:  1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Neil Berg's 107 Years of Broadway
Wed., February 17, 2016 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Michael Feinstein and his 17-Piece Band
Thurs., February 18, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Patti LaBelle
Tues., February 23, 2016 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Festival Ballet - Cinderella
Wed., February 24, 2016 - 7 p.m.

The Beach Boys
Thurs., February 25, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be at the Van Wezel on
March 3 & 4.

Vince Gill & Lyle Lovett
Fri., February 26, 2016 - 7:30 p.m.

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

Josh Groban
Sun., February 28, 2016 - 8 p.m.

The Australian Bee Gees
Mon., February 29, 2016 - 8 p.m.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
Tues., March 1 - 8 p.m.

The McCartney Years
Wed., March 2 - 8 p.m.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Thurs., March 3 - 8 p.m.
Fri., March 4 - 8 p.m.

Moody Blues
Sun., March 6 - 7 p.m.

Disney Fantasia Live in Concert
Wed., March 9 - 8 p.m.

The Joffrey Ballet
Thurs., March 10 - 8 p.m.

Gordon Lightfoot
Fri., March 11 - 8 p.m.

Saturday Night Fever
Wed., March 16 - 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

The Young Irelanders
Thurs., March 17 - 8 p.m.

The Peking Acrobats
Sun., March 20 - 7 p.m.

Bullets Over Broadway
Mon., March 21 - 8 p.m.
Bullets Over Broadway will be at the Van Wezel on March 21.


Tues., March 22 - 8 p.m.

The Irish Tenors
Wed., March 23 - 8 p.m.

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

The Midtown Men
Fri., March 25 - 8 p.m.

Million Dollar Quartet
Sat., March 26 - 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

An Evening with Sophia Loren
Thurs., March 31 - 8 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

We unveiled a new banner photo for Weekly Briefs last week.  This beautiful photo of the iconic Ringling Bridge was taken by Steve Owen, a engineering technician in the Public Works Department.   Thank you -- and nice work!

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