From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
June 3, 2016
Photo of the Week
With the mercury rising, it's nice to have a beautiful parking setting, like Gillespie Park pictured here, where you can enjoy a pleasant respite in the shade.  Gillespie Park is a 10 acre urban park located at 710 N. Osprey Ave.

Webber St.:  Code Compliance 

Over the holiday weekend, we learned it's important not to rush to judgment or believe everything that is posted on the internet.  I'm referring to the code compliance case on Webber Street.

As expected, we're moving toward a speedy resolution to this case.  After intense social media and news media coverage over the holiday weekend, a Good Samaritan licensed contractor has offered to help the elderly homeowner fix the house so that it is safe and sanitary and complies with City codes. 

Already this week, City staff met with the owner and construction contractor at the house -- and the work done on the house was inspected for compliance with safety codes.  A couple of outstanding issues remain and an after-the-fact permit has been issued by the City so the repairs can occur quickly. 

A code compliance hearing to clear up the matter with a magistrate is scheduled for June 23.  If the repairs are completed sooner, the City will move that hearing date up to accommodate the schedule of the property owner's representative.

This code compliance case has been ongoing for 2 years.  What wasn't readily known during the Memorial Day weekend when the story broke on social media, and subsequently in the traditional news media, is this:  For the past 6 years, the house sat vacant.  While the owner lived elsewhere, the house and property on Webber Street deteriorated to the point that it was a safety concern and there were reports of a possible squatter living on the property. 

Since the initial complaint was filed by a neighbor in 2014, the City has done much to work with the owner to facilitate improvements to the property.  Over the course of 2 dozen meetings and/or hearings, assistance was extended in the form of a  zero interest home loan.  Staff also contacted her family in California about the condition of the property.  The City's offers of help were declined.

Fines are a common tool used to help gain code compliance and, typically, once compliance is confirmed those fines are reduced or forgiven.  We fully anticipate that will happen with this case.


  • City Commission
    Mon., June 6 - 2:30 p.m. & 6 p.m.

    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Planning Board
    Wed., June 8 - 6 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
City Career Opportunities
Opportunity, Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.  

Electronic Traffic Signal Tech
Facility Maintenance Tech
Golf Course Attendant
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic II
Manager, Maintenance Services
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Property and Evidence Specialist
Rec Attendant
Recreation Attendant
Spray Tech
Utilities Capital Projects Manager   


This Week's Items to Know: 
New GIS Website  In this Information Age, we're aware how much people want and rely on easily accessible information.  That's why when the City was developing a geographic information system (GIS) website for the Utilities Department, we wanted to share it with the public.

While similar to Google Earth, this site is Sarasota specific.  Layers upon layers of information are available including everything from the location of utility lines, to bicycle paths and emergency shelters. 

You can find the site by visiting
and clicking the round 'GIS' icon on the left side of the homepage or just click here.

GIS map showing potable water mains in the Park East neighborhood. 
The Utilities Department developed the site in conjunction with the IT Department to increase staff efficiency and improve asset management.  Crews working in the field who need to know the size or location of a pipe (or a vast array of other information) will have that info readily available via a smart phone or tablet.

The City receives many inquiries from engineers and architects seeking the size of water lines, fire hydrant locations etc.  Now, with this GIS site, they'll be able to obtain that information on their own timetable.

As information changes, the site will be updated.  Also, plans are in the works to add more categories including the possibility of park locations and public art.  
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Summer Specials  Just in time for summer, Bobby Jones Golf Club is offering three hot new deals:

1.  Daily:  11 a.m. - 3 p.m.:  18 holes with riding cart, lunch and 2 draft beers or fountain drinks = $36 + tax

2.  Daily:  3 p.m. - 6 p.m.:  18 holes with riding cart, 2 draft beers or fountain drinks = $26 + tax

3.  Daily:  All Day:  9 holes with riding cart, lunch and one draft beer or fountain drink = $29 + tax.

These are sizzlin' deals at our historic municipal golf course.  For more information about Bobby Jones visit 

Bobby Jones
Summer savings are now being offered at Bobby Jones Golf Club.

SPD Citizens Academy - Graduation  Congratulations to the 5th graduating class of the Sarasota Police Academy.  This time 21 residents learned the ins and outs of what it takes to be a police officer with the Sarasota Police Department. 

For the past 12 weeks, participants learned about the philosophy of partnership policing, marine patrol, K-9 Unit, crime scene procedures, firearms and more.  Students met once a week for three hours in the evening, so it was quite a time commitment -- and we appreciate everyone's interest to better understand how the department operates and why policies and procedures are in place.

Dates for the next academy are still being finalized.  In the meantime, if you're interested in participating, an application can be found online here.  Academy students need to be at least 18 years old with no felony convictions or outstanding warrants and either live in the city limits or own property in the city. 

The 5th SPD Citizens Academy.
Facebook Live  As we know quite well, social media is evolving and changing how we communicate.  You may have heard that Facebook users now can stream video live.  Once the live broadcast ends, it automatically becomes a recorded video, which remains in perpetuity on the Facebook page.

The City of Sarasota conducted its inaugural Facebook Live broadcast over the holiday weekend, showing viewers the Memorial Day parade from beginning to end.  And, it was a hit!  By the end of the day, 3,000+ people watched the parade video.  We heard from viewers here in Sarasota who couldn't make it to the event and enjoyed watching it on their mobile device -- and we even were contacted by a someone in Georgia who spends time in Sarasota and was thrilled to see the Sarasota community honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

You can check out the archived video on the City of Sarasota Facebook page.

Screenshot from the City's first Facebook Live broadcast. 
Live video streaming is a powerful tool and could have many important uses, particularly in the case of an emergency when we need to get information directly to people quickly.  Most likely, for now, we'll probably use this new technology to bring live coverage of parades, ribbon cutting ceremonies and other interesting events.

The Sarasota Police Department is also using Facebook Live with great success, especially with swearing in ceremonies.    

Upcoming Events 
No Special Events 

Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is a current list of shows. For more information visit 

Friday Fest:  Koko Ray & The Keepers 
Fri., June 10 - 5 p.m.
MAKS & VAL - Our Way
Thurs., June 16 - 8 p.m.
Koko Ray & The Keepers will perform at Friday Fest on June 10


Friday Fest:  Jah Movement
Fri., July 29 - 5 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Rebelheart
Fri., August 26 - 5 p.m.

Brian Wilson
Sun., Sept. 11 - 7 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Dr. Dave Band
Fri., September 23 - 5 p.m.
ZZ Top will be at the Van Wezel
on Oct. 31.

Celtic Thunder
Sat., Oct. 15 - 8 p.m.

Doo Wop Spectacular
Sat., October 22 - 7:30 p.m.

ZZ Top
Mon., October 31 - 8 p.m.

Mannheim Steamroller
Fri., November 18 - 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

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