From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 8, 2016

Photo of the Week
Summertime is camp time!  We're hosting two more Junior Golf Camps at our historic municipal golf course, Bobby Jones Golf Club.  Each camp is 3 days with instruction from our PGA professionals.  In this photo, PGA Pro Daniel Bailey is showing 10-year-old Gus Swencki the proper stance to tee off.  The next Junior Camp will be held July 12-14, and the last one of the summer is scheduled for August 9-11.  To help maintain a good learning environment, space in each camp is limited to just 12 young golfers.  Camps run 9 a.m. - noon with a kid-friendly lunch included for $100 per child.  For more information click here or call the Golf Shop:  941-954-4163.  
Judge's Ruling: Sunshine Lawsuit

This morning, we received the good news we have been waiting for regarding the lawsuit filed by Citizens for Sunshine against At-Large City Commissioner Susan Chapman alleging a sunshine violation in October 2013.  

After a 2-day trial, Circuit Court Judge Brian Iten found no violations.  In his nine page opinion, he states that Commissioner Chapman did not engage in deliberation during her 'passive attendance' at the meeting in question and, therefore, the gathering was not a meeting as defined by the Florida Constitution.   

We appreciate  Judge Iten's thoughtful and careful deliberation.  This decision is a victory for the First Amendment rights of residents and business owners to gather and petition their elected officials.  We're encouraged this ruling will foster citizens' participation in our democratic process.     


  • Community Workshop
    Mon., July 11 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Historic Preservation Board
    Tues., July 12 - 3 p.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Parking Advisory Committee
    Tues., July 12 - 4 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.  

Computer Support Specialist II
Facility Maintenance Tech
Finance Manager, SPD
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Mechanic II
Manager, Maintenance Services
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Spray Tech


This Week's Items to Know:
Bond Refunding - Golden Gate Point   Good news for those in the Golden Gate Point special taxing district:  The City recently refinanced the remaining $2.7 million of the $5.8 million General Obligation Bonds Series 2008 for the streetscape at Golden Gate Point.  When issued eight years ago, the interest rate was 3.93%.  With the new bank loan, the rate has dropped down to 1.74%.

That translates into savings for the Golden Gate Point taxing district.  Through the maturity of the bonds in 2018, it's a total savings of almost $300,000. That's a Net Present Value Savings of $272,000 -- or an impressive 10.32%.

We appreciate Finance Director John Lege and his team continuing to monitor interest rates looking for opportunities for savings throughout the City.
A portion of the Golden Gate Point streetscape funded by the
Golden Gate Point special taxing district.

Van Wezel - New Video Wall   Next time you're at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, look for the newly installed high tech video wall on the outside of the building near the Box Office.  The wall is comprised of six individual all-weather, high definition television monitors.  Up to six different videos can be shown at once.

Not only is this an engaging marketing tool, highlighting upcoming performances and other relevant information, it's also a revenue source for the Hall through advertising.  This is a remarkable step up in technology from the static posters and shadow boxes that had been used until recently.

Thanks to Van Wezel Executive Director Mary Bensel for her continued forward thinking with the Hall and to the Van Wezel's Digital Media Manager Jason Fedele for executing the entertaining project.

To see how the video wall looks check out the video below.

YouTube:  Van Wezel Video Wall 
CO2 Inventory - Emissions Down 22%   We have some good news to share regarding the community's sustainability efforts. Greenhouse gas emissions within the Sarasota city limits are down 22% since 2003. That's equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road for one year, according to the EPA. 

This encouraging information is based on a recent CO2 inventory conducted by the City of Sarasota.

Emissions in the community decreased in several categories including electrical use in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors; water and wastewater processes; and solid waste.  The only category with an increase was vehicle emissions:  up 2.5% over the past 12 years.  This is a bit concerning, since most vehicles are more energy efficient nowadays.  The bottom line is that 10% more miles were driven in 2015 than 2003. 

We need to continue to do what we can to be good stewards of the planet and seek alternative methods to move people (not just cars).  City staff is working together to explore all viable options including more bicycle paths, wider sidewalks to encourage walking, solar powered shuttle services, and bus rapid transit.  

Thanks to Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes for ensuring a current inventory was conducted.  It's important to track progress and understand where we, as a community, are doing well and where improvement is needed.  And, thanks to Jeff Vrendenburg, a former intern with a graduate degree in sustainability science, who devoted his time with the City to completing the inventory with a national standardized methodology.

If you'd like to read an executive summary or the technical report, please visit the City's sustainability webpage:      
Bobby Jones Golf Club - New Greens Coming!    New greens are coming to all 18 holes on the American Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club!  The course was officially closed July 1st to begin the process of revitalizing the greens.

The same process and kind of turf that was used to re-grass the British Course last year is being used again, after seeing good results and receiving positive feedback from players. It's an extensive process to replace the greens, which is why staff planned for it to occur during the slowest time of year at the golf course.

We're close to issuing an RFP for a consultant to help devise a master capital improvement plan for Bobby Jones Golf Club.  In the meantime, we have to maintain the facility and keep it functioning at a high quality level to attract players.  The new greens will be a worthwhile investment as golfers have started to comment on the poor condition of the American Course. In the world of municipal golf, local word of mouth can make a big difference in the number of rounds played. 

The American Course is expected to reopen in October.  In the meantime, we encourage you to consider booking a tee time on the British Course or the Gillespie Executive.

New Bradenton-Sarasota Golf Tournament   Next weekend (July 16 & 17), golfers will have the opportunity to experience a unique new tournament --- on two municipal courses in two cities over two days.

The inaugural Bradenton-Sarasota 2-Man North-South Championship will be played at River Run Golf Links in Bradenton on July 16th and Bobby Jones Golf Club on July 17th.

This is a fun way to encourage camaraderie between the municipal courses during a traditionally slow time of year.  And, it's a chance for golfers to explore a course they may not have considered visiting.

The entry fee is $115 per player and includes greens fees for 36 holes, riding cart, shirt, continental breakfast on both days and dinner following play on Sunday at Bobby Jones.  To download a registration form click here.

Thanks to our dedicated team at Bobby Jones for coordinating this tournament and continuing to seek new ways to attract new guests.    


Upcoming Events 
Folk Dance 
Wed., July 13 
Bayfront Community Center  
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Scottish Dancers 
Thurs., July 14
Bayfront Community Center
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.


Van Wezel:  Shows on Sale Now! 

The following is the current show schedule through 2016. For more information visit    
Friday Fest:  Jah Movement
Fri., July 29 - 5 p.m.

Friday Fest:  Rebelheart
Fri., August 26 - 5 p.m.
  Rebelheart will be at the Van Wezel on August 26 as part of our free Friday Fest outdoor concert series.


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

Friday Fest:  Dr. Dave Band
Fri., September 23 - 5 p.m.

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.
Beach Boys Christmas will be at the Van Wezel on Dec. 12.


Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 8 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10

Beach Boys Christmas
Mon., December 12 - 7:30 p.m.

Rogers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Tues., December 27 - 8 p.m.
Wed., December 28 - 8 p.m.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Thurs., December 29 - 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

42nd Street
Fri., December 30 - 8 p.m.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 10

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

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Tom Barwin
City Manager