From the Desk of Sarasota
City Manager Tom Barwin
July 22, 2016

Photo of the Week
The heat of summer didn't deter this Sarasota couple from enjoying their weekly picnic at Bird Key Park.  Chris Poppa, a personal trainer, and his fiancee Katie Simmerling, a teacher at Sarasota Middle School, love to walk or run the Ringling Bridge then relax in the park at a shaded picnic table. Even during the dog days of summer, this beautiful spot in our special city is irresistible.


  • City Commission
    Mon., July 25 - 5:30 p.m.
    City Hall - Room 112
  • Firefighters' Pension Plan
    Wed., July 27 - 9 a.m.
    City Hall - Commission Chambers
  • Police Complaint Committee
    Wed., July 27 - 5:30 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
GIS Coordinator
Landscape Maintenance Tech I
Lifeguard I
Maintenance Tech I
Maintenance Mechanic II
Manager, Maintenance Services
    Police Officer, 2nd Class
Rec Attendant
Spray Tech
Utilities Capital Projects Manager


This Week's Items to Know:
Budget - Preliminary Millage Set:  Remains the Same   After spending several evenings reviewing the proposed budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the City Commission unanimously set the preliminary millage rate earlier this week.  It is set at 3.1728 mills  -- the same rate for the fourth straight year. 

The proposed $206 million budget is a responsible one, taking into City Logo consideration necessary capital improvements, operating expenses, personnel needs and available revenue.

To help shape and guide future growth and implement the City Commission's updated strategic plan, the new budget restores the position of Planning Director which was cut during the Great Recession.  The budget also includes two additional police officers, four landscape-parks staff, four additions to our Utilities Department and four additions to the Neighborhood & Development Services Department to help manage the record amount of private and public construction which will continue to be underway for the next 24 months.

With Sarasota County eliminating its regional users financial contribution for the operation of the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, which serves all of North Sarasota County, the City was left with a $500,000 funding gap for that popular facility.  Using reserves and adjusting user fees are being considered.

The City Commission will hold two public hearings on the proposed budget:

Tues., September 6:  6 p.m.
Mon., September 19:  6 p.m.

To review the complete budget click here.

A big thank you to Finance Director John Lege and his very capable team, who worked closely with all the departments to present a fiscally responsible budget with no recommended millage increase.  

John D. MacDonald Celebrations   The 100th birthday anniversary of Sarasota author John D. MacDonald will be celebrated with a host of events this Sat., July 23. 

A prolific best selling writer, MacDonald published over 70 crime and suspense novels, many of them set in Florida.  Some of his best known works include the popular detective series Travis McGee and the stand alone novel 'The Executioners', which was turned into 'Cape Fear' on the silver screen.  Another Sarasota area resident and best selling author, Stephen King, has referred to MacDonald as 'a mesmerizing storysteller' --- tremendous praise indeed.

For the 2016 One Book, One Community campaign, the Sarasota County Library opted to celebrate the works of John D. MacDonald to honor what would have been his centennial birthday.  The One Book program encourages a community to read one selected book (or in this case one chosen author) to help bring people together and spark discussions within the community.

I'm currently reading MacDonald's "Condominium", and it's terrific.

Small events have been taking place since January and the celebration will culminate with a grand finale this Saturday, including the unveiling of a plaque at Selby Five Points Park which will remain on permanent display. 

Schedule of events:  July 23

10:15 a.m. - Selby Library Auditorium:  Presentation of letters sent between MacDonald and his wife, Dorothy, during WW II.

11:15 a.m. - Selby Library Auditorium:  Theatrical readings from MacDonald presented by the Asolo Play Readers

1 p.m. - Selby Five Points Park: Plaque dedication

1:30 p.m. - Selby Library:  Birthday party & cake

2 p.m. - Selby Library Auditorium:  Free screening of the film 'A Flash of Green'

4 p.m. - 6 p.m. - Libby's Cafe (1917 S. Osprey Ave.) :  Complimentary food, birthday cake, entertainment and cash bar

Mayor Willie Shaw and the City Commission proclaimed July 24, 2016
as the 100th Birthday Celebration of John D. MacDonald.

Earlier this week, during the City Commission meeting, organizers of the MacDonald celebration were recognized and Mayor Shaw and the City Commission proclaimed July 24, 2016 as the '100th Birthday Anniversary of John D. MacDonald'.

Hope to see you at one or more of the events as we remember the legacy of John D. MacDonald and the lasting impact on the Sarasota community.

REMINDER:  Orange Ave. - Temporary Lane Closure July 25-28    Southbound Orange Ave. between  Bay Point and Alta Vista Street will be temporarily closed for three days starting next Monday, July 25 for road work.  Traffic will be detoured to Osprey Ave.  Northbound traffic will remain open with a flag person on site to help with traffic flow. 
Southbound Orange Ave. between Bay Point & Alta Vista will be closed July 25-28.
Bobby Jones Golf Club - Inaugural Tournament  We're pleased to share that the inaugural 2-Man North South Championship held at two municipal golf courses last weekend, including Bobby Jones, was quite a success!

When staff members at Bobby Jones and River Run Golf Links in Bradenton brainstormed the idea for a 2-day tournament Bobby Jones Logo on 2 different courses in 2 different cities, they expected 60 golfers to register.  In the end, 94 golfers played --- exceeding expectations by over 50 percent.   Plans already are in the works to host another one next year.

Thanks again to the staff at Bobby Jones for their creativity in coming up with this unique tournament idea -- an excellent way to attract new players to Bobby Jones.

Meanwhile, the American Course, as you may recall, remains closed temporarily while the greens undergo a much needed renovation.  It's a lengthy process and so far it's going well.  We anticipate the course will be reopened this fall with beautiful new greens.   

SRQ Column - Beach Renourishment  My guest column in tomorrow's SRQ Saturday Perspectives will focus on the important and timely issue of beach renourishment -- not just at Lido Beach but the region.  For a sneak peek click here.

Lido Beach 

Upcoming Events 
Mystic Fair
Municipal Auditorium 
Sat., July 23:  11 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. 
Sun., July 24:  11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Folk Dance
Bayfront Community Center 
Wed., July 27 
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Scottish Dancers 
Bayfront Community Center
Thurs., July 28
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 

NAACP Community Conversation

w/FOCUS & Local Law Enforcement
Mon., July 25
Robert L. Taylor Community Complex
6:30 p.m. - 8 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.
 ZZ Top will be at the
Van Wezel on Oct. 31.


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.
Fame The Musical will be at the Van Wezel on Dec. 7.


Fame The Musical
Wed., December 7 - 7 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

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