Monday, May 31, 2010

More from Sarasota Community Connections

Economic development Property Tax Exemption put on ballot
Sarasota County commissioners unanimously approved a referendum on the Aug. 24 primary election ballot. If approved by voters, the measure would give the commission the authority to grant up to 100 percent of property tax exemptions for up to 10 years for existing and new businesses that qualify for the exemption. Officials from Venice, North Port and Sarasota also have expressed interest in the measure and will consider placing local versions of the ordinance on their ballots.
SCAT and Google partner to offer public transit options on Google Maps
Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) has a new online tool that makes it easy to ride a bus. Google Transit allows SCAT riders to plan their route with new features, including stop locations, transfer points, customizable routes and fare calculations.
Users of Google Maps looking for locations in Sarasota County will find accurate SCAT route informa
tion included when they search for directions to their destination. (MORE) 
Sarasota County Siesta Beach ranked No. 2 in country
For the second year in a row, Sarasota County's Siesta Beach has been ranked the second-best beach in the country by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach.
Dr. Leatherman, the director for Coastal Research at Florida International University, has been ranking the country's top 10 beaches annually for the last 20 years. In his review of Siesta Beach, Leatherman said, "With some of the finest, whitest sand in the world, Siesta Beach has clear, warm waters that serve for ideal swimming. This beach is great for volleyball and other types of recreational fitness."

Additional Planning Meetings Scheduled

Sarasota County continues to seek input on major community issues 
Sarasota County Planning Services has scheduled two addition meetings to discuss major community issues that the county's comprehensive plan should address during the next seven years.
The meetings are scheduled for:
  • 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 10, Sandra Sims Terry Community Center, 509 Collins Road, Laurel
  • 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 17, Cooperative Extension Building, Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota
Each meeting will begin with the same overview presentation followed by a facilitated work session. The purpose of these meetings is to seek input from the public in identifying major community issues  that will steer the future direction of the comprehensive plan.
People who are unable to attend either meeting may supply comments or suggestions by sending an e-mail to A short, online survey that seeks people's perspectives on issues facing the community is also available at the E.A.R. Web site.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Coolidge on the vagaries of "Economic Development in Sarasota

Belatedly noted: This article by MC Coolidge in Creative Loafing, entitled Face Reality - (for more context, see here):
We’re so gaga over the idea of attracting film and entertainment business to the area that several City Commissioners (in the name of “economic development”) were in favor of leasing the much-used (and not-a-dime-subsidized) Sarasota Municipal Auditorium to Ringling College for soundstage use for a measly $1 a year. Thankfully, for once, the audacity inherent in the request, coming as it did from a college well-known for being so well-endowed it would make Jenna Jameson blush, riled up taxpayers enough to squelch the idea.
Of course, that deal would have been small potatoes compared to the heaps of taxpayer dollars Sarasota leaders have already spent pursuing “economic development” crushes that haven’t returned the sentiment. Do I need to remind readers about the roughly $5 million our city and county commissioners spent in pursuit of the Red Sox — for a “deal” that was never anywhere near real?
If government is going to be involved in and spend money on economic development for businesses (which I’m not at all sure it should be doing anyway), then I’d prefer them to focus on finding ways to develop and enhance the businesses that are already here — right down to the truly small businesses and including the many creative-type sole proprietors (of which I am one) who support those businesses — and to support new businesses that are committed to coming here and staying here without being paid off to do so.