Who we are
Five county commissioners elected for up to two four-year terms serve as Sarasota County’s governing body.
With the exception of emergency ordinances and some Comprehensive Plan amendments, commissioners adopt new ordinances (laws) by affirmative vote.
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your government works
Why we're here
Sarasota County is a beautiful community that has preserved natural assets. Sarasota County has world-class amenities and robust, diverse business opportunities. Sarasota County is a great place to live with easy movement through mobility options and a strong sense of community.
Provide exceptional quality services in collaboration with the cities and act as a financially responsible steward. Our high-performing county organization takes great pride in customer-focused services that add value to the community.
What we've done
District 1, Chair
District 4, Vice Chair
COUNTY LIBRARIES REINSTATE SUNDAY HOURS
On Sunday, Jan. 26, Sarasota County reinstated Sunday hours at two library locations – Selby Public Library in Sarasota and Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library
On the first Sunday open, nearly 900 patrons visited both locations, checking out more than 1,000 materials and returning almost 1,000. Patron feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many indicating Sunday is the only day they can visit the library.
This marks the first time the county has offered Sunday library hours since 2012, when the county reduced hours as a cost-saving measure. The reinstatement is a pilot program aimed at increasing access to residents and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
The estimated cost of opening the two libraries on Sundays is $310,000 per year.
IMPROVING WATER QUALITY THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION
In February, the American Public Works Association (Suncoast Branch) named the Hudson Bayou In-Stream Restoration and Water Quality Improvement project its Environmental Project of the Year.
This initiative was a collaboration between Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, the City of Sarasota, and Sarasota County Schools, with funding from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. It combined multiple habitat and water quality improvement features into two main canals of Hudson Bayou located at Sarasota High School.
The seven-year project, which was completed in January 2020, will enhance stormwater drainage and storage, reduce pollutant and sediment loading, preserve tree islands, and improve native habitat.
GOBBLING UP GARBAGE
In March, Sarasota County installed the first of 10 floating waste collection systems called WaterGoats in the Whitaker Bayou area. WaterGoats were first recognized as a potential solution through data collected by the Floatable Pollution Prevention Program. Because one WaterGoat can collect more than 10 pounds of trash per week, county officials estimate more than 400 pounds of pollution could be kept from entering the gulf and bay waters when all the installations are complete. MORE >>
LIBRARY STAFF FIND CREATIVE USES FOR IDLED EQUIPMENT DURING COVID PANDEMIC
In early April, library staff started putting their Creation Station areas to good use. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed local libraries to the public, employees used sewing machines in the Creation Stations to make protective face masks for county employees and others in need.
Jamie Naylor, teen librarian at Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library led the effort, teaching staff how to make masks. The goal was to make 1,000 masks a week. The effort resulted in nearly 7,000 masks for the community.
FITCH, S&P GIVE AA+ RATING TO COUNTY CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT BONDS
In May, the county issued its $18.8 million capital improvement revenue bonds, series 2020 (with "AA+" ratings affirmed by Fitch and S&P) to fund capital improvement projects including the new downtown cooling plant, facilities energy conservation measure upgrades, and jail control and security upgrades. MORE >>
SARASOTA MAKES THE TOP 10 AGAIN IN BEST BEACH TOWNS
In June, WalletHub named Sarasota and Venice to its list of “2020’s Best Beach Towns to Live in.” Sarasota ranked sixth and Venice ranked 17th among 191 cities located on oceans or the Gulf of Mexico. This is the same rank that Sarasota held in last year’s list. Cities were evaluated on their affordability, economy, weather and quality of life, among other factors. Three other Florida beaches made the top 10: Naples (which placed first), Boca Raton and Vero Beach. MORE >>
CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON THE LEGACY TRAIL EXTENSION
Sarasota County celebrated the start of the Legacy Trail Extension on July 9 with a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of the Ashton Road Trailhead. This segment will extend from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street with a trailhead at Webber Street.
Segment 2 will extend from the current northern terminus of the trail at Culverhouse Nature Park to Proctor Road with a trailhead at Ashton Road. Segment 3 will go from Bahia Vista Street to Ringling Boulevard with a trailhead at Pompano Avenue.
The recommended construction order of the extension project is based on how quickly each segment can be brought through design and permitting. It is anticipated that all segments may be under construction concurrently as the project proceeds.
SARASOTA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZED BY AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION
In August, the Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) again earned the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus award, an achievement that demonstrates the continued implementation of quality improvement measures for treating severe heart attack patients.
SCFD first received the highest status of recognition from the Mission: Lifeline EMSprogram in 2013, and has earned the Gold Plus standard since 2016, when that designation was created. This year, SCFD is one of 18 agencies in the state of Florida to receive the Gold Plus recognition. MORE>>
SARASOTA COUNTY LAUNCHES CARES ACT FUNDS APPLICATION PROCESS
In September, Sarasota County opened applications for individual and businesses to seek assistance from the county’s $18.9 million allocation of coronavirus relief funds. The monies were made available to businesses, individuals and non-profit agencies to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.
The $18.9 million represents funding already allocated to Sarasota County, but the community could eventually be eligible for up to $75 million.
SARASOTA COUNTY, AUBUDON SOCIETY AND THE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION AGREE TO PROTECT QUADS PARCELS
On Oct. 6, Sarasota County, the Sarasota Audubon Society and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announced a public-private partnership to protect the 33-acre Quads parcels, which buffer the environmentally sensitive Celery Fields. MORE>>
SARASOTA COUNTY EARNS HIGH MARKS FROM CITIZENS
On Nov. 18, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis presented the county’s 29th Citizen Opinion Survey. The survey provides a standardized, statistically valid understanding of citizens’ views on topics relating to quality of life, public services, county finances and more. Here are some highlights from this year’s report. MORE>>
SARASOTA COUNTY DISTRIBUTES FUNDING FROM THE CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT
From the August launch through Dec. 9, Sarasota County approved or dispersed $49.2 million in coronavirus relief funds into the local economy, supporting small businesses, individual households, arts and cultural programs, and nonprofit organizations. More than $3.7 million in individual assistance was paid to 1,052 households, and over $30.7 million was paid to 773 small businesses. The county’s assistance program was on track to distribute up to $75.7 million to citizens, business and nonprofit agencies. MORE>>