Monday, December 17, 2007

Meet Santa on Sunday!

Santa will arrive in Lake Sarasota on a firetruck on Sunday, Dec. 23rd, around 2 p.m. The truck will proceed through the neighborhood slowly, and Santa will wave and have candy canes.

Here's the route - note he begins at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge, heads down Mauna Loa, up Bershire, back across to Lanai, then to Jarvis Rd., Lago Way, then the High School:



Santa should be arriving at the high school sometime around 2:40 p.m. He'll meet and greet kids for the next half hour or so.

And don't forget! Caroling begins at 5 p.m.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Scope Out These Winter Community Events

SCOPE is a local group - the name stands for Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence.

They want us to Save the Date in 2008:

Voter Registration Deadline Nears For January 29, 2008 Election

Media contact: Tel 941.861.8606 Fax 941.861.8609

(SARASOTA, FL,) –The voter registration deadline is approaching for the Presidential Preference Primary Election, which will be held on Tuesday, January 29, 2008. Citizens must be registered by Monday, December 31, 2007, to be eligible to vote in this election.

Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent recommends that voters verify their registration information. A voter who has moved, had a name change, or needs to update a signature since the last election may submit a Florida Voter Registration Application to update his or her record. For more information call the supervisor of elections at 861-8600 or write to Supervisor of Elections, PO Box 4194, Sarasota, FL 34230-4194.

To register to vote, one must submit a completed Florida Voter Registration Application Form. Florida Voter Registration Application forms are available at supervisor of elections offices, city halls, county libraries, county offices, social service agencies and many area banks or may be downloaded from the SOE Web site at www.srqelections.com.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday and New Year Activities, Events, Plans

At the December meeting, plans were made for holiday festivities, beautification, traffic calming, and citizens patrol.

1. Holiday: Sunday, December 23, 2 p.m. Plans call for Santa to ride through Lake Sarasota on a fire engine from the 17th St. Fire station. From 2 p.m. to roughly 3 p.m., Santa will be distributing candy canes (or small bottles of vodka) so make sure all Santa fans are out looking for him.

Here's the route:

Beginning at Bee Ridge and Mauna Loa, and proceeding to make a loop consisting of:

Berkshire -> Brentford -> Marlboro -> Friendship -> Lanai -> Jarvis

Click below for larger map or click here.



2. CAROLING: The same day, Sunday, Dec. 23rd, at 5 p.m., carolers will gather near the start of Mauna Loa (near where the community sign is located). There will be sheet music. Bring holiday attire, candles. There will be sheet music. The Carolers will probably proceed down Mauna Loa. Anyone is free to join at any point for as long as they wish.

3. Beautification: The Committee plans to place poinsettias near the flagpole.

4. Traffic Calming: The Board of County Commissioners has set Jan. 8th, 9 a.m. to decide on the request for stop signs along Mauna Loa. It is possible the item will be pulled from the agenda at the last minute. The best thing is for everyone who wishes to influence the commission to email the commissioners individually. Also, email Don Galloway, the manager of Traffic Operations.

The board will decide whether to approve one recommended stop sign along Mauna Loa. It may deny the request, or may decide to approve up to four signs.

Here are the relevant emails:


Don Galloway P.E. Manager
dgallowa@scgov.net

Paul Mercier - County Commissioner District 1
E-Mail: pmercier@scgov.net

Joe Barbetta - County Commissioner District 2
E-Mail: jbarbett@scgov.net

Shannon Staub - County Commissioner District 3
E-Mail: sstaub@scgov.net

Nora Patterson - County Commissioner District 4
E-Mail: npatters@scgov.net

Jon Thaxton - County Commissioner District 5
E-Mail: jthaxton@scgov.net


Mailing Address
County Commissioners
1660 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236


5. Citizens Patrol: George Morgan needs someone to help schedule Citizen Patrols. Contact him (377-4437 or email) if you have a little time to make some phone calls. Also, for the holidays, even if you haven't had the training, you can pair up with someone who has, and see the Christmas lights while doing good for the neighborhood.

Water Line Project Update

For Lake Sarasota residents on Lago and Jarvis:

The water line construction contract with Frederick Derr was approved this morning. The pre-construction meeting will be held next week sometime. The contractor plans to begin right after the New Year.


County Utility and Public Works representatives will be at our next meeting at Sarasota Baptist, 6:30 pm January 8. The contractor will be there as well to answer questions. Please come to that meeting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

How the Lake Sarasota Community Group Began


(This is excerpted from a report presented to the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners in 2007)

In 2006, Lake Sarasota, a neighborhood of 1,600 homes, was approached by Sarasota County.

Debbie Marks of Sarasota’s Neighborhood Services, as it was then called, got out the word that there was help available if residents of Lake Sarasota wished to try to build neighborhood identity and a community group to address local issues. 

Several residents responded and began to meet. Several themes emerged: identity, neighborhood beautification, community events, security and traffic calming. 

Over the course of the next 16 months, Ms. Marks gave support, guidance, and served as a liaison as a core group of residents began work on these issues. The “core group” consisted of about a dozen active members who worked tirelessly, often getting out at the crack of dawn on weekends to clean up, to plant, to move bricks and mulch.

A brief list of initiatives and actions that have taken place over the past year would include:

Neighborhood identity 

  1. Lake Sarasota Signs at two entrances: Mauna Loa and Westminster
  2. Directory of neighbors and interests, skills (in development)
  3. Welcome wagon (currently suspended).
 
Beautification 

  1. Medians – picking up trash, painting curbs, plans to plant trees.
  2. Front entrance – removal of bricks, new flagpole and flag, new signs and landscaping.
  3. Westminster Entrance – new sign and landscaping
  4. Clean-ups – major neighborhood clean-up July 2006, 2nd set for July 28, 2007.
  5. Yard of the Month Program
  6. Lakeview Park Clean-up Mar.21-22, 2007.
  7. County improvements to Lakeview park – benches, tables, removal of deadwood, invasive plants, bathrooms, security gate.
 
Community Events 
  1. Regular monthly general meetings, committee meetings.
  2. Neighborhood Yard Sales Jan. 20, 2007; 2nd scheduled for May 19th 2007.
  3. Spring Flings (2006 and May 2007)
 
Security Matters 
  1. Traffic calming: two stop signs on Mauna Loa installed in 2007.
  2. Citizen Patrol: training, organizing, weekend schedule in operation.
  3. Neighbors helping Neighbors – helping elderly, infirm.
  4. Relations with police – monthly reports from community liaisons.
 
The group used a variety of means to communicate:

 
As a result of these efforts, with about $3,500 in funding help from the County, the neighborhood is cleaner, with a stronger sense of identity, and a spirit of community that is actively concerned with improving the appearance, the security, and the quality of life for the 1600 homes of Lake Sarasota.

The group’s efforts have also created revenue for local businesses – landscapers, alarm system vendors, food vendors. A local Realtor has also been a helpful contributor, funding various efforts including the newsletter.

Some new and ongoing plans for Lake Sarasota include:

  • Additional traffic calming measures (traffic tables or stop signs)
  • Protective, non-intrusive Lighting
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Community Garden in Park
  • Restoring pumps to Lakeview Park
  • Anything else we can think of to preserve property value and to push back  against effects of the recent softening of the housing market.
 
This last initiative deserves comment. The Florida real estate market, like much of the nation’s, is afflicted with negative consequences of the housing bubble of the past decade. Foreclosures are up, property taxes are up, home insurance costs at all-time highs. 

At times like this, some neighborhoods evince signs of depressed real estate value and physical deterioration – vacancies, ill-maintained properties, increased litter. Thanks to the spark provided by Debbie Marks, the Lake Sarasota Community Group has formed a strong and willing team that offers a positive spirit running counter to the current economic turmoil, dedicated to focusing on improvements for the good of the community.

We believe the investment of the county in our neighborhood has been a constructive example of unusually good policy. On Wednesday, April 25, 2007, the County Commission made it clear that this program is now imperiled, thanks to cuts in property taxes now being considered in Tallahassee. 

We are grateful that Lake Sarasota had the opportunity to experience the benefits of this governmental outreach. We understand that the county’s investment was far greater than its cash outlay, involving the time and effort of many who helped us make the progress we have made. 

This community now has an identity and a will to help itself that will repay that investment for years to come. In this time of deterioration, a program like this – which some in local and state government under fiscal pressure might consider a “frill” – could prove to protect and preserve quality of life and property value in ways both calculable and incalculable for years to come. 

Rather than a program the county cannot afford to keep, our experience in Lake Sarasota suggests it’s a clear example of good governance that Sarasota County cannot afford to lose.


  

Sunday, December 09, 2007

On the Tuesday County Commission Agenda

Several items of potential interest to Lake Sarasota residents are on the Tuesday, Dec. 11th County Commission Agenda:


20. PUBLIC WORKS

To approve a Contract with Frederick Derr and Company, Inc., for construction services of
the Lakeview Elementary School Area Sidewalk Project and the Jarvis Road Water Main Extension Project, in the amount of $1,622,104.68.

21. PUBLIC WORKS

To approve the use of contingency funds for improvements to sidewalks, as follows:

C. Webber Street, Phase II, Improvement Project, Lakeview Elementary School Improvement Project, CIP 85786, Shamrock Drive Improvement Project, CIP 95793, and North Sarasota Improvement Project, CIP 85785, in the amount not to exceed the Project's
contingency.


43. PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

A. Public hearing continued from August 29, 2007, to consider proposed Ordinance No.
2007-072, Palmer Place Development of Critical Concern (DOCC), a petition by Kemmons
Wilson, Inc., to construct 1,488 mixed residential dwelling units with 50 percent designated as Community Housing and Affordable Housing dwelling units on approximately 412 acres located south of Fruitville Road and east of the Palmer Boulevard and Iona Road intersection in a RSF-3/PUD (Residential Single-Family, 4.5 units/1 acre, Planned Unit Development) zone district. (Planning Commission recommended approval.);

B. Public hearing continued from August 29, 2007, to consider proposed Ordinance No.
2007-073, Rezone Petition No. 07-11, a petition by Robert Medred, Agent, to rezone
approximately 412 acres located south of Fruitville Road and east of the Palmer Boulevardand Iona Road intersection from OUR (Open Use, Rural, 1 unit/10 acres) to RSF-3/PUD zone district. (Planning Commission recommended approval.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Agenda for December and for 2008

The last General meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group of the year is this Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Sarasota Baptist Church. Among the agenda items:

  • Seasonal activities - we're working on either a hayride, or caroling, or both, for either Saturday, Dec. 22 or Sunday, Dec. 23 - come help us figure it out! Anybody have a hay wagon to lend? Any more ideas? Contact Sandy if you do.
  • Are you concerned about taxes? Property appraisals? Foreclosures? Short sales? The Jan. 29th vote on some of these matters? We are too. We want to inform ourselves, and we're doing some planning.
  • Also, we'll start thinking about community events for the spring - yard sales, etc.
  • George Morgan needs someone to help schedule Citizen Patrols. Contact him (377-4437 or email) if you have a little time to make some phone calls.

Plus, get updates on

  • Traffic calming efforts.
  • The water line project on Jarvis/Lago (special meeting on that Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m., Sarasota Baptist).
Want to stay current on what's happening in Lake Sarasota? Get on our mailing list. Send your email address to LakeSarasota@gmail.com

Monday, December 03, 2007

Water Line Meeting Jan. 8th, 6:30 p.m.

If you have a stake or an interest in the water lines that will soon be installed along Jarvis Rd., Lago Way and Lago Rd., make a note to meet the contractor on Jan. 8, 2008.

Representatives of the county's public works, utilities, and the contractor, Derr Excavating, will be at Sarasota Baptist, in our regular Lake Sarasota Community Group meeting room at 6:30 p.m. A regular general meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

This is your chance to ask questions about costs, timing, sidewalks, and all else. Try to attend, and if you live in the impacted area, please make sure your neighbors know.

The fee schedule is below - click on it to enlarge:



Also: Low income financing might be available.
  • For general info, or more info about low income financing, call Linda Larsen, 861-0662.
  • For questions about the impact of the project on the neighborhood, call Rodney Jones, 861-0506. He will be the county's onsite representative once the project has begun.
  • For information about the installation of sidewalks, call Pinky Pakalapati, 861-0931 in Public Works.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Certain Elves have been Spotted . . .

. . . decorating the entrance signs:



they can be difficult to photograph,



but we have ocular proof:



Thanks to Tisha for the photos and to Dawn and all else for the work.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A word of thanks

If you've not been over to Lakeview Park recently, you have a surprise in store. Over the past few weeks, the Corrections Dept. crew has been out pretty much every day removing 10 years' worth of invasive undergrowth that was choking the canals and making it difficult to see the lakes, let alone play disk golf. They even dredged the canals to give the water space to move.



Clean sight-lines now look across opened-up vistas that offer a whole new perspective on the park. For one thing, I'll bet you didn't know that one of the small ponds (along the Lago Road side) has two small islands -- I asked one person who's been coming to the park nearly every day for years, and she said it was a revelation to her.


One odd thing: there are piles of dead wood that have been collected and placed at the base of some trees, many of which themselves are dead. I wondered why this wood hadn't been removed by the crew, which did a great job of removing tons of brush, weeds and invasives growing along the canals and ponds.



According to someone who spoke with Corrections, the reason is that Corrections was tasked specifically with dealing with the waterways. The department is reimbursed by the County for its work, but its work was carefully delimited and didn't include the piles of dead wood.

As my source noted, it might be difficult to find any contractor who would do the clearing any less expensively than Corrections, which uses inmate labor. Such are the vagaries of budgetary austerity. The unfortunate result is that while the park looks great, piles of dry wood that could prove a fire hazard going into the dry season are scattered around the park.

So in this time of Thanksgiving, we thank the County, and Parks and Rec, and Corrections. If we had a holiday wish, it's that someone would ask these good workers to finish the job.




Friday, November 30, 2007

County training for aspiring poll workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Pam Cutrone, Poll Worker Coordinator

(941) 861-8640

MEDIA ADVISORY

New Poll Worker Orientations: Anyone interested in becoming a poll worker may attend. Applicant must be a registered voter in Sarasota County and bring a Florida Driver License and signed Social Security card. No need to RSVP.

North County:

Fruitville Library - 100 Coburn Rd, December 3, 10 am

Selby Library - 1331 First St, December 4, 11 am

Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch YMCA- 8301 Potter Park Drive

December 10, 11 am and December 12, 6 pm

Frank G. Berlin Branch YMCA-1075 Euclid Ave.

December 10, 6 pm and December 12, 10 am

South County:

Jacaranda Library - 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd, December 5, 2 pm

North Port Library - 13800 S. Tamiami Trail,, December 6, 2 pm

Michael & Georgia Miller Branch Venice YMCA-701 Center Road

December 11, 10 am and December 13, 6 pm

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Help for Food Bank

One of our neighbors, John, 4134 Palau Drive, is offering to collect and bring canned food to the food bank. The photo below offers details - click on it to enlarge.

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UPDATE: Traffic Meeting Rescheduled!

The 1:30 p.m. traffic calming meeting at the County Commission scheduled for today has been postponed. Thanks to Commissioner Shannon Staub who replied to an email about our traffic concerns, we have just learned that the stop sign petition for Mauna Loa was not set for today's meeting agenda.

The matter is expected to come up in December. Stay tuned for updates - apologies for the late-breaking news.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WE ARE ALMOST OFFICIAL!


We adopted our By-Laws as the Lake Sarasota Community Group and voted in new officers for 2008 at our November meeting:

Chairman: Jeff Ellis (Mauna Loa) jeffreyellis@juno.com

Beautification Directors: Tisha Farrington (Friendship)

& Dawn Steele (Lancaster)

Membership Director: Judy Johnson (Mauna Loa)

Treasurer: Ellie Himes (Java)

We are applying for a tax id # and will soon have a checking account and accept donations sent to:

Lake Sarasota Community Group

PO Box 21983 Sarasota, FL 34276

Keep Sarasota Beautiful

Adopt-A-Road

Program

Many thanks to Kim Davis for making Mauna Loa Blvd part of the Adopt-A-Road program. This is yet another positive influence to make our community cleaner and more attractive.

Kim will be putting together a schedule for residents who are interested in being involved with this endeavor to help pick up trash.

Please contact Kim if you would like to help out:

kaysyrah@msn.com

Litter Prevention Hotline: call 365-TAGS

to report anyone you see littering, including cigarette butts out of cars (give tag #)



HOLIDAY DECORATIONS:

We will be decorating our medians to celebrate the holidays.

Come out and join us! We will be meeting on Dec. 2 @ 1 pm by our announcement board (second median from Bee Ridge)



Thank You :)
Laura Mathis

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Officers Elected at Nov. Meeting

Members of the Lake Sarasota Community Group (LSCG) unanimously approved articles of incorporation on Tuesday, and elected a new slate of officers for the coming year.

The articles of incorporation handed out at the October meeting were approved with only very minor changes. The primary purpose for this step was to enable the group to have a bank account, to accept and write checks, and to qualify for not-for-profit status.

New officers include:

Jeff Ellis, Chairman, replacing Laura Mathis. (Laura was one of the driving forces of the LSCG and will remain active with the group.)

Judy Johnson is the new Membership Director, Tisha and Dawn will co-direct the Beautification Committee.

Ellie Himes is the new Treasurer; her first order of business will be to file the articles of incorporation with the state.

George Morgan continues with Citizens Patrol, Renee continues with Yard of the Month, and Judy and Tisha will actively monitor traffic issues. (Note meeting on stop signs on Nov. 20th.)

Sandy Allen will take charge of parties and special events. There's talk of a holiday hayride, caroling, and of planning a Neighborhood Yard Sale for January.

Dawn is involved with Roots and Shoots, a neighborhood program for children. Tom continues as Blogmeister.



Kim Davis will coordinate clean-ups of Mauna Loa. Kids can get community service hours for participating. If you see anyone littering, get their tag and call 365-TAGS.

The treasury currently has about $200.

The permit for the flagpole at the entrance has finally come through, Laura announced. Once in place, some landscaping will be organized.


Upcoming Events:

Tues. Nov. 20th, 1:30 p.m. County Commission vote on stop signs for Mauna Loa.

Sunday, Dec. 2nd, 1 p.m. Meet at LSCG sign near front entrance to decorate entrance for the holidays.

Next General Meeting: Tues. Dec. 11, 7 p.m. at Sarasota Baptist.

Final Decision on Stop Sign Tues. Nov. 20th

The County Commission will make a final decision on the petition from residents of Lake Sarasota for additional stop signs along Mauna Loa Blvd. The 1.6 mile roadway sustains daily traffic of over 3,000 cars.

The Traffic Advisory Council recommended approval for one additional stop sign at Friendship and Mauna Loa. Three other requested signs did not receive support.

The Commission will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 20th at 1:30 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers, Ringling Blvd. Anyone who wishes to speak may do so. If you wish to communicate by email, here are the addresses.


Paul Mercier - County Commissioner District 1
E-Mail: pmercier@scgov.net

Joe Barbetta - County Commissioner District 2
E-Mail: jbarbett@scgov.net

Shannon Staub - County Commissioner District 3
E-Mail: sstaub@scgov.net

Nora Patterson - County Commissioner District 4
E-Mail: npatters@scgov.net

Jon Thaxton - County Commissioner District 5
E-Mail: jthaxton@scgov.net


Mailing Address
County Commissioners
1660 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Water Line Project Update

Representatives of Sarasota County Utilities met with Lake Sarasota residents tonight to give the latest info on the water line installation set for Jarvis St. and Lago Way. Here it is in brief with contact info for anyone with questions:

The county has awarded the contract to Derr Excavating. The project is expected to begin in December and to be completed by April 2008.

Property owners (some 63 properties) will need to decide where to locate the water meter. It is advisable to locate it away from the septic tank area if possible.

Those who wish to keep wells for lawn watering will need to install a backflow device. This will need to be reinspected annually for a fee.

Owners can join together to do a unified deal with a plumber to do both the hookups and the backflows, at a considerable group rate savings. If interested, email Tom at LakeSarasota@gmail.com.

A table showing fees and costs was handed out. A digitized version (click to enlarge) is below:



It is also available on our group on Yahoo: join if you need to, go to files, then find Lake Sarasota Fees.pdf.

Also: Low income financing might be available.
  • For general info, or more info about low income financing, call Linda Larsen, 861-0662.
  • For questions about the impact of the project on the neighborhood, call Rodney Jones, 861-0506. He will be the county's onsite representative once the project has begun.
  • For information about the installation of sidewalks, call Pinky Pakalapati, 861-0931 in Public Works.

Monday, November 12, 2007

VERY IMPORTANT NOVEMBER MEETING

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Sarasota Baptist Church #100
(via admin offices entrance across from Worship Center)

6:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Water line project meeting with homeowners on Jarvis Rd.

7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
General meeting
*ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION for the Lake Sarasota Community Group
-We edited and voted on draft last month. This month we will vote on final and officers for 2008.
-See attached and please give me any thoughts before meeting and any nominations.
-So far we have the following:
Chairman: We need someone to "Step Up" :)
Beautification Directors: Tisha Farrington and Dawn Steele (they would like to co-direct)
Membership Director: a couple people are thinking about it, but we welcome more nominees :)
Treasurer: Ellie Himes

The 'Standing Committees' are fortunately filled except for 'Neighbor to Neighbor Assistance'.
'Events' and 'Citizen's Patrol' are always in need of more volunteers.

It is so important that we continue to get 'new blood' involved in this group as officers to bring fresh insight and ideas. THANK YOU to all the dedicated people in this group who have all made our community a better place :)

Flag Pole:
Still hung up in permitting with the county…. Trust that I have been 'round and round' on this one and will continue till it's done :)

Thank You :)
Laura Mathis
LSCG

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pre-Construction Meeting for Homeowners set for Nov. 13th

Representatives of Sarasota Public Works will be on hand on Tuesday, Nov. 13th at 6:30 p.m. to answer any questions residents have about the water line project due to begin construction along Jarvis and Lago. The project affects about 69 properties, but will also affect traffic along the corridor, drainage, etc. All are welcome, and affected property owners are encouraged to attend.

One item of particular interest for affected property owners is the possibility of joining together to do a unified deal with a plumber for hook-ups. Such a deal could result in a savings for homeowners.

The meeting will take place in the same room at Sarasota Baptist Church at Proctor and Hand Road that the Lake Sarasota Community Group uses for its general meetings, and on Nov. 13th a general meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

Here's the info from the coordinator:

We will be at the Sarasota Baptist Church on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6:30 pm. We will have information about where the project will begin, how long the contractor expects it to take, what homeowners can expect to see during construction. It will be a good time for residents to ask questions.

I will have a detailed chart showing fees and charges. We won't know the final costs until the construction is complete but the original $4000 to $6000 estimate seems good at this time.

We will be asking them to place blue flags in the right-of-way where they wish the connection to be. The contractor will give them the flags at the appropriate time.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Traffic Council Supports Additional Stop Sign for Mauna Loa

One of the four stop signs on Mauna Loa that residents of Lake Sarasota petitioned for now has the recommendation of the county's Traffic Advisory Council.

The Council today voted to send a recommendation in support of a stop sign at Friendship and Mauna Loa. Three other intersections were not recommended after a discussion that involved volume of traffic, average rates of speed as clocked by the Sheriff, and the absence of viable traffic calming alternatives (such as speed bumps or tables) thanks to the current budget crunch.

The county's budget squeeze is so tight that it is not accepting new requests for traffic calming as per its own ordinance.

Four residents spoke in favor of the additional stop signs, and one spoke against it.

The Council's recommendation goes to the County Commission for final action. The commission may choose to accept, decline, or modify the recommendation. All who wish can write to the Commission, or email each Commissioner separately. Here are their emails:

Paul Mercier - County Commissioner District 1
E-Mail: pmercier@scgov.net

Joe Barbetta - County Commissioner District 2
E-Mail: jbarbett@scgov.net

Shannon Staub - County Commissioner District 3
E-Mail: sstaub@scgov.net

Nora Patterson - County Commissioner District 4
E-Mail: npatters@scgov.net

Jon Thaxton - County Commissioner District 5
E-Mail: jthaxton@scgov.net


Mailing Address
County Commissioners
1660 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sales Tax Vote Tues. Nov. 6

The local sales tax expires Aug. 31, 2009.

The Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, or CONA, voted last week not to endorse the tax extension. The position was taken mainly because of the group's dispute with the Sarasota County School Board, which has not raised school impact fees in three years and is largely relying on the sales tax to pay for new school construction. For more on the upcoming tax vote, click here or here.

HOW THE QUESTION WILL APPEAR ON NOV. 6 BALLOTS:

REFERENDUM TO CONTINUE THE SALES TAX AND THE CITIZEN TAX OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES

Shall ordinance 2007-087 be approved continuing the one-cent sales tax through December 31, 2024 to fund community projects, including transportation, parks, beaches, dredging, libraries, criminal justice facilities, general government, museum, transit, sidewalks, environment, water and sewer, stormwater, solid waste, affordable housing,, neighborhoods, health systems, public safety, public schools; establishing county economic development trust fund; providing continuance of sales tax by referendum; requiring 4/5's vote to modify county projects/allocations; continuing citizen tax oversight committees?

YES FOR continuing the 1-cent sales tax

NO AGAINST continuing the 1-cent sales tax

Friday, November 02, 2007

November 5th Traffic Advisory Meeting

There will be a Traffic Advisory Meeting on November 5th @ 2:00pm downtown, 1660 Ringling Blvd. specifically addressing our concerns about traffic calming.

Apparently several families have actually moved out of the subdivision because they felt their children were unsafe living on Mauna Loa Blvd.
We need as many "bodies" there as we can get so hopefully they will give us more stop signs.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is your home overvalued in this market?

From the Herald Tribune:
Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties had foreclosure actions against 2,920 homes in the third quarter of 2007, up from 857 in the same 2006 quarter -- a 241 percent jump.

That is according to numbers released by RealtyTrac Inc., the California-based company that tracks the phenomenon.

Sarasota County saw the bulk of the increase, jumping to 1,406 in the July-to-September quarter, up from 365 in the third quarter of 2006, a 285 percent leap, and up 48 percent from the 952 actions in the second quarter.

In Florida, the data documented a third-quarter rate of one foreclosure filing for every 95 households, the nation's third-highest foreclosure rate for a state. A total of 86,465 foreclosure filings on 60,992 properties were reported in the state during the third quarter, up more than 50 percent from the previous quarter and more than double the number reported in the third quarter of 2006.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Surtax is a good idea, Herald Tribune says

'Yes' on local-option surtax


Tallied up over the two decades since its inception, Sarasota County's 1 percent sales surtax probably has cost the average resident at least $1,000.

That's a substantial sum for a so-called penny tax.

But the question is, what have taxpayers received in exchange?

The answer is, a great deal.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Citizens Patrol Training this evening

*Citizen's Patrol Training:
Tuesday (this evening!) 7-7:30 pm @ Sarasota Baptist Church - Room #100 via Admin entrance.

*New Officers:
We need nominations (and feel free to nominate yourself :) for voting in @ November meeting:

Chairman (no nominations yet, and I'll be passing the baton….)
Beautification Director (Tisha Farrington & Dawn Steele so far)
Membership Director (I'll help w/ newsletters, but need a new 'PR' type person for this role)
Treasurer (I'll nominate myself if need be, but would like to see someone new here, too)

We have the following on Committees:
Citizen's Patrol - George Morgan (and he could use help or a replacement :)
Yard of Month - Rene' Pitts
Traffic Calming / Safety - Judy Johnson
Welcome Wagon - Rene' Pitts and Diane MacDonald
Events - Sandy Allen (THANK YOU SANDY FOR 'STEPPING UP' :)
Neighbor to Neighbor Assistance - needs a leader!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Neighborhood Workshop set for Wednesday

Last year at a Neighborhood Workshop, a developer announced his intention to build an affordable housing project north of Bee Ridge Rd., opposite the main Lake Sarasota entrance at Mauna Loa Blvd.

That project proved controversial, and apparently has been withdrawn.

A new developer, Discovery Management, will present a new proposal for an adult congregate living facility on the same "Ansin tract" on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Hampton Inn. A pdf of the plan for the proposed facility has been uploaded to our community group site.

The public is welcome to attend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Proposed Articles of Incorporation

Hello neighbors,
We had a great turnout at the meeting last Tuesday and worked through a draft of the Articles of Incorporation - see immediately below for the text.

The next step will be the final voting on Articles and of Officers at the November meeting.
Please take a look at the 4 officer positions and email me nominations.
We also voted to do the landscaping at front median ourselves as the landscaper "fell through" .
Flag is getting closer to happening as we work thru more "hoops" to jump through.
Thank you,
Laura Mathis
LSCG

LAKE SARASOTA COMMUNITY GROUP

Articles of Incorporation

Article 1: Name of Organization

The name of the organization shall be the Lake Sarasota Community Group (LSCG).

Mailing address: PO Box 21983 Sarasota, FL 34276

Article II: Statement of Purpose

LSCG 's purpose is to maintain and improve the beauty, safety, sense of community and quality of life of residents of our neighborhood. The members of LSCG have gathered together to form and support this association because they recognize that they may more effectively and positively influence activities that affect their quality of life by acting collectively rather than individually. The LSCG seeks to serve the neighborhood with individuals and families of diverse needs, interests and backgrounds, and believes in and will strive to respect that diversity.

Article III: Membership, Meetings and Voting

Section 1: Boundaries.

LSCG 's boundaries are established as per attached map.

Section 2: Membership.

a) Membership in LSCG is open to any person residing within the LSCG boundaries and/or any owner of property within the LSCG boundaries.

b) Any eligible person may become a member by signing the meeting attendance register at a general or special meeting. An eligible person may also become a member at any time by submitting to the Membership Director a written statement of intent to join LSCG. Once a person is a member, they remain a member until eligibility requirements are no longer satisfied or a resignation, in writing, is submitted to the Membership Director.

Section 3: Voting.

a) Residents and property owners who are members and are otherwise eligible to vote under these by-laws shall have one vote each per residence and/or property owner to be cast during attendance at any general or special meeting.

b) Voting must be done in person at the meetings, and no voting by proxy is allowed. Voting shall be in the manner determined by the presiding officer. The secretary records votes in the minutes.

Section 4: Majority and Resolutions.

A majority constitutes those eligible to vote in attendance of the specified meeting. Those voting must include at least eight members. Resolution is adopted by a simple majority of those voting.

Section 5: Meetings.

a) Meetings shall be general or special, and notice must be given at least one week in advance.

b) General meetings shall be open to all members and will be held not less than once a year, and are currently the 2nd Tuesday of each month..

c) Special meetings may be called by current officers, but not more than twice a month and are open to all members. Special meetings are held at times other than a general meeting time for the purpose of informing members of any activity or to expedite activities of the LSCG. This request is passed by majority of those present.

d) Any meeting, whether general or special, shall be at a place and time set by and called to order by the Chairman or another officer acting on his or her behalf and at least 2 officers must be present.

e) There shall be at least one week's notice provided to the membership of a general or special meeting, although shorter notice may be provided in case of any emergency.

Article IV: By-Laws

Section 1: Adoption of By-Laws

These by-laws shall be adopted at an organizational meeting. The organizational meeting may be called by any person eligible for membership in LSCG, the by-laws will become effective upon approval by a majority of those voting at the organizational meeting who are eligible for membership in LSCG.

Section 2: By-Laws Amendments

These by-laws may be amended by a majority vote at a general or special meeting provided the amendment is in writing and has been discussed and reviewed by the current officers.

Section 3: Communications with the County

LSCG shall provide the County with:

a) Any updates or amendments to the by-laws.

b) A current map of the LSCG boundaries.

c) A current list of LSCG officers and their addresses.

d) Any other information that may be required by County ordinance or code to obtain or retain recognition from the County as a neighborhood association.

Article V: Officers

Section 1: Board of Directors (Board)

The Board of Directors consists of the Chairman, Beautification Director, Membership Director, and Treasurer. Board positions will be held for one-year terms. Board vacancies will be filled by a majority vote of the membership and will serve for the unexpired portion of the one-year term. Board members and committee chairpersons may meet at their discretion and, as allowed by law, to plan meetings and make committee appointments.

Section 2: Officer's Duties and responsibilities.

a) Chairman:

1. Calls, prepares agenda for, and presides at all meetings.

2. Acts as liaison with the county and Neighborhood Services.

3. Sees that other officers, committee chairpersons and committees act consistent with the authority delegated by the membership.

b) Beautification Director:

1. Assists the Chairman with all duties of his/her office.

2. Presides at meetings in the Chairman’s absence.

3. Serves as Chairperson of all community beautification projects.

c) Membership Director:

1. Maintains the membership roster.

2. Keeps permanent record of minutes of all meetings, correspondence, and LSCG records, property and archives.

3. Provides and coordinates meeting notices and newsletters.

d) Treasurer:

1. Keeps financial records and maintains checking account of LSCG.

2. Prepares and files any financial reports required by government authorities.

Section 3: Elections of Officers.

a) An initial election of officers shall be held after these by-laws are adopted by a majority of the membership present.

b) Any member can nominate any other member, including him or herself for an elected office.

c) Officers must be members eligible to vote and must be elected by a majority of those voting.

d) If no nominee receives a majority of votes in a contested election, there shall be a runoff election between the two nominees receiving the most votes.

e) Elections shall be held at November general meeting and terms commence January - December.

Article VI: Committees

Committees will provide LSCG with policies, recommendations or reports for approval by the membership of LSCG. Unless otherwise noted, the Board appoints chairpersons for standing and special committees and committee members. The Board may elect not to fill certain committees and may delegate the appointment of committee members to committee chairpersons.

Section 1: Standing Committees.

The following are standing committees of LSCG:

a) Citizens Patrol – Coordinates training sessions and assigns members to help with scheduling.

b) Yard of the Month – Coordinates gathering of nominations per Yard of the Month guidelines, taking of pictures of nominees, sending certificates, posting of signs and drawing winners at random during monthly general meetings.

c) Traffic Calming / Safety – Coordinates traffic and safety related initiatives by acting as liaison with appropriate County departments in proposing and gaining community support for initiatives.

d) Welcome Wagon – Coordinates welcoming new residents.

e) Events – Coordinates community events upon vote at general meeting of event selection.

f) Neighbor-to-Neighbor Assistance – encourages and promotes assistance to neighbors with special needs.

g) Webmaster – Maintains the LSCG website.

Section 2: Special Committees

Special committees will assist LSCG and the County in developing and reviewing issues and problems of mutual concern. Special committees may be used to broaden the participation of LSCG in advisory roles to the County relating to policy matters and decisions that may come before the County, administration or County boards and commissions.

a) Safety: Make recommendations to increase the safety of homes and businesses of LSCG.

b) Parks and Recreation: Promote and make recommendations relating to the location of parks and recreation facilities.

c) Public Works: Make recommendations relating to traffic management, street maintenance, storm and sewer facilities, sidewalks and bicycle paths.

d) Land Development: Recommend land uses for housing, businesses, streets and other facilities requiring construction or alteration of the existing landscape. Review planning goals and guidelines.

e) Schools and Education: Make recommendations on public school activities, educational needs, school board issues, and related concerns.

Adopted: ________________, 2007

Attest: __________________________

Chairman, Lake Sarasota Community Group