Sarasota Delegation Kills Siesta Key City Effort

Todays News

Photo courtesy Save Siesta Key

Plans for making Siesta Key into Sarasota County’s fifth city fell apart Tuesday. The Sarasota County Legislative Delegation at a special meeting split 3-3 on a local bill incorporating the community as a municipality, effectively killing the legislation a week ahead of the regular legislative session.

State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton and delegation chair, said he had serious concerns both about adding a layer of government with taxing authority. He also worried about potentially unrealistic expectations about the “government-lite” model proposed by civic leaders on the Key.

“Are we setting up for failure?” he asked.

Save Siesta Key, the group behind the incorporation effort, has defended it’s proposal to form a city for the less than 7,000 living on Siesta Key south of the Sarasota municipal limits. The organization said thanks to high property values, a low property rate of 0.25 mills could generate enough to fund a city government with just five employees— at least for the first five years of existence. The plan would be to focus city hall on infrastructure needs and planning, the latter a hot-button issue after the controversial approval by Sarasota County Commissioners of new hotels on the island.

State Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota, had sponsored the bill and expressed disappointment in the vote. She noted any legislation in front of lawmakers would not be the final say on incorporation. Rather, the legislation if approved would put the matter to a vote by residents of Siesta Key.

“The question as to whether this is the city we would design for ourselves is a separate conversation,” she said.

McFarland and state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, voted for the legislation, as did Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, D-St. Petersburg. But Robinson voted no, along with Reps. James Buchanan, R-Venice, and Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota. Without a majority, the local bill died at the county delegation level.

But Gregory said he may support future iterations if a proposal comes forward that has more fiscal limitations, such as capping the city tax rate.

Photo courtesy Save Siesta Key

« View The Wednesday Jan 5, 2022 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Telecommunicators Recognized with Two Awards

Telecommunicators Recognized with Two Awards

May 10, 2022

Sarasota Swears In Troche as Police Chief

Sarasota Swears In Troche as Police Chief

Jacob Ogles | May 2, 2022

Colonel Graduates FSA Commanders Academy

Colonel Graduates FSA Commanders Academy

Apr 12, 2022

New Addition to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Mounted Patrol Unit

New Addition to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Mounted Patrol Unit

Apr 11, 2022