CITY COMMISSION EMBRACES NEXT STEPS TO ADDRESS CHRONIC HOMELESS ISSUE
Sarasota, FL: The City Commission unanimously accepted a report last night proposing an eight step action plan to address the chronic homeless issue. While priorities and specifics will be finalized at a future date, the City Commission enthusiastically embraced a new, detailed plan which calls for the City to coordinate with government agencies, secular institutions, faith based organizations and private philanthropists to provide short term and long term solutions to this challenging issue.
Following much staff research and extensive dialogue with local homeless services providers, the action plan was presented to the City Commission by City Manager Tom Barwin. The recommendations emphasize a need for a decentralized approach which will not overstress neighborhoods and business districts, while prioritizing housing for the chronically homeless.
“These eight action steps are a fresh road map to guide us with the homeless issue,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “This is a daunting challenge. But, we believe our community is committed to improving the collective response to the challenge of chronic homelessness and its associated human and financial costs.”
Considering arrests, jail time, emergency service calls and miscellaneous expenses, it is estimated that the average annual cost for the approximate 1,000 chronically homeless individuals in Sarasota County, is approximately $10 million per each year. That translates into an estimated $10,000 per chronically homeless person per year.
The action plan challenges local churches, philanthropists and others to commit to raising the funds necessary to provide short term transitional housing as well as long term low rent permanent housing.
The eight action steps and goals, which will be discussed for implementation by the City Commission in the near future, are ambitious and strategic, and cover the spectrum from fairly quick solutions to long term investments in affordable housing. The recommended eight action steps, as outlined in a memo from City Manager Tom Barwin are:
City Commissioners look forward to a locally crafted approach with the chronic homeless issue based on the community’s 26 years of responding to the chronic homeless challenge. The City will be soliciting additional feedback on the action plan and as many partners and collaborators as possible.
To read the complete memo submitted by City Manager Tom Barwin with detailed goals for each action step, click here.
To see the results of the City’s 2015 Homeless Survey click here.
For more information contact
FDEP APPROVES DEEP INJECTION WELL;WATER RESIDUAL NO LONGER DISCHARGED INTO SARASOTA BAY
Sarasota, FL: Following a thorough on-site inspection at the City of Sarasota Utilities campus last week by Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials, the City’s new deep injection well is now being used to safely dispose of water treatment plant residual, also known as brine. With the activation of the well, the City is no longer discharging water residual into Hog Creek, which flows into Sarasota Bay.
“This is a significant step forward for the health and preservation of our environment,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “The water residual is now being injected safely deep into the ground 1,700 feet below the aquifer. This is a better way of disposing of the residual which, no doubt, will lead to a healthier Sarasota Bay.”
The City received written confirmation from FDEP last Thursday night that the deep injection well passed the on-site inspection and could begin receiving water residual. The Utilities Department started the operational flow into the well immediately on Friday morning.
As part of an agreement with FDEP to cease the permitted discharge into Hog Creek, the City of Sarasota constructed a deep injection well over the past year. The comprehensive system and complex construction project cost approximately $6 million and was completed on time and on budget.
The agreement with FDEP only requires the discharge of brine into Hog Creek to cease. The City, though, will soon exceed that requirement by also stopping the permitted discharge into Whitaker Bayou of excess treated wastewater. Currently, the City discharges into Whitaker Bayou approximately six million gallons a day of excess treated wastewater which is not used or sold for irrigation purposes.
“In a few weeks, the second portion of the deep injection well system will be activated allowing it to receive treated wastewater,” said Mitt Tidwell, Utilities Director. “So, with both systems operational, the City no longer will discharge both water residual and excess treated wastewater into the small bodies of water that feed into Sarasota Bay. This has been a complex project, and we’re going above and beyond to be good stewards of the environment.”
In total, approximately nine million gallons of residual and treated wastewater have been legally discharged into Hog Creek and Whitaker Bayou each day – until last Friday. The deep injection well, located on the north side of the Utilities campus on 12th Street, has the capacity to receive up to 18 million gallons a day.
The construction project included building the deep well, replacing oversized motors, snaking new underground lines from the water and wastewater treatment plants to the well, installing transfer pumps, reconfiguring a motor control center and constructing a pipeline under 12th Street (while keeping the road open to traffic) to deliver the treated material to the deep injection well. The construction occurred without stopping daily operations at the water and wastewater treatment plants.
About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by Google as a Digital Capital in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 53,000 year round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at www.SarasotaGov.com
HURRICANE EVACUATION ZONE SIGNS INSTALLED AT KEY INTERSECTIONS
Sarasota, FL: Hurricane evacuation zone signs will be installed at key traffic intersections throughout the city limits beginning next week to remind motorists and pedestrians of their evacuation zone. Known as collars, the vinyl, reflective signs will be attached to stop signs in the A and B evacuation zones, which are the most vulnerable areas during a tropical weather event.
A total of 367 collars will be attached to stop signs year round. To view a map detailing Zone A and B, and where the signs will be placed
“Hurricane season just ended, but we’re continually preparing and planning,” said City of Sarasota Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering. “One of the most important aspects of your family’s hurricane plan is to know your evacuation zone and to be ready to leave if and when the order goes out. Having these evacuation zone signs posted throughout the year will help remind people what zone they live in and how to respond to an approaching storm.”
Evacuation Zone A is considered to be most at-risk for storm surge. Residents in Zone A
would be advised by emergency management officials to evacuate first, followed by Zone B. Evacuation zones are based upon the potential threat of storm surge, which is one of the deadliest aspects of a hurricane
To determine your evacuation zone, click here or visit the Sarasota County Emergency Management webpage via www.SCGov.net
While there are five evacuation zones (A-E) within the city limits, only the highest at-risk zones will have the signage. The collars are not an emergency management requirement; however, Sarasota strives to be as prepared as possible.
This hurricane readiness signage program is a joint venture between the City and Sarasota County. The signs were purchased via a grant from Sarasota County Emergency Management and will be installed by the City’s Public Works Department.
“We worked closely with Sarasota County Emergency Management to map out the intersections where the signs will be installed, said Public Works Director Doug Jeffcoat. “As each of the 367 collars is attached, we’ll take a photo of it and upload it with detailed information into our citywide sign data base system. So, this project will be ongoing for the next couple of months.”
Office Address: 1718 Main Street, Suite 304, Sarasota, FL 34236 Phone Number: 941.366.7040