+ County keeps millage rate same
Sarasota County commissioners approved this week the county’s budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins Oct. 1.
The $1 billion budget keeps the overall millage rate at 3.3384 mills, which is the same rate as the 2009 fiscal year.
The approved millage rate includes: 3.1052 mills for general-operating expenses, which keep county government running; 0.2055 mills to repay debt; and 0.0277 for mosquito control.
+ City to give holiday parade $25,000
Two days after the city of Sarasota told the organizers of the annual downtown holiday parade that they will have to pay more than $31,000 to put on the event, city officials sent the organizers an e-mail saying they will cover most of the charge.
The city will provide $25,000 toward the cost of police, trash and street-sweeping services. City Manager Bob Bartolotta said the police- and public-works departments can negotiate with the holiday parade to possibly lower or eliminate the remainder of the cost.
Paul Thorpe, parade organizer, said before receiving the city’s e-mail that he would have to consider canceling the event, because he would not be able to come up with the $31,720 he was going to be charged.
“I’m happy now,” said Thorpe. “Santa came early for me.”
+ Exotic species removed from Trail
Sarasota County Forestry crews are removing Brazilian pepper trees and other non-native plants along The Legacy Trail. Work began Sept. 29 near Central Sarasota Parkway. Crews will be moving north as they work.
A barricade will be used in the immediate work area. Trail users may experience minor delays as the crews work. They will allow bikers and walkers to pass the work area periodically.
The project is expected to last through Oct. 2.
+ Sheriff’s office gets victim grant
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office received a state grant that will allow it to hire two additional victim advocates, who provide counseling, support and prosecution assistance to crime victims.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum awarded the $78,094 Victims of Crime Act grant.
The sheriff’s office currently has one victim advocate. There were 336 new cases over the past fiscal year for that one employee.
Sheriff Tom Knight said that did not allow for adequate attention to crime victims. He had made a campaign promise to restore the program, which had been cut in recent years. Knight’s staff applied for the grant just a few weeks after the November 2008 election.