+ County doesn’t object to term-limits case request
A brief filed Dec. 16 with the Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland states Sarasota County has no objection to a citizens group’s request for the appellate court to bump up to the Florida Supreme Court a term-limits case involving the county.
David R. Persson, the Longboat Key town attorney representing Sarasota County in the term-limits lawsuit, filed the brief in response to a Dec. 13 brief filed by Sarasota attorney Andrea Mogensen on behalf of 16 citizens who brought the term-limits lawsuit against the county. The group filed its suit after the Sarasota County Commission attempted to place on the Jan. 31 ballot an initiative seeking voter approval of a limit of three consecutive terms for county commissioners, effective upon passage of the referendum.
After a Nov. 21 emergency hearing in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota, Senior Circuit Judge Jack Schoonover ruled the ballot language was confusing. The County Commission took no subsequent action to change the language, killing the referendum.
However, Schoonover also ruled that a 2005 decision in Moore v. Sarasota County, which invalidated a limit of two consecutive terms for county commissioners, could stand. Mogensen filed an appeal of that ruling last week and suggested in a brief that the Florida Supreme Court consolidate the Sarasota County case with a Broward County case on County Commission term limits, because both cases focus on the identical legal question.
+ Residents warned about seasonal scams
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about seasonal door-to-door scams, most recently a scheme in which people pose as students involved in a fundraiser.
Reported incidents indicate that well-dressed, college-age men are approaching people under the guise of raising money for a school trip. They claim they attend local universities and that their parents live nearby, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The pitch differs, but on some occasions, the suspects ask for $118 for a trip to an overseas sports tournament, a Sheriff’s Office news release says. If the homeowner seems hesitant, the release adds, the young men reduce the price and offer magazine subscriptions. A suspect even will present an official-looking flyer and receipt, but those documents do not contain valid information, the news release adds.
In a separate but similar scam, the perpetrator claims to be a state or county worker doing tree work or other contracting in the area. On at least one occasion, the suspect has distracted the victim, entered a home and left with the resident’s checkbook or valuables, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“However the scam plays out, we want to remind residents to not open their door to uninvited guests, even if they claim to be neighbors or claim to be doing official work,” the news release states.
Anyone who feels unsafe should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately, so deputies can contact the individuals and verify the nature of their business. Residents may call 911 or the non-emergency number, 316-1201.
+ County offering discounts on classes
In 2011, Sarasota County helped dozens of homeowners save money on energy costs with the Get Energy Smart Retrofit Rebate program.
In 2012, the county will offer reduced fees for a limited number of residents who register for courses at the Florida Solar Energy Center, to train them to assist with energy-efficiency programs.
The classes will provide the training and testing necessary to prepare each participant to become a Certified Class 3, 2 or 1 Residential Energy Rater, according to a news release. Raters also can provide ratings for the EPA Energy Star program.
All courses will be held at FSEC in Cocoa. Classes are available in February and June. More information may be found online at http://www.scgov.net/Sustainability/TrainingBuilders.asp.