Date: January 28, 2010
by: Robin Roy | City Editor


+ Anti school-tax movement grows
A South County businessman is forming a grassroots committee to oppose the March 16 referendum that would extend the 1-mill property tax for the Sarasota County School District.

Walt Augustinowicz is in the process of creating a political action committee to try to defeat the tax.
“I have a lot of people willing to volunteer,” he said. “Some of them are teachers and school bus drivers.”

Augustinowicz said he opposes the school district’s free spending.

“They’re not spending our tax dollars wisely,” he said. “And I’m the guy who finally decided to speak up.”

+ Spring-training settlement rejected
On the advice of county attorney Steve DeMarsh, county commissioners rejected an offer to settle a lawsuit over the county’s spring-training negotiations.

The group Citizens for Responsible Government is suing the county and city over what it said were Sunshine Law violations during talks to bring the Baltimore Orioles to town.

The group’s lawyer offered a settlement last week, and the major term was that the county hold a referendum and ask voters if they support a taxpayer-funded baseball stadium.

DeMarsh said if the voters rejected the spring-training spending, it could expose the county to millions of dollars in damages for breaching the existing contract with the Orioles.

Instead, DeMarsh recommended holding another public hearing on spring-training baseball “as a legal strategy.”

That hearing will take place Feb. 19.

+ Meetings & Agendas

• County Commission budget workshop — 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, Third Floor Think Tank, County Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota

• Palm Avenue parking garage workshop — 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota

• Alta Vista Neighborhood Association — 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, Harmony Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, 2600 Courtland St., Sarasota

• City Commission — 2:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota

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