Sarasota County Commissioners will meet with their city of Sarasota counterparts on Tuesday to discuss a range of issues affecting the two governing bodies.
Homelessness and a proposed project to mine Big Pass for Lido Beach sand will top the agenda.
The city and county commissions are both awaiting the final results of a study of area homelessness by Dr. Richard Marbut, an expert hired by the city and county.
Marbut’s report follows a study released last week by the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, which found that Sarasota County’s homeless population has grown 40% since 2011, highlighting the seriousness of the issue.
City commissioners are currently embroiled in a controversial debate about where to build a proposed homeless shelter, with experts such as Dr. Marbut advocating for a location close to downtown, while concerned business owners and property owners would like to see the shelter displaced from valuable real estate.
The combined city-county meeting will also tackle a controversial U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to mine Big Pass for Lido Beach sand.
Opponents of the project are concerned about the impact of the project on the navigability of Big Pass, which has never been dredged, and what unknown effects the three erosion-control groins included in the Army’s plan will have on the natural flow of sand down the coast that helps renourish Siesta beaches.
The Army’s plans were officially unveiled to the public at a Sarasota Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting in September. An Army representative said the permitting process could take one to two months, and the project, which has an estimated $22.7 million price tag, could break ground as early as 2015, depending on what funding Congress is willing to provide.
Also up for discussion Tuesday will be proposed changes to Sarasota 2050 and a discussion on the wide variance in crime rates between the city of Sarasota and Sarasota County.
Tuesday’s joint city-county meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., at the Sarasota County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
Residents can call 861-5000 for more information.
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