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File photo.
A group of homeless people gathers across the street from Five Points Park recently.
Sarasota Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2012 5 years ago

Commission discusses increase in homeless arrests


At the Sarasota City Commission meeting today, commissioners discussed an increase in the arrest of homeless people downtown. Over the past four weeks, Sarasota police have made 55 arrests in the Five Points area related to vagrancy.

The arrests were part of an effort to address concerns from some residents and business owners about a rise in vagrancy downtown. Police Capt. Wade B. McVay updated the City Commission after Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said he wanted to talk about the issue, which has become a top concern for him.
Commissioner Terry Turner and Mayor Suzanne Atwell also said problems associated with homeless people downtown is a top issue.

"This is a call to action," Atwell said. "We want people to come to downtown. We are all in this together. Look what has happened in the last four weeks. It has gotten better, in only four weeks."

In other items from the meeting today:

â–º Commissioners heard from residents who spoke in favor of keeping speed tables along a stretch of Webber Street.

â–ºCaragiulo, who has been working with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, noted that officials from the agency will walk Sarasota's shoreline Friday morning to assess damage from Tropical Storm Isaac.

Federal officials from the agency will meet with Caragiulo, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and other officials on Lido Beach.

"This is one of the few chances we have to recover some sort of funds for shoreline protection," Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said.

â–º Commissioners approved on the first of two readings the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, including a general fund operating millage of 2.9249. The millage rate is the same as the 2011-2012 general fund rate.

For more, pick up a copy of the Thursday, Sept. 6 edition of the Sarasota Observer.

Contact Roger Drouin at [email protected].

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