+ What about First Street?
During the Oct. 18 Downtown Improvement District Board of Directors meeting, Paul Thorpe suggested the DID create a project to spruce up First Street, especially near U.S. 41 and the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota.
“This is a gateway to the city used by guests of the Ritz-Carlton to enter downtown, and it’s the worst-looking street in downtown,” said Thorpe, who urged the DID to consider a street enhancement project such as the one for Palm Avenue, Main Street and other thoroughfares.
DID Chairman Ernie Ritz liked the idea and urged the board to discuss it during the Nov. 8 DID meeting.
“It’s a great suggestion and it’s worth discussing,” Ritz said.
+ Sarasota Memorial receives high marks
A report released Oct. 18 by HealthGrades, an independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings, awarded Sarasota Memorial Hospital the top five-star grade in 23 specialty areas.
“We’re very proud to be awarded five stars in so many specialties,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “It is a testament to the commitment and caliber of our physicians and health-care team who are working hard to save lives every day.”
In addition to the five-star ratings earlier this year, Sarasota Memorial earned HealthGrades’ three most prestigious overall quality awards for 2011 — America’s 50 Best Hospitals (top 1% for quality and safety), Patient Safety Excellence Award (top 5% for patient safety) and Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence (top 5% for clinical excellence).
+ City beats Siesta Key with August tourist tax revenue
After leading the way in Sarasota County tourist tax revenue during June and July, Siesta Key was in second place, behind the city of Sarasota, for August, according to preliminary figures released by the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office.
Nonetheless, the Key continues to top the list for collections so far during the 2010-11 fiscal year. The year’s final figures for September are expected by mid-November.
During August, Key businesses collected $189,086.81, compared to $250,224.88 for the city of Sarasota.
Altogether, the tourist tax revenue collected in August was $635,536.94. The total so far for the year is $10,849,707.24.
Although the tourist tax rose to 4.5% in May 2010 and to 5% this May, the Tax Collector’s Office provides comparisons at the 4% mark for three fiscal years — what Virginia Haley, president of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau, refers to as the “apples vs. apples” figures. Those numbers show the county tourist tax revenue for August at the 4% mark was higher this year, at $508,429.55, than the totals for the same month in 2009 and 2010.