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Local delegation to decide fate of Siesta Key incorporation

Sarasota County legislatures will vote on Siesta Key incorporation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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  • | 1:46 p.m. January 3, 2022
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Sarasota County legislators will decide on whether or not to refer Siesta Key incorporation request to the full state legislature at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Sarasota County Administration Building.

A yes vote will propel the issue to Tallahassee for consideration and a potential vote to enable an election on the topic for Siesta Key residents. A no vote likely will kill the request.

Proponents of incorporation, many of whom are represented by Save Siesta Key, have expressed a desire to break away from county rule for planning, zoning and code enforcement decisions, but maintain other essential services provided by the county. 

Two lawsuits have been filed against Sarasota County by Siesta Key residents regarding the approval of new, large hotel projects. Incorporation would require a new tax though, which could be a tough sell to the legislators. 

"No new taxes, no tax increases and no growing government," Rep. Tommy Gregory, who represents District 73 in Sarasota and Manatee counties, said at a town hall meeting in December. "That’s what I believe. It’s taxes, and it’s growing government by default.  Now, I know that’s not the intention. You’ve made your intentions that are pure, very understandable and compelling."

In September, Save Siesta Key delivered to state authorities the required feasibility study that included a provision for $3.7 million budget from a municipal tax rate of .25 mills, which translates into less than $100 on property with a taxable value of $460,000. 

Harry Anand, a member of the board of directors of Save Siesta Key, said his group’s feasibility study for incorporation was well received in Tallahassee and urged the delegation to take it at face value. 

"This is not about big government, this is about the right government," he said at the town hall meeting. "This is about honoring the right to self-determination by all of you. True conservatism is driven by the love of what you have but at the same time tempered by the fear that it can all disappear. That’s why we’re all here."



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