SARASOTA -- Sarasota City Commissioners are considering mental health funding and money for programs for the homeless among the city's top priorities for the next legislative session.
At Monday's commission meeting, commissioners established the top legislative priorities for 2015 as public pension reform, funding for homelessness programs and mental health initiative programs, red light cameras and enterprise zones. After some revisions to the priorities, Commissioner Shannon Snyder asked that the priorities come back before the commission for a final approval at the Nov. 17 meeting.
A representative from the city commission will present the City of Sarasota's legislative priorities to the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation Hearing, which is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3 and will be from 9 a.m. to noon at the Sarasota County Administration Building.
"If we align ourselves with the Manasota League of Cities and Florida League (of Cities), we have a greater force," Mayor Willie Charles Shaw said. "We take ours and they take theirs (legislative prior
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ities) but we all have the same message."
On Monday, the city commissioners also approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to address improvements to the Bobby Jones Golf Course, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota, to remedy deterioration. The Bobby Jones Golf Club Study Committee would be made up of at least five citizen volunteers. Appointments to the committee will be made at the commissioner's first meeting in January and applications to be on the committee be accepted later this month.
At the meeting, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell asked that the committee's members be residents of the City of Sarasota and if there are not qualified people within the city, then could look outside the city into Sarasota and Manatee counties. The other commissioners approved the clarification.
"I think everyone is in agreement that the city is to retain control of the operation," Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said.
Sarasota resident Millie Small told the commissioners on Monday, "Let's keep it simple and do what needs to be done."
Sarasota resident Norman Dumaine said an ad hoc committee should be formed.
"I want it to become the best municipal golf course that it can be," Dumaine said. "We are all invested in the success of Bobby Jones (Golf Course)."
Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.