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City Hall
1565 First Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2012


Sarasota, FL: The City of Sarasota is pleased to announce its Top Ten Department updates for January 2012:

Human Resources
Calendar year 2011 medical claim trends yield the following:

o Active employee medical claims averaged $110,555/week. Active employees and their dependents comprise approximately 60% of our covered members.
o Retiree medical claims averaged $112,507/week. Retirees and their dependents comprise approximately 40% of our covered members.
o During the last half of 2011, active employee claims have stabilized. A factor impacting this stabilization is the active employee use of the Employee Health Center. Eighty-five percent (85%) of our active employees have utilized the health center in the 1st 9 months of its operation.
o Retiree claims have continued to escalate. To date only 17% of our eligible retiree have used the health center.
o We are exploring means to increase the retiree utilization and alternatives should retiree utilization remain low.
o While ongoing cost containment remains a concern, it’s important to note that the $11.6 million in 2011 medical claims is still less than we experienced in 2009, indicating that the plan changes incorporated in calendar year 2010 have slowed the tide of the City’s medical cost inflation from the previous 9.9% per year prior growth rate.

The Commission has been presented with options for the City Manager recruitment. It is anticipated that this will be a discussion item at a subsequent Commission meeting. Once initiated recruitment is anticipated to take 4-6 months.

Human Resources assisted in facilitating the Commission’s bi-annual goal setting retreat. Goals established here will be utilized in the budgeting process for FY 2013 and FY 2014.

As of January 1st Mary Tucker became President of the Sarasota Bay Chapter of National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) for Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The NIGP focuses on developing, supporting and promoting the public procurement profession through premier educational and research programs, professional support, technical services and advocacy initiatives that benefit members and constituents since 1944. With over 2,600 member agencies representing over 16,000 professionals across the United States, Canada and countries outside of North America, the Institute is international in its reach.

David Boswell, Assistant Manager of Purchasing, received his Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) national certification. Obtaining a Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) designation demonstrates a standard of competency in the public procurement profession. A CPPO designation indicates to the public that, having mastered a body of knowledge, one can make sound decisions that reflect maximum value for the taxpayer's dollar. The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC), the issuer of the CPPO designation, is accredited by the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management. Many local and state governments formally recognize the CPPO designation as meaningful standards for employment and advancement of public procurement personnel.

At their January 6, 2012 meeting, the Government Finance Officers Association for the State of Florida (FGFOA), which Chris Lyons currently serves as President, has begun the planning for its School of Government Finance that will be held in Sarasota during November. This event will bring government finance professionals from around the State to the Hyatt for a week of training and hopefully spending sizable amounts of cash within the City.

Neighborhood Development Services
Public Art – The second cycle of the Showcases Public Art project is now officially underway with the opening of the “New Deal Gallery” in the Federal Building. This program invites six local artists to display their art in one of the City’s Public Buildings for a quarter of the year. There is no cost to the City and no charge to the artist to participate in the Showcases program. To celebrate the opening of the “New Deal Gallery” exhibit, an Artists Reception was held at the Federal Building on Friday evening January 27th. The public was welcome to attend the first exhibit and light refreshments were served. Hopefully, building on this successful effort in the Federal Building, other City Buildings can be included in the Showcases program in the near future.

FREE Business Workshops in North Sarasota – The Kick-off to a series of four Free Business lunch time workshops began on Wednesday, January 19, at the new “Hive” – Business Resource Center, located at 2714 N. Osprey (next to the Newtown SCTI Campus). The topic for the workshop was “Understanding Your Credit” which focused on the importance of building and monitoring your credit, knowing the functions of the credit bureaus, and how your score can affect your business. The workshop is a partnership between the Newtown Redevelopment Office and State College of Florida’s (SCF) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and is taught by Carolyn Griffin of SCF. The workshops are a continued effort of the North Sarasota Entrepreneur Collaborative (NSEC) to meet the needs of existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. The next workshop, “Legal Structures of Business” will be Wednesday, February 16th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

North Sarasota Community Continues to Support the District One Community Forums – On Thursday, January 12, Commissioner Willie C. Shaw held his third District One Community Forum as part of his quarterly updates regarding North Sarasota projects and community concerns. The forum took place at Pines of Sarasota and consisted of presentations ranging from Community Policing, NSP Grants, Youth Empowerment, North Trail Redevelopment Partnership, North Sarasota Workforce Initiatives, Business Assistance Programs, 17th and Orange Drainage, North Sarasota Public Library and an update by Manatee County Rural Health Services regarding the potential development on the Marian Anderson Place site. With roughly 100 people in attendance, from different sectors of the community including neighborhood associations throughout District One, many attendees expressed their ongoing support and satisfaction with the community-wide forums. The next District One Forum is scheduled for March 8, 2012 at Harvest Tabernacle.

The Sarasota Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit has been investigating cases in which six individuals were charged with sex offenses on a 17-yr-old victim. The State prosecuted Charles Simmons on a capital sexual battery charge that occurred 10 years ago in the county involving this same victim. SPD Detective Halpin and SPD Officer J.D. Miller testified at that trial and spoke about the six arrests that our agency affected after the judge ruled that they were relevant. As a result, Charles Simmons was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on 1/24/12.

Public Works Department
THE GET ENERGY SMART PROGRAM – We will be closing out this program with Dwell Green the end of this month. We are at 98% of $85,000 in funds expended which has produced over $350,000 in projects.

Bobby Jones Golf Course – Notification has been received that Bobby Jones Golf Course was once again voted the Best Public/Semi-Private Golf Course in the Sarasota Herald Tribune’ s 2011 Reader’s Choice awards, making it 16 years of receiving this recognition.

Bobby Jones Golf Course – Is currently looking for a new restaurant vendor. A RFP is on schedule to be released by the end of January with an anticipation of having a vendor chosen by mid-March. The agreement with the current vendor, Mulligan’s Grille, ends on March 31st.

Public Works Utilities
As per the suggestion made by Commissioner Snyder, our customer bills have been updated to include a “QR Code” (aka Smart Phone Code). Scanning the code automatically takes customers to our City Website where they can receive current news and information on City programs, and they can even pay their water bill online. The use of QR Codes, typically for marketing and outreach to consumers, has grown over 5000% since January of 2010!!

The Verna Well Field Aeration Rehabilitation Project has recently begun construction. The project will upgrade the aeration basin, which removes unwanted natural occurring gases from the raw water, such as hydrogen-sulfide. Benefits of this project include: improved taste and odor of our potable water and chemical consumption reduction. The project will take six months to complete. Customers should not notice any difference in their drinking water during the project.

Van Wezel
As of January 24th the Van Wezel has sold 11,817 more tickets and $902,657 more than last year at this time.

Over 500 patrons enjoyed a New Year’s Eve Party hosted by Mattison’s in the Grand Foyer and on the bay front by the Hall complete with fireworks. On New Year’s Day the Van Wezel continued its long standing tradition of ringing in the New Year with a performance of Salute to Vienna.

The Van Wezel hosted two family nights this month one at Step Afrika and the other at Blast! At a family night an adult purchases a ticket and gets to bring a student for free which encourages new audiences to the theatre. After the show refreshments are present in the Grand Foyer (hosted by a number of sponsors) and get to meet with members of the cast, ask questions and sign autographs. These events draw patrons of all ages and are extremely popular!

For more information contact Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown: 941-954-4102

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