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SRQ Daily Jul 22, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Smart growth and vibrant cities are a boon to all. It is why policy makers at all levels of government should partner and collaborate to support and invest in strong and vibrant cities. "

- Tom Barwin, City of Sarasota

[Under The Hood]  Sarasota's Chance to Get on TV
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

What will the debut of Siesta Key mean for the area’s on-screen reputation? In my opinion, too much hand-wringing has occurred thus far about the potential Snookification of America’s greatest white sand beach, but that shows too little faith in our tourist leaders for promoting tony Sarasota as a luxury destination. In contrast, too little attention has been paid to what impact a series set and shot in Sarasota and broadcast on a cable network with some reach and history could mean for the region as a film destination.

A look at trailers shows that, beyond the pretty 20-somethings dreaming of Lauren Conrad-level fame, the region boasts gorgeous waters, blue skies and a sort of greenery just as lush yet entirely different than any of Southern California’s many environments. Directors and cinematographers from around the country, already familiar with Sarasota for its beloved-by-directors film festival, will be able to see snippets of the Siesta Key show and imagine the stories in their own heads playing out with a Gulf Coast backdrop.

This should all be greeted as good news for those of us who’ve long seen Florida’s potential as a filmmaking destination but have been frustrated as the industry turned Atlanta into the Hollywood of the South. Honestly, other than zombies and Confederate monuments, what’s Georgia got that can’t be found in the Sunshine State?

I guess that question can’t be asked rhetorically. Georgia notably offers tremendous incentives to filmmakers who shoot movies in the Peach State, enough of a financial incentive that Ben Affleck and company, when shooting the independent film Live By Night, notoriously decided it would be cheaper to rebuild Ybor City 270 miles to the north than to go through the needed effort to shoot in Tampa Bay. Georgia incentives cover 30 percent of all monies actually spent in the Peach State while the State of Florida decided a couple years ago to stop offering any incentives at all.

But incentives only tell part of the story. Florida, especially with locations outside Miami, hasn’t historically offered much in terms of soundstage environments, camera rigging, editing bays or the litany of services directors want at the ready to deal with challenges foreseen and unpredictable. This is why Claws, a TNT series set in Palmetto, did some location shooting here but the bulk of indoor work in Louisiana.

Through the years, entities like Ringling College of Art & Design worked to provide that sort of infrastructure here for their own students and filmmakers in the community.  And Sarasota County offers some local incentives for film, even if it pales to state funding in Georgia.

Jeanne Corcoran, director of the Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office, notes that Siesta Key, a reality show, lives primarily outside of soundstage environments but still want to know resources are available.

“Productions factor in knowing there is infrastructure nearby where cover sets could be built in case of rain, overcast or just plain foul weather, where controlled audio in a studio environment can be created, dialogue looped or redone for clarity, special effects and sound effects peppered in, certain scenes staged that require complete control of lighting and sound and other environmental issues that only stages provide, etc.,” she says.

On that front, knowing a high-gloss show like Siesta Key can be shot on the Gulf Coast signals the entire filmmaking world that this is comfortable place to do business. It’s why Reality TV remains a target genre for Corcoran when she tries to attract productions to the region.

Through that lens, there’s little negative to say about Siesta Key.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

Image courtesy MTV

[City Government]  Vibrant Cities - A Boon to Our Region
Tom Barwin, Thomas.Barwin@sarasotagov.com

For those who think about preserving local agriculture, forests and open space while enjoying the benefits of a strong economy and a wide variety of cultural attractions and events, the positive role our cities play quickly comes into focus.

Strong cities generally provide the economic, employment, entertainment, healthcare and higher education foundation necessary for a region and its residents to flourish. 

With higher residential and business densities, well-planned and well-managed cities provide the region with a strong tax base to pay for governmental services and play an equally critical role in minimizing sprawl for all who value nature and may prefer to live in more rural areas. 

The City of Sarasota is a good example of what I am talking about.

For example, the City of Sarasota makes up only 3 percent of all the land in the County.  However, when it comes to the tax base, the City of Sarasota delivers about 17.5 percent of the county tax base, which greatly benefits each regional taxing authority. In dollar terms, the city tax base generates an estimated extra $5 million in property taxes to the county coffers each year.

Another example of the power of strong cities is the tourist tax. Again, although just 3 percent of the land and 13.5 percent of the residents, over $6 million, or 30 percent of this $20-million countywide revenue source, was raised in the City of Sarasota last year. Here again the strength of the City tax base amounts to an extra $3.3 million annually (when averaged against population) to fund regional activities and marketing.

The sales tax information repeats the same story. Of the $456 million raised in sales taxes from within the county last year, 25 percent of it, well over $100 million of the total was raised from commerce within the city. Unfortunately, only a small portion is returned to local government by the state. What is returned is redistributed back to local governments based on a formula that is primarily based on population. Many local governments get back more shared sales tax revenues from the pooled funds than they raise, thanks to vibrant cities like Sarasota.

This data helps demonstrate the key roles strong cities play in helping finance basic governmental operations throughout the county.

Smart growth and vibrant cities are a boon to all. It is why policy makers at all levels of government should partner and collaborate to support and invest in strong and vibrant cities.  

If business or economic terminology were applied to Sarasota we would be called a cash cow to the greater region. Good economics, good business, good planning all require that policy makers both understand this and not take it for granted.

Sarasota’s impressive contributions to the region are the result of the economic investments and tax base building tools and strategies policy makers have embraced for the past 30 years. Those investments have been paying great dividends to the region for years, but like any good, sustainable business we must never rest on our laurels, or take a good product for granted.

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s column. As always, your comments on this or any subject are welcome to thomas.barwin@sarasotaFL.gov.  

[Letter from Bob Spicer]  Big Pass Dredge Affects All Greater Sarasota

The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed to the City of Sarasota dredging Big Pass as the only solution to get sand to re-nourish Lido Beach. Lido Beach continues to erode and needs sand immediately—especially to protect against this year’s tropical storm and hurricane season.

The Army Corps proposal consists of dredging a 13-feet-deep-by-500-feet-wide-by-2-mile-long channel to be dug through Big Pass as well as dredging the surface of the shoals that are currently protecting the mouth of Big Pass from storm waves that could otherwise impact South Lido Key, South Bird Key and North Siesta Key.

Although Lido Key only needs 500,000 cubic yards of sand to re-nourish their beach, the Army Corp of Engineers plans to dredge over 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass that they plan to  take every five years for the next 50 years. This is sand equivalent to the full width of Interstate-75 (including median)—10 feet deep, from University Parkway to Fruitville Road. That’s more than an entire Empire State Building full of sand.

The earliest the dredging can occur is 2018, because no money has even been allocated yet and has to be proposed in the Federal Budget to try and get a 60-percent supplement to pay for the dredging costs. Lido Beach could be gone by then.  Lido Beach can get sand tomorrow at little to no cost to them from New Pass, which is currently closed to navigation because of dredging, due to too much sand in the pass. Other immediate, low cost sand sources are within the area.

If the Army Corps is allowed to dredge Big Pass, it will have a devastating effect on storm wave action,  (50 percent increase in wave height), tourism, ($2.8 billion annually in this area), destruction of fish, mammals, wildlife and recreational activities—not to mention the loss of our natural state park for boaters and beach goers—at Big Pass. 

In wave action alone, a 3-foot storm wave will now be over a 5-foot wave, which would result in  nearly an 80-percent increase in destructive wave energy. This will affect South Lido Key, Southwest Bird Key, North Siesta Key and, if the storm is large enough, the downtown City of Sarasota .

This is not a Siesta Key vs. Lido Key issue. All of the Greater Sarasota area will be affected with the dredging of Big Pass.

Lido residents plan on using a taxpayer bailout, using taxpayer dollars to fund the re-nourishment of their beach.

Lido Key luxury property owners want the taxpayers to pay to put sand on their private luxury gulf front resorts at a cost to taxpayers of over $200 million (estimated).

Lido Key luxury property investors will pay nothing in personal costs. They want taxpayers to pay to do it 10 times over the next 50 years.

The public cannot access those beaches. They’re private luxury resorts owned by investors. These properties are worth more than $680 million and owners don’t want to pay anything to nourish their private beaches for 50 years.

Nearly all other beach re-nourishments in our area were completed with resident taxpayers footing the bill.

In 2016, Sarasota County re-nourished Turtle Beach at a total cost of $21.5 million.  The State of Florida provided a grant and Sarasota County utilized Tourist Taxes aggregating $18 million to fund the cost of re-nourishing the public waterfront property owned by Sarasota County.  Siesta Key waterfront property owners along Turtle Beach, most of whom are permanent Siesta Key residents, will pay the remaining $3.5 million over the next seven years. The Siesta Key property owners get no guarantee. In 2007 they also had to pay to have Turtle Beach re-nourished.  If there is a storm and the beach needs to be re-nourished again, they will pay again.

Long Boat Key re-nourishes their beach using sand from New Pass and Long Boat Pass. They have also transported sand from Bradenton Beach in the past. Longboat then levies taxes to the property owners for regular beach renewal.

Why not harvest 500,000 cubic yards of sand from New Pass now?

Bob Spicer is a board member for the Siesta Key Association. 

[[SCOOP]]  Help Lighthouse of Manasota 'Fill the Frog'

Lighthouse of Manasota is a not for profit that has taken great initiative to assist those in the Sarasota community with limited to extreme vision impairments. Their retail store, Peepers, offers high quality vision assisting tools including magnifiers, talking watches and speed dots for your phone. However,  Lighthouse of Manasota’s greatest community support system is their staff who work directly with vision-impaired individuals in the area so they may continue to live successfully independent lives. To ensure everyone with vision difficulties in the community can be helped through Peepers, Lighthouse of Manasota wants to employ an Outreach Coordinator. They have already raised $12,500, and If they can fundraise another $10,000 by December, Manatee Matches Giving Circle of the Manatee Community Foundation will match it. Donations can be made directly through their website so help them fill up Peepers the frog and support the visually impaired community!  

Lighthouse of Manasota

[[KUDOS]]  PMP Awarded Tourist Development Cultural Arts Grant

The Perlman Music Program Suncoast is delighted to announce the approval of a Tourist Development Cultural Arts grant from The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. These funds will help support performances by alumni of The Perlman Music Program at various cultural institutions throughout Sarasota County for the 2017-2018 season, as well as the annual Celebration Concert held each January at the Sarasota Opera House. Every year, PMP Suncoast brings PMP alumni to the area to perform for local and visiting audiences. "We are so excited to be able to continue our efforts to bring quality performances by extraordinary young musicians to new and existing classical music audiences," said Elizabeth Power, Executive Director of PMP Suncoast." Funding from TDCA means that PMP alumni will perform for audiences at some of the most iconic institutions in Sarasota." 

Perlman Music Program Suncoast

[[SCOOP]]  Williams Parker Adds Trusts And Estates Associate

Colton F. Castro has joined the Williams Parker team, fosucing on estate planning and estate and trust administration. He received an LL.M. in Taxation, his J.D. and B.A., and an Estate Planning certificate from the University of Florida. Williams Parker has one of Florida’s largest and most sophisticated estate planning and administration practices. Typically, its practitioners have at least one advanced degree in taxation, accounting, or business, and typically have an LL.M. in tax. Many of the firm’s practitioners are also certified by The Florida Bar as specialists in wills, trusts, and estates law or tax law. The firm’s estates and trusts attorneys are regularly engaged to provide the legal framework to address business succession, estate planning, tax planning, and retirement planning goals as part of the smooth transition of clients’ businesses and estates to future owners and beneficiaries. 

Williams Parker

[[SCOOP]]  SBPO Issues Request For Qualifications

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to solicit a design team that will lead the creation of a comprehensive master plan for a 42-acre, City-owned parcel of land at the heart of Sarasota’s Bayfront. The RFQ invites best-in-class design teams to submit their qualifications to lead a comprehensive master planning process for the site. Design teams will have eight weeks to prepare their RFQ responses for consideration. A shortlist of finalist teams will be announced by mid-September and shortlisted teams will meet in Sarasota for interviews in October during a set of open work sessions or charrettes, with the SBPO. A finalist team will be announced in November, with the master planning process commencing shortly thereafter. The SBPO has engaged HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading economic development and public policy consulting firm, to facilitate the design team selection process. 

Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization

[[KUDOS]]  SMH Earns NICHE Designation for Efforts to Improve Care for Older Adults

Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 15 years, when the last Boomer is due to reach retirement age. In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region, there are twice as many people over age 65 as the national average, which is why becoming a NICHE hospital is so important, said Sarasota Memorial’s Advanced Practice Geriatric Nurse Karen Reynolds, DNP. NICHE, which stands for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders, is a special designation awarded to hospitals implementing system-wide interventions and initiatives that promote excellent outcomes in patients 65 and older. Sarasota Memorial is one of 766 hospitals internationally that has earned the designation. Participation in the prestigious NICHE program confirms Sarasota Memorial’s commitment to achieve the best possible outcomes for older patients through evidence-based, age-sensitive nursing care and comprehensive support for families and caregivers. Approximately 63 percent of SMH’s inpatient admissions are 65 years and older. 

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare

[SCOOP ]  Goodwill Manasota Assumes Management Role at The McKay Academy

Ave Maria Preparatory School is undergoing major changes with a new name and partnership with Goodwill Manasota. Now known as, The McKay Academy, school serves youths from elementary through high school with conditions including autism, attention deficit disorder, Asperger's, Tourette syndrome, and bipolar disorders. Goodwill, who has long been committed to advocating on behalf of and employing individuals with disabilities will assume the business management role for the school. More than 12 percent of Goodwill Manasota’s 800-employee workforce has some type of disability; 80 percent have some kind of barrier to self-sufficiency. 

Goodwill Manasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Jacob Ogles. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising, please contact Ashley Ryan at 941-365-7702 x211 or at her contact page. To unsubscribe, please click here.

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