The Smallest Sliver of Pie

Guest Correspondence

BY PAUL CARAGIULO SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY NOV 2, 2019

Thanksgiving is upon us, so perhaps now is an appropriate time for the community to reflect on just how much we should be thankful for. Imagine that we are all sitting at the table together as any large family might do. The meal is representative of the abundance that the community enjoys. You are sitting with a mix of people some you love, some you don’t, some you like, some you don’t particularly like and some you don’t have an opinion about because it’s their first Thanksgiving Dinner. You are done with dinner, dessert and whatever else then someone places a small piece of pie on the table and it’s all out war. In Sarasota that’s sounds a lot like a discussion/debate about growth in our urban area. We love to fight over a small area.

Sarasota County consists of 556 square miles of land. The City of Sarasota makes up 14 of those square miles. If we tighten our boundaries into our urban core where currently buildings of either 10 and or perhaps an 18-story building may be constructed, we are now talking about an area which is barely over one half of a square mile. These areas are identified by their respective zoning districts, DTC (Downtown Core) and DTB (Downtown Bayfront). The two zoning districts make up only 0.01% of the land in the county. What’s more, I would bet at least 20% of that area is publicly owned not including roads and public right of way. Yes, the piece of pie we are often fighting over is that ridiculously small.

Check it out for yourself: look at Pie Chart A. Is that yellow part hard to see or what?  Don’t stare too long, it’s bad for your eyes, if you can’t see it, don’t worry, trust me it’s there. Did I mention the area is small?

On the other hand, property tax revenue, one of the many ways public services are paid for, is driven by taxable value. This does not include fire service or stormwater, that’s additional. Pie Chart B represents the taxable value from the same geographical area however, the yellow portion is hard not to see. If you can’t see it than perhaps maybe you should worry a little bit.  

Ever hear the complaint that growth is not paying “for itself”? Well there is literally some truth to that, because this growth is and has been paying for a lot more than just “itself.” The truth is, there are many in the community outside of that area that are benefitting tremendously.

Enough about percentages for a minute let’s talk about the real dollars coming from this sliver of pie, 40 million of them to be clear, a huge amount. Just for an example this includes over $17 million dollars of the $379 million that the School Board receives from property taxes, yet I would be surprised if more than a handful of school kids lived within the area we are talking about. Just the VUE alone sends $1.4 million into our schools. Funny, I never saw that on a STOP flyer.

Growth, or no growth? And if so where and how much? Well, if we are looking for the best ROI, I think I know the place. This area is exactly where investment should be both welcome and encouraged in our community.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Paul Caragiulo is a former Sarasota city and county commissioner.

« View The Saturday Nov 2, 2019 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

Sarasota Schools Formally Approve Bowden Severance

The Sarasota School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a severance agreement with Superintendent Todd Bowden. The embattled district leader will stay on payroll through the end of the year, but remains on administrative leave. But school officials say they are in

Jacob Ogles | Nov 20, 2019

Sarasota County Approves Controversial Redistricting Map

Sarasota County Approves Controversial Redistricting Map

Jacob Ogles | Nov 20, 2019

Nearly $173,000 Raised During Walk to End Alzheimer's in Sarasota

Nearly $173,000 Raised During Walk to End Alzheimer's in Sarasota

Nov 20, 2019

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County empowers teens to plan for future careers at the Tom and Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County empowers teens to plan for future careers at the Tom and Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center

Nov 20, 2019