Economic Development Report October- November 2022

All of our Economic  Development information is on Our Economic Development Reports can be found at

Our City and County conduct most of their economic development efforts through our Economic Development Corporation at 301 N Cattlemen Rd, #203, Sarasota, FL 34232. They are focusing on disaster relief for all the communities damaged by our recent storms. They have had many personnel changes in the past month and we will need to reintroduce ourselves, meet and work with the new personnel. 

The City of Sarasota also maintains an office for economic development.  Their programs are shown on the graphic below.  You can find out more about them on the link above.

We have made some progress on our book;


Sixty Years of Citizen Diplomacy

Thanks to all those who have contributed to the book. You can find the book on our Economic Development Site,, and at  Your review and recommendations for revision are welcome. I will turn it over to Miriam shortly for her review and improvement.  Our plan is to keep it online as a Google Document where it can be read and periodically revised as needed.

Beth and I have recently spent 50+ days in California, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii so my efforts in ecomomic development have been limited.  Our trip photos and report are at:

The following blogs were used by Sarasota Sister Cities.
Some of them are still in use today, others are of value
for the history of the organization.

Sister City Blogs

Sustainable Economic Development



Communication / Social Media


Hurricane Ian and Economic Recovery

Hurricane Ian has done great damage to Florida. The deaths of many people and the destruction of entire neighborhoods has been tragic. It will take years to repair the damage.

But it's an ill wind that blows no good. One outcome of the disaster is economic development.  The reconstruction of infrastructure and housing is a major economic stimulus.  Reconstruction is paid for by insurance, Federal and State borrowing and taxes, and investment by businesses and homeowners.  Our economy will be in overdrive for the next few years.

After the Storm banner navy gold

September 29, 2022

Hurricane Ian Update from the City of Sarasota

It’s been a rough few days but we made it through Hurricane Ian.  Based on preliminary assessments, damage to our community appears to be limited to a large number of downed trees, some downed utility lines and minor structural damage.  We have fared well and our hearts go out to our neighbors to the south as we see the catastrophic images on TV and internet. The City of Sarasota will offer assistance in whatever way we can to those communities in need.  A heartfelt thank you to our many employees representing every department who left their families during the storm to report to the Emergency Operations Center and coordinate our storm response and recovery. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

As we begin our recovery phase, we plan to resume regular City operations on Monday, Oct. 3, including the City Commission meeting at 9 a.m.

We anticipate residents have many questions after the storm and we’ll do our best to provide up to date information here.

Be safe!

Marlon Brown
City Manager

Tactical First in Teams

Tactical First in Teams have been hard at work

The Tactical First in Teams have been actively working all day to remove fallen trees and debris from the City of Sarasota roadways.


Damage assessment

When the winds died down, our Tactical First in Teams began initial assessments overnight and determined there are over 200 locations with some level of damage. Then early this morning, additional teams were dispatched to start cutting downed trees and clearing road hazards to ensure safe travel lanes. By all accounts, we were fortunate. Damage appears to be limited to numerous large trees and some utility lines. 

City assets

As far as City assets, the water and wastewater systems held up well with no problems at the lift stations.  Toppling trees caused multiple water line breaks, which Utilities crews are in the process of locating and repairing.  Prior to evacuations for the barrier islands, water was shut off Tuesday evening to protect the distribution system and resources.  Water was restored by 1 p.m. Thursday with a boil water advisory in effect for the barrier island until at least 1 p.m. Saturday.  All impacted customers have been notified.

The roof on the Payne Park Auditorium peeled back during the high winds and further assessment will be required.

Unlike previous years, the U.S. 41-Gulfstream Ave. roundabout construction area did not flood.  St. Armands and Lido Key stayed dry and appear to be in good condition.

Power outages

We’re unsure how extensive the power outages are within the city specifically, but as of midday Thursday, almost 192,000 customers in Sarasota County were without electricity.  Florida Power & Light and utility crews dispatched from many other states are working diligently to restore power. We do not have a timeline at this writing when restoration may occur in the city.

Customers can report power outages and check for updates from FPL at or call 1-800-4OUTAGE (800-468-8243). View FPL’s Power Tracker for a map of outages:

Report damage

City crews are already removing toppled trees in parks, streets and rights-of-way. To report a downed tree or other storm damage, please submit a service request via Click-2-Fix or call the following numbers and a crew will be dispatched to assess the situation.

  • Public Works:  Debris/downed trees: 941-263-6793 or after hours at 941-263-6450
  • Utilities:  Water main break - 941-263-6884

Please note:  The City will not remove trees on private property.

Also, if you need a police report if you or someone you know needs a police report for damage from Hurricane Ian within the City of Sarasota, you can request it through

Storm debris collection

During our Hurricane Ian preparations, we reached out to our storm debris contractors and ensured they would be in position and ready to begin operations following the storm. At this writing, we are working with contractors to establish a collection schedule. Please be patient. As soon as a schedule is established, we will share it here, on social media and the City’s website.

Until the contractor starts collecting, the City will pick up yard waste placed in bags or containers as part of regular waste collection. Piles of unbagged storm debris should be placed curbside for collection by the storm debris contractor in the near future.

Again, please be patient. Those who lived through Hurricane Irma five years ago may recall storm cleanup extended over several months due to the many impacted communities vying for limited resources.

Garbage collection

Thursday’s suspended trash, recycling and yard waste pickups will be collected Friday, Sept. 30.  Regularly scheduled Friday collections will be deferred to Saturday.

Trolley and e-scooters

Earlier this week, Veo, the City’s vendor that offers e-scooter and bicycle rentals, collected its vehicles from the streets in preparation for Hurricane Ian. When the roads are cleared, Veo will be notified that the vehicles can return.  Service for the Bay Runner, the City’s free trolley that goes between downtown and Lido Beach, will resume soon as well.

What's closed

City administrative offices will remain closed through Friday, Sept. 30. We plan to reopen for regular business on Monday, Oct. 3. A regular City Commission meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at City Hall.

An American Gypsy by John (Tom) Halbert

Sarasota MOAA Member John (Tom) Halbert has written an interesting book about his life and career.  Tom grew up in Iowa and served as both a pilot and a public affairs officer in the Air Force.

Tom’s skills resulted in being assigned to interviewing prominent persons including former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Iowa Governor William S. Beardsley and Mt. Everest conqueror Sir Edward Hillary. He was an Air Force advisor to many New York and Hollywood TV and movie productions working with the legendary including: CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite; NBC News Reporter Roy Neal; former Chicago Cubs first baseman Chuck Conners as the star of the Rifleman TV series; columnist Hedda Hopper, actress Joan Crawford; actor Jimmy Stewart, and producer Bernie Lay.

Tom amassed 5,000 flying hours in his career, gaining the Air Medal and the Bronze Star in combat. His expertise took him from base level assignments, to Headquarters Strategic Air Force Command and Air Force leadership in Air Force Public Affairs. Tom served eight years as the senior civilian in Air Force Public Affairs and later a 10 year tenure as executive manager of Armed Forces Radio & Television Europe.

In retirement Tom served as the President of Sarasota Sister Cities, leading it through a turbulent and challenging time.  He also served as President of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.

May 2021

Our Economic Development Reports can be found at

The unemployment rate for the Sarasota Bradenton metro area has dropped to 2.1%.  Good news for employees, bad news for businesses struggling to find workers.

In December 2021, the median price for a single-family home in Sarasota County was $435,788; in Manatee County, it was $460,00. The cost of housing has become a concern for our lower income service workers, and for the recruitment of employees from outside our metro area.

The following blogs were used by Sarasota Sister Cities.
Some of them are still in use today, others are of value
for the history of the organization.

Sister City Blogs

Sustainable Economic Development



Communication / Social Media