SARASOTA — When Sarasota County commissioners meet Tuesday and Wednesday, three pressing issues will command their attention.
On Tuesday afternoon, county staff will lead commissioners in a discussion of transportation-related initiatives including roadway planning, paving and the advanced transportation management system.
The latter item will include a discussion of the county’s center as well as a joint endeavor with Manatee County.
Setting the stage for the discussion, staff will lead off with a presentation about current trends in transportation including the increasing interest in electric and automated vehicles.
Another trend impacting transportation planning is the gradual southern drift of the population center of the county.
In 1950, the population center was just south of the Sarasota city limits. By 2010 that center had moved to due east of what appears to be the Osprey area. Projections for 2040 show the center due north of the Venice city limits close to Interstate 75.
The movement of that population center has impacts on how the county plans for the movement of people on the county’s transportation system.
Related to the transportation discussion, on Wednesday, commissioners will discuss the transit system known as Sarasota County Area Transit.
This discussion comes after commissioners in March canceled a request for proposals regarding a potential privatization of the county’s bus system, and asked for a review and discussion with a technical adviser.
That discussion will cover revenues and costs for SCAT, examples of route performance, what other communities are doing in terms of innovation, and conclude with the question of what the county could be doing.
That part of the discussion may consider options available to make the system, which is a huge drain on the county’s general fund, successful.
Finally, on Wednesday, commissioners will return to the hot-button issue of redistricting.
Raised by Commissioner Nancy Detert in February, commissioners have expressed an interest in revising the boundaries of their individual commission districts in advance of the 2020 general election.
Without sound data, commissioners have a general feeling that there are great variances in the population within each district. During their May 8 meeting, they requested that staff, using a county software program, perform, take a quick dive into current population estimates.
That research, according to county documents, indicates that District 2 has the lowest population at 79,915 people, with District 5 having the highest population at 87,525 people.
The other three districts have population estimates between 80,700 and 87,100 people.
With that information in hand, commissioners will consider whether they wish to move forward with redistricting or drop it until after the conclusion of the 2020 Census.
Commissioners will meet Tuesday and Wednesday in commission chambers at the County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. The meetings will begin at 9 a.m. both days.
Access Sarasota TV will also televise the meetings, and the agendas are available at www.scgov.net by clicking on Meetings and Agendas under the Services A-Z tab. For more information, residents can also call the county’s Call Center at 941-861-5000.