Siesta Key Community Election 2022 Notes

Siesta Key Community realizes the importance of ensuring the right candidate gets elected to ensure the protection of our island. The following are our notes on select local officials that have a direct impact on Siesta Key. We recommend strongly doing your research before you make a decision. 
Who will be best for Siesta Key?
​State Representative District 73 - Fiona McFarland

Why Rep. Fiona McFarland? Representative Fiona McFarland was the only state representative in our area that supported Siesta Key's Incorporation efforts. We believe she will continue to support Siesta Key in the future.

County Commissioner District 2 - Dem. Fred Atkins or RINO Mark Smith?

  • Who are the major contributors to their political campaigns? Fred Atkins is not funded by developers. His opponent, Mark Smith, has been supported by developers including three out of the four mega hotel developers on Siesta Key. The link to the SOE finance page shows the contributions to campaigns.

​​

  • What are the Candidates' positions on Mega Hotels for Siesta Key? According to the responses to the Siesta Sand's recent interview (Link to Siesta Sand interview with candidates) 'Do you support the new high-rise hotels on Siesta Key?'

  • Fred Atkins stated​ "I oppose high-rise hotels being built on Siesta Key. Not only does it threaten the character of the Key, but it also exacerbates the traffic concerns on the island."

  • Mark Smith stated "No, As a member of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, I wrote a text amendment to the Unified Development Code that would allow boutique hotels at 52 units per acre and be no taller than neighboring Residential Multiple Family properties. The mega hotel in Siesta Village will have 170 rooms, 175 units per acre, and will be 95 feet tall. Under our text amendment, the boutique hotel would have 50 rooms on that site."

    • SKC note: To double the hotel density as per Mark's and the Chamber's proposal, the County will need to eliminate Siesta Key's current legal protections. Our growth laws state the maximum density is 26 units per acre.  That's it.  No more density!  Mark's proposal will increase the intensity and density of our island.

County Commissioner District 4 - Dem. Daniel Kuether or Rep. Joe Nuender?

  • Who are the major contributors to their campaigns? Daniel Kuether is not funded by developers.  Joe Nuender, has been supported by developers including Benderson and Pat Neal. The link to the SOE finance page shows the contributions to campaigns.

​​

  • What are the candidates' positions on Mega Hotels for Siesta Key? According to the responses to the Siesta Sand recent interview (Link to Siesta Sand interview with candidates)  'Do you support the new high-rise hotels on Siesta Key?'

 

  • Daniel Kuether stated "No, I do not support the new high-rise hotels on Siesta Key, as I believe they are being pushed by the current commissioners when they are not a proper fit. There is a significant lack of foresight in these plans. Not only do the density projections contradict the comprehensive plan, but there is no real strategy to mitigate the effects on traffic, the additional beachgoers, and the lasting change to Siesta Key’s character. We must take a big step back, listen to citizens’ interests, and evaluate the needs of our community."

  • Joe Nuender stated "If you’re asking if there should be more than those already approved, I think that is and would be, a heavy lift on the part of the applicant. I would have to be convinced. As far as the ones already approved, they are in litigation, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment while that is pending as I would be a defendant in at least two of the lawsuits when elected."

 

After reading those and other answers to the questions posed by Siesta Sand, it's may become obvious to you that a couple of the candidates are concerned about Siesta Key and others are not. 

Vote-button-v1.jpg

Ballot Amendments

No. 1  -  Limitation on Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property's resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.  Yes or No

 

Summary: Would prevent properties’ assessed values from going up because of improvements aimed at combating flooding.  Homeowners can elevate or improve their homes without increasing their taxes due to higher assessed values.

Proposed by:    State Legislature

Supported by:   Florida Tax Watch

Opposed by:     None

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota, Democrat Party of Sarasota

 

No. 2 -  Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a method of submitting proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution to electors of the state for approval. This amendment does not affect the ability to revise or amend the State Constitution through citizen initiative, constitutional convention, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, or legislative joint resolution.   Yes or No

 

Summary: Would repeal the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel that meets every 20 years and has the power to propose ballot measures. Citizens voted to create the CRC in 1968.

Proposed by:   State Legislature

 Supported by:   Florida Tax Watch

Opposed by:   League of Women Voters, Democrat Party of Sarasota, Sarasota Observer Newspaper

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota

No. 3. - Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Specified Critical Public Services Workforce

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023. Yes or No

 

Summary: Would expand the homestead property-tax exemption for teachers, first responders and military members.  Does not apply to school taxes.  Would be an additional exemption above standard.

Proposed by:   State Legislature

Supported by:  Florida Tax Watch, Florida Realtors

Opposed by:  League of Women Voters (No tax should be in Fl Constitution), Democrat Party of Sarasota

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota​

Sarasota County Ballot Amendments

 

Sales Tax Continuation – Continues Funding for local improvements through renewal of one-cent sales tax: Maintains Citizen Oversight Committee

To improve public safety, protect water quality and the environment, reduce traffic congestion, and fund projects relating to local schools, parks, libraries, and other community needs, should the current one-cent sales tax, paid by visitors and residents, be continued through December 31, 2039.  The Citizen Tax Oversight Committees will continue to oversee all expenditures and a 4/5th vote of the County Commission is required to modify county projects or allocations.

Yes or No for the 1 cent sales tax

 

Summary: Voters approved an additional 1%  for a total of 7% sales tax 30 years ago. This extra one percent tax is set to expire. The County Commissioners proposed extending the additional sales tax to pay for select government projects

Proposed by:  Sarasota County Commissioners

Supported by:  Common Sense for Sarasota County PAC[

Opposed by:   TBA

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota, Democrat Party of Sarasota

 

County Bonds - Accelerate Community Projects through issuance of voter- approved one cent Sales Tax Bonds.  

To reduce inflation costs and accelerate projects funded by one-cent sales tax proceeds, shall Sarasota County be authorized to issue bonds payable from such proceeds in a total principal amount not to exceed four hundred million dollars, maturing by December 31, 2039 bearing interest not to exceed maximum lawful rate, in addition to bonds issued within the limitations of section 5.2D of the Charter? Bonds are dependent on approval of one-cent sales tax renewal above.    Yes for or No against the Bonds.

 

Summary:  Instead of waiting for sales tax revenue funds to be generated to pay for government projects, the County will issue bonds for a total of $400 million not including interest to be paid to bond holders.

Proposed by:  Sarasota County Commissioners

Supported by:  Sarasota County Commissioners

Opposed by:  TBA

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota, Democrat Party of Sarasota

 

County Charter Amendments

 

Question One: Charter Amendment to Amend Section 7.1 Charter Petition Procedures Charter Amendment to Amend Section 7.1 Charter Petition Procedures

Shall the Charter be revised to add requirements for a petition form, legal sufficiency review, fiscal impact statement, and a presentation to the Charter Review Board for all charter amendment petitions, as well as requiring 10% of registered voters from each district to sign the petition rather than 10% of registered voters countywide?

Yes or No for the Charter amendment

 

Summary: County Commissioners want to increase the requirements for citizens to propose changes to the local constitution (County Charter).  Additional regulations include changes to the petition form, having the County attorney instead of the courts determine legal sufficiency, and adding a fiscal impact statement.  The new regulations apply only to citizen petitions and not to County government proposed amendments.

Proposed by:  Sarasota County Commissioners

Supported by: Sarasota County Commissioners

Opposed by:   Republican Liberty Caucus of Sarasota

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota, Democrat Party of Sarasota

 

Question Two:  Charter Amendment to avoid Charter Amendments conflicts with the Constitution, General Law or the Charter

Shall the Charter be amended to clarify that proposed Charter Amendments shall not conflict with the Florida Constitution, general law or the Charter?       Yes or No for the Charter Amendment

 

Summary: Although the County Charter already requires amendments to not conflict with the Florida Constitution and general law, the County Commissioners added a new requirement to not conflict within itself making it impossible for Citizens to add or change the charter by petition.

Proposed by:  Sarasota County Commissioners

Supported by: Sarasota County Commissioners

Opposed by:   Republican Liberty Caucus of Sarasota

No Position:  Republican Party of Sarasota, Democrat Party of Sarasota

Links to References

Printable copy of Ballot Amendments review

PDF version

​​

​​

​​

  • Florida Tax Watch 

Voter Guide

  • County Surtax: Penny for improvments PAC website

Pennyforimprovements.com

  • County Charter Amendment (last two amendments on ballot)

    • Sarasota Magazine, "Local officials want to make it harder for Citizens to change the County Charter" article​

  • Sarasota News Leader,  "Characterizing their responsibility in the situation as a ministerial one, county commissioners approve placing Charter Review Board amendments on Nov. 8 General Election ballot." opinion