Sarasota News Leader


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CITY COMMISSION PREVIEW The organizer of the annual Chalk Festival in downtown Sarasota will be seeking city support again this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel TAX INCREASE, CHALK FESTIVAL, SIDEWALKS ON THE APRIL 15 AGENDA By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The Sarasota City Commissioners meet on Tax Day, Monday, April 15, to consider a full agenda. Up for discussion is an increase in the business tax, switching to mobility fees from road impact fees and a long list of changes in zoning text amendments. ary the commission repealed its old ordinance banning solicitation from people travelling in vehicles because of a possible constitutional challenge. The change brought homeless panhandlers with cardboard signs to the medians of the Panhandlers in the medians face a ban, and city's busiest and fastest intersections. Only the item "numbers junkies" have been wait- inches separate them from speeding tons of ing for — the annual audit of city finances — chrome and steel. shows only a tiny glitch. City Attorney Bob Fournier has drafted a more SOLICITATION BONANZA OVER SOON narrowly tailored ordinance to skirt the free speech problem, but it would still get panhanThe commissioners will try to unscramble an dlers out of the medians. almost certain recipe for disaster when they open a public hearing on a new ordinance to The ordinance also bans panhandling at a vaban solicitation along public roads. Last Janu- riety of locations, including bus stops, side-

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