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Sarasota News Leader September 21, 2012 — utility revenues were up 7.6% over pro- jections. Gas tax revenue was down 4% for the fiscal year through August. Budget projections had put the total at about $15.1 million, but collections were about $14.5 million. "There's some good news there, fortunate- ly," Commissioner Joe Barbetta said during the board's Sept. 11 regular meeting, as he and his fellow commissioners perused the figures. In an email to the commissioners, Steven Botelho, the county's chief financial plan- ning officer, also noted, "We remain slightly higher with our overall expenditures" — 8% — compared to the same point in the coun- ty's fiscal year in 2011. Referring to that comment, Commissioner Nora Patterson said, "If the expenditures are up, it may be that we have chosen to do some additional things to benefit folks." 'ELECTRIC' VENUE In her Sept. 12 email to the County Com- mission, Haley also noted the impact the exceptionally good seasons of two Major League Baseball teams was having on her promotions. "Thanks to the agreement between Saraso- ta County Government and the Baltimore Orioles," she wrote, "we have the use of a suite for both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles." She had just returned from a visit to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Page 30 she noted, where she and staff had enter- tained "clients in two cities in the grip of major baseball fever, with both teams in first place. We entertained rowing coaches, baseball tournament operators, soccer tour- nament owners and travel agents." She added that fans who attended the "thrilling Orioles versus [New York] Yan- kees game" on Sept. 8 "received a Sarasota lunch bag at the gate and were rewarded with an Orioles victory." Moreover, Haley wrote, Sarasota advertise- ments behind home plate at Camden Field were displayed for an inning during each of the televised games of that Orioles-Yankees series. Haley told the News Leader she and her staff have made use of those suites for the past three years, "but, I have to say, [it was] a completely different atmosphere this time. … It was electric." SIESTA EDGES AHEAD In the breakdown of the county's tourist development tax collections by location, Siesta Key and the city of Sarasota have remained close over the summer. The July figures once again put Siesta ahead. According to the figures provided by the Tax Collector's Office, Siesta had 30.68% of the collections through July 31 — $3,858,314.45 — compared to 30.53% for the city of Sara- sota — $3,839,092.13. For a detailed look at the collections by lo- cation, see the accompanying table.

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