The City of Sarasota, FL has experienced a 34% decrease in the City’s taxable property since 2008, which has affected the City’s operating revenues and levels of services. The Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liability (UAAL) for the City’s three defined benefit plans and Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) plan was $296 million as of September 30, 2012. The City has a investment in capital assets net of related debt of $161,031,693 in 2012, up $4.91 million from 2011. The City has unrestricted net assets of $64,273,514. (NOTE: Although the City’s investment in its capital assets is reported net of related debt, it should still be noted that the resources needed to repay this debt must be provided from other sources, since the capital assets themselves cannot be used to liquidate these liabilities.)
At the end of the current fiscal year, the City had a total bonded debt outstanding of $142,008,656. Of this amount, $42,909,043 comprises debt backed by the full faith and credit of the City. The City’s interest on long-term debt in 2012 was $4,519,066. The City of Sarasota is on a path to become a mini-Detroit.
So what is top of mind with the City Commissioners? Repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) statute.
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According to Allison Neilson from Sunshine State News, “When outlining the major legislative priorities for its 2014 agenda, the Sarasota City Commission voted to support a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. The repeal was listed in the City Commission’s document titled Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities.”
The City Commission vote was taken on September 7th, just days before the September 10th recall vote in Colorado where two Democrat legislators were ousted for their support of gun control.
The ball is now in the court of the Sarasota Legislative Delegation headed by FL Senator Nancy Detert (R). Delegation members include: FL Representatives Jim Boyd (R), Ray Pilon (R), Darryl Rouson (D), Greg Steube (R) and Doug Holder (R).
The National Rifle Association Institute for Legal Action (NRA-ILA) has already weighed in on this City initiative. The NRA-ILA sent out an email to members asking them to contact the Sarasota Legislative Delegation members and ask them to oppose the City’s priority to repeal SYG. The NRA-ILA states, “The ‘Stand your Ground’ statute gives back rights that have been eroded or taken away by a judicial system that, at times, appears to give preferential treatment to criminals.”
“The City Commission can’t expect a victim to wait before taking action to protect himself and his family and say, ‘excuse me, Mr. Criminal, are you here breaking into my home to rape and kill me or are you just here to beat me up and steal my TV set? And by the way what kind of weapon do you have?'”, asks the NRA-ILA.
WDW has asked Sarasota Legislative Delegation members for a statement on the City’s priority to repeal SYG. No replies have been received as of the publication of this column.
The NRA-ILA notes, “A law-abiding citizen should not have to worry about being arrested or prosecuted if you use force to defend yourself or your family. You should be able to presume that anyone who unlawfully intrudes is there to harm you.”