Sarasota City Charter Changes

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SARASOTA (2009-03-09) -

The Sarasota referendum would change the city charter to add two at-large commissioners, increasing the number of board members from five to seven. It would also allow voters to elect the mayor, who is currently a commissioner chosen by his or her colleagues.

To its supporters, having an elected mayor would present a consistent face of the city to the outside world. That, they say, would help everything from trying to attract a new spring training team to getting businesses to relocate downtown.

Opponents say more at-large seats would dilute the minority vote.

This will hardly be the first time backers of an elected city mayor have placed the idea on the ballot. It was placed there in 1996, 2002 and 2006, to no avail.

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