Sarasota County anchors the middle of Florida’s western coast, approximately 60 miles south of Tampa Bay. It includes the cities of Sarasota, Venice and North Port, and the Town of Longboat Key.

  • The county is home to approximately 433,742 permanent residents (2020 Census).
  • The community encompasses 575 square miles of land and is surrounded by 37 miles of open shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Endowed with inspiring natural beauty, an appealing climate and world-class arts and culture, this coastal paradise has superior schools, significant medical research and education facilities, high educational attainment and a regional workforce of 1.6 million*. 

In our annual Citizens Survey, more 95 percent of respondents rate the quality of life in their own neighborhoods as excellent or good, and 96 percent are satisfied with county services.

  • U.S. News and World Report: 2020-2021 Best Places to retire in the U.S.; No. 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S.
  • TripAdvisor: No. 1 beach in the U.S.(Siesta Beach)
  • WalletHub: Top 10 Best Beach Towns to Live in 
  • Bizjournals.com: No. 1 on Best Cities to Launch a Small Business 
  • Home to over 32,000 companies *
  • Florida Department of Education: "A+" rating for Sarasota County Schools *
  • Fitch Ratings: "AAA" rating for general obligation and capital improvement bond ratings; "AA+" rating for infrastructure sales surtax revenue bonds  

    * Source: Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

Sarasota County Government

Sarasota County was established in 1921 and adopted a Home Rule Charter in 1971. The Charter establishes a Commission/County Administrator form of government. Five commissioners are elected to four-year terms countywide, but each commissioner must live in a specific district. 

The County Commission appoints only two employees – the County Administrator and the County Attorney. The County Administrator is the chief administrative officer for the county and serves at the pleasure of the County Commission.
 
All employees under the County Commission agencies, with the exception of the Offices of the County Attorney, report through an administrative structure to the County Administrator, who is solely responsible for hiring and dismissing employees. 
 
Sarasota County is a full-service county typical of charter counties in Florida.

 

  • The county provides fire protection and EMS service to unincorporated areas and some municipalities.
  • The county also operates typical infrastructure programs, transportation and facilities.
  • A countywide transit operation, with interconnecting routes in a neighboring county, also is a county responsibility.
  • A full range of community and human services is provided to residents – parks, recreation, human services, health-related services, planning, zoning, permitting and environmental resource management.