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Pinellas County
CLEARWATER - The watchword at the Dec. 16 Pinellas County Commission meeting was flexibility.

Community leaders are concerned that proposed changes to the county’s Tourist Development Plan would limit how bed tax dollars could be spent on future projects.

The county collects a 5 percent tourist (bed) tax on accommodations rented for less than six months. State statute controls a complicated formula used to divide revenue cent by cent into spending categories. In fiscal year 2014, 59 percent of bed tax revenue is going to marketing and operations; 18 percent to debt service; 8 percent to beach nourishment; 1 percent to the tax collector; and 14 percent to reserves.

Before giving the public an opportunity to speak, Commission Chair Karen Seel, who also chairs the Tourist Development Council, recommended delaying the vote to amend funding of the capital project category of the Tourist Development Plan.

“Since there has been so much discussion in the community,” Seel suggested that the commission meet with the TDC to “see if there is some common ground we might be able to find.”

She suggested that the commission consider only the pending sunset of the fourth cent, which if repealed would allow the continued levy of the fourth and fifth cent. Commissioners agreed unanimously to repeal the sunset.
 ... Read More 
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Unemployment in Pinellas County declined slightly to 5.6 percent in November down from 5.7 percent reported in October.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released the not seasonally adjusted figures Dec. 19.

According to the report, the county’s labor force declined by 5,210 in November and 844 fewer were unemployed.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, December 17
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LARGO - Florida Sheriffs Task Force Chair, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the results of “Operation Safe Steps,” the Florida Sheriffs Task Force Fall operation, during a Dec. 8 press conference at the Administration Building in Largo.

“Operation Safe Steps” focused on pedestrian safety with the goal of reducing pedestrian injuries and deaths from traffic crashes through an education campaign directed at both pedestrians and motorists.
 ... Read More 
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CLEARWATER - Dunkin Donuts selected the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Police Athletic League as its charity for the month of November.

Dunkin Donuts owner Sneha Patel presented Sheriff Bob Gualtieri with a check for $5,075 Dec. 8 at the store at 2551 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater. Eighteen Dunkin Donut locations, including stores in Largo, Dunedin, Clearwater, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor and Tampa, participated in the three-day fundraiser.
 ... Read More 
ST. PETERSBURG - Community Action Stops Abuse hosted its 18th annual Peace Breakfast Dec. 9 at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. CASA honored Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Ken Burke with the John E. Stross “Victory Over Violence” award in appreciation of his domestic violence advocacy.

The award is named after the late John E. Stross, a longtime CASA supporter who passed away in May.

The event included several inspirational keynote speakers, all speaking from the heart, highlighting the importance of working together to help domestic violence victims feel safe.
 ... Read More 
Local law enforcement is making plans for a countywide DUI Wolf Pack operation, beginning Friday night, Dec. 19, and continuing through early Saturday morning.

Pinellas County Deputies in conjunction with Tarpon Springs Police Department, Clearwater Police Department, Pinellas Park Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and G4S Prisoner Transportation will take part in the operation.

The goal of the Wolf Pack is to educate people and create public awareness about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and any chemical or controlled substances.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, December 16
CLEARWATER - The local region currently has enough drinking water to last for the next 10 to15 years.

To ensure the region will always have an adequate supply, Tampa Bay Water closely tracks demand. Each year, the agency forecasts demand for the near-term and long-term. The forecast includes a variety of data, including economic indicators, demographic information, population figures and more.

Based on the latest demand projections, Tampa Bay Water will need a new water source online around 2025-2030. To meet that timeframe, the agency is continuing to update its Long-Term Master Water Plan, a framework for meeting the region’s future drinking water needs.
 ... Read More 
SEMINOLE - Congressman David Jolly’s Seminole office will close temporarily, beginning Jan. 5. The office, which is located at 9210 113th Street on the Seminole campus of St. Petersburg College, is expected to reopen on Feb. 2.

The office is closing temporarily due to construction on the St. Petersburg College campus.

Jolly’s Clearwater and St. Petersburg offices will remain open during the work. Constituents needing assistance are encouraged to call or visit the Clearwater and St. Petersburg offices during the temporary closing.
 ... Read More 
Sunday, December 14
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More than a dozen Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies will be featured in Season 27 of the popular police reality TV show COPS.

The first COPS story featuring Pinellas deputies will run in early January 2015 on SPIKE TV. The Sheriff's Office will update with specific dates and times as the schedule is finalized.

The show will provide an opportunity for the great work done by local deputies on a daily basis to be showcased to a nationwide audience, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
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The parents of a 5-year-old girl who died while in foster care filed a lawsuit against Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Dec. 8.

Elizabeth Holder died Jan. 19, 2013 after she was involuntarily removed from her parent’s home by the Sheriff’s Child Protection Division. Elizabeth was found wandering around unattended Jan. 11 in a mobile home park in unincorporated Clearwater.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Résumés and applications are now being accepted for three appointments on the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Southside St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area.

Résumés must be received no later than the close of business on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

The committee advises the Community Redevelopment Agency for Southside St. Petersburg on the proposed community redevelopment plan, proposed amendments to that plan and on issues and policies within the area.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Tampa Bay Water’s fiscal year and “water year” run from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. At the end of each water year, the regional utility reports on demand and supply for the previous 12 months and provides an outlook for the coming year.

During water year 2014, the agency delivered 157 million gallons per day of drinking water to the region. Water delivered was a blend of groundwater, desalinated seawater and river water.

The amount of water delivered was about 6.8 percent below the projected amount, primarily due to heavy rainfall in March and May. The cool and wet weather during these months kept water demand well below typical springtime levels. In fact, May water demands were the lowest seen in more than a decade.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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