CLEARWATER - As promised, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman presented Pinellas County Commissioners with details of a business plan June 21 for a six-month high-speed ferry pilot set to launch Nov. 1 and continue through April 30, 2017.
Commissioners then voted 6-1 on a resolution approving the “primary business points” for the pilot program. Commissioner Dave Eggers voted no.
The commission’s approval is contingent on the next step in the process, which is negotiation of an interlocal agreement between four governmental entities - Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa. Each would pay $350,000 of the $1.4 million cost for the public-private partnership with HMS Ferries Inc. headquartered in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The office of Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, released the Citizens’ Guide to County Finances, also known as the Popular Annual Financial Report, and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2015.
The Citizens’ Guide is an easy-to-read financial report designed to help citizens understand where county revenues come from and where the money is spent. The Citizens’ Guide presents a synopsis of the County’s financial health and is based on the CAFR.
The Citizens’ Guide summarizes the essential information contained in the CAFR and provides an overview of the areas of responsibility and the operations of the County. The CAFR outlines the County’s financial position and operating activities for the year in detail and in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.
LARGO - The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office “Take a Bite Out of Grime” program won the top award from the Keep Florida Beautiful Program for 2016 beating out 43 other counties in the state.
The Sheriff’s Office was nominated by Keep Pinellas Beautiful to receive the “Outstanding Great American Cleanup Trash off” award. The award was presented June 16 at Anona United Methodist Church in Largo. The Sheriff’s Office will also be nominated for the national award to be presented in Washington D.C.
The third annual Take a Bite Out of Grime on Feb. 27 resulted in the removal of more than 14,000 pounds of trash from areas near Pinellas Safe Harbor and Highpoint in unincorporated Clearwater. More than 200 homeless shelter residents participated.
LARGO - The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recently announced the June 10 graduation of Col. Paul Halle from the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia.
Halle, a 26-year veteran, serves as the commander of the Department of Detention and Corrections, the largest department in the Sheriff’s Office. He is responsible for overseeing approximately 1,100 employees and an average daily population of 3,000 inmates.
Halle’s graduating class included 213 law enforcement executives from around the world, who met for 10 weeks at the at the FBI Training Facility in Quantico, Virginia.
LARGO - On any given day Kathy Mize Plummer and her staff work to find shelter for homeless youth who have aged out of the foster care system. They encourage them to go to school, help them enroll in job training, and help them get jobs. Counseling is often needed due to childhood trauma.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23, celebrated the opening of a home at 12603 132nd Ave. in Largo for formerly homeless young men who grew up in the foster care system and are now on their own.
CLEARWATER - For the sixth consecutive year, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors approved the agency’s fiscal year budget with no wholesale rate increase. The approved 2017 budget reduces agency expenditures by $3 million and maintains a wholesale drinking water rate of $2.56 per 1,000 gallons.
“Tampa Bay Water’s board is committed to providing clean, safe and reliable water at an affordable price,” said Christina Sackett, chief financial officer for Tampa Bay Water.
Tampa Bay Water reduced expenditures by $3 million compared to current-year expenses by saving $2 million in debt service through bond refundings, and saving $1 million in renewal and replacement projects. To help avoid a rate increase the agency is also using $2.87 million from its rate stabilization fund.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners made a bold move forward June 21, agreeing to spend more than $7.6 million over five years on software and implementation of a new enterprise asset management system.
Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve the expenditure. Commissioner Karen Seel voted no.
The deal includes five years of Cityworks software licenses, maintenance and support from Azteca, a company that specializes in geographic information system software applications, for a cost of just over $1 million. An additional $5 million over 30 months will pay for Phase 1 of an of the EAM (enterprise asset management) project as part of an agreement with Woolpert, a design, geospatial and infrastructure management firm.
CLEARWATER - Residents who live in north Pinellas can safely dispose of unwanted household electronics and chemicals at an upcoming free household mobile collection event on Saturday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the North County Satellite Site at 29582 U.S. 19 N. in Clearwater.
Residents can drop off electronics such as cellphones, computers, TVs, power supplies, monitors and rechargeable batteries (remove from device, place device in garbage). Chemical items accepted include: automotive fluids, rechargeable batteries, fuel, paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides and fluorescent bulbs, along with other mercury containing devices.
Residents should not mix chemicals together or place them in dark plastic bags and should keep products in original, labeled containers if possible. Individual batteries should be placed in separate plastic bags or have terminals covered with heavy tape to prevent short-circuits.
When the qualifying period to run for a spot on the Pinellas County Commission in the Nov. 8 election ended at noon June 24, three of four incumbents had no competition.
Janet Long, District 1 commissioner; Karen Seel, District 5 commissioner; and Ken Welch, District 7 commissioner, will serve another four years.
However, District 3 commissioner, Charlie Justice, a Democrat, will have to get past Republican challenger, Mike Mikurak, to keep his seat for another term. District 3 is an at-large position, so all registered voters can take part in that election.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County elected officials and other local leaders were joined by Duke Energy representatives Tuesday, June 21, for a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a 1.2-mile segment of the Duke Energy Trail at the trail’s existing U.S. 19 overpass near Enterprise Road in Clearwater.
The new segment of the Duke Energy Trail will run from Sunset Point Road to connect with the existing trail overpass at U.S. Highway 19. Work is expected to be completed by spring 2017. The project is fully funded by the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent sales tax.