CLEARWATER - Last year when Pinellas County implemented its surface water assessment fee for unincorporated residents, some complained.
But this year, an overflow crowd showed up to protest after some received bills as much as 340 percent higher. Nearly all were residents of mobile home parks.
Kelli Levy, Natural Resources Section manager, explained that last year’s bills were incorrect - incomplete. This year’s assessments are more accurate. They were calculated using data from digitized images, showing all the impervious surfaces inside the different parks, including roads, swimming pools, patios, shuffleboard courts and other structures besides the mobile homes.
Assessments that are more accurate allow the county to capture the best revenue stream based on the amount of runoff from each property. Rainwater and water from sprinklers flow out onto the ground, which becomes saturated. The excess water, or runoff, continues onto sidewalks and streets, picking up pollutants as it then flows into storm drains, ponds, ditches and on into the county’s waterways and Gulf of Mexico.
CLEARWATER - Representatives of Faith in Action for Strength Together lobbied Pinellas County Commissioners for more money for dental care during the first budget hearing Sept. 11.
They were the only ones from the public to make comment about the proposed budgets for fiscal year 2014-2015.
Commissioners allocated an additional $500,000 to its Health and Community Services Department for dental care in the coming year. According to Lynda Leedy, interim HCS executive director, $300,000 will be used to serve residents with incomes of 100 percent of the poverty level or less. The remaining $200,000 will be used to serve those who make 200 percent of the poverty level or less.
The Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department recently purchased a new mulching mower head for vegetation control with assistance from the Florida Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program.
The specialized mowing head will be attached to a small tractor to control vegetation in limited spaces such as trails and sensitive ecological areas at county parks and preserves. Controlling the vegetation will help maintain these areas and reduce the risk of wildfires. The device will also be used to remove non-native plants, prepare sites for prescribed burns and respond to brush fires.
Congressman David Jolly is accepting applications for U.S. Service Academy nominations.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jolly has the privilege of nominating a select number of young men and women from Florida’s 13th Congressional District to four of the five service academies. The honor of attending a service academy comes with an obligation and commitment to serve in the military for a minimum of five years upon graduation.
To be eligible for this opportunity, applicants must be at least 17-years-old, but under the age of 23. They must be a U.S. Citizen, unmarried and live within the boundaries of Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Those selected for a nomination will also have to meet the medical, physical, and academic requirements of the Academy.
LARGO - Due to overwhelming demand, the location of the Pinellas County Historic Preservation Summit has changed, and the registration deadline has been extended. The event is Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 2 p.m. in the Pinellas Room at Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. in Largo. Registration is open through Monday, Sept. 15.
Tampa Bay Water is once again storing water in the region’s water savings account, the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir.
Since July 25, 2014, an average of 147 million gallons of water has flowed into the reservoir daily and approximately 5 billion gallons has been banked.
The reservoir has been undergoing a renovation since 2012 and is nearly complete. The renovation was done from the bottom up, so refilling could begin while construction around the top of the facility was finished.
CLEARWATER - Interim director of Pinellas County’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau David Downing told county commissioners that the red tide situation was “iffy,” during a Sept. 11 meeting.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has been monitoring a patching bloom of Karenia brevis, Florida red tide, since July. A small fish kill was reported on Honeymoon Island over the Labor Day weekend and respiratory irritation was reported at Anclote Key, Honeymoon Island and Three Rook Island in FWC’s Sept. 5 red tide report.
CLEARWATER - Animal rights activists will have to wait a little bit longer to find out how much support Pinellas County will lend toward their mission to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return free-roaming cats.
Maureen Freaney, Animal Services bureau director, updated county commissioners during an Aug. 19 meeting about work ongoing with nonprofit organizations and concerned citizens on the feral cat problem. She expects that staff will be ready to present a proposed ordinance that would support a pilot program for TNVR by November.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners have denied two of three rezoning requests from assisted living facilities so far in 2014. Commissioner Susan Latvala wants to make sure changes in the works by the county’s planning department include the need for ALF facilities in the future.
The first denial occurred Feb. 25 when commissioners said no to a request for a zoning and land use change on 3.36 acres on East Lake Road. The property owner wanted to build a 68-bed ALF and even agreed to a condition that an ALF be the only allowable use of the site to assuage neighbor’s concerns.
Commissioners denied another request Aug. 19 for a zoning and land use change by an existing ALF, Oak Tree Manor, to allow for an expansion onto an adjacent parcel of land on Park Boulevard in Seminole.
ST. PETERSBURG - A 6-year-old girl was bitten by a Great Dane that attacked her about 5:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, at the King of the Road Mobile Home Park, 5701 Haines Road in unincorporated St. Petersburg.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies reported that the dog’s owner, David Watson, 51, of St. Petersburg was walking his 130-pound, 5-year-old male Great Dane on a leash in the common area of the mobile home park. Several children in the park approached Watson and the dog Otis and began to pet the dog. The victim also approached the dog and began to pet him when he attacked her.
As the victim, Ariel Hampshire, went to the ground, the dog bit her in the face, neck and head, deputies said. She was transported to a local hospital via ambulance for treatment of serious lacerations.