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East Lake MSTU on May 21 agenda
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Commissioner Susan Latvala represents the residents living in northern areas of Pinellas County.
CLEARWATER – Pinellas County Commissioners will consider an ordinance May 21 that would create a separate Municipal Services Taxing Unit for the East Lake Library.

Assistant County Attorney Dennis Long said the ordinance addresses levying taxes for a new MSTU of .25 mils for fiscal year 2014. A mill represents $1 of tax assessment per $1,000 of assessed property value.

A discussion about the possibility of changing the funding formula for East Lake Library, which currently is a sub-unit of the Palm Harbor Library, came up when Mary Brown, executive director for the Pinellas County Public Library Cooperative, presented the organization’s proposed budget May 9.

Creation of the separate MSTU would require the cooperative to revise its budget for the coming year.

County Commissioner Susan Latvala said the East Lake Youth Sports Association was interested in being included in the new MSTU. The organization also would like .25 mil – the same as Palm Harbor receives from a MSTU that funds the Palm Harbor Community Services District.

Palm Harbor residents pay .50 mils to a separate MSTU that goes to the Community Services District to pay for library and recreation services. The library receives .25 mil and recreation services gets .25 mil.

Long said the advertisement for the May 21 meeting was for .25 mils for the library only. He said he wasn’t sure there was time to do advertising to consider adding the youth association at the May 21 meeting. He said there was time to run an ad before the June 4 meeting.

“But, from a timing perspective, we almost running out of time for the coming year,” he said.

Latvala said she was only passing on the request.

“They want to tag on to the library,” Latvala said. “They want us to authorize an ad to add them.”

Commissioner Karen Seel said the best plan would be for the youth association to work with library officials, “so we don’t have to be in the middle.”

Commission Chair Ken Welch said he would like more discussion on a separate tax for youth sports. A separate taxing unit for the library has been on the table for months amid much discussion.

Commissioner Norm Roche agreed.

“The voters in East Lake need to be heard,” he said.

Roche said he was concerned about adding “a whole new piece,” with piggybacking and duplicating Palm Harbor. He said the change meant adding two .25 mils versus only one.

There was no consensus to advertise to levy a separate tax for the youth association for FY 2014.
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