TREASURE ISLAND – There will not be any change in residency requirements for Treasure Island citizens who choose to volunteer to serve on a city board or committee.
The Treasure Island City Commission discussed potential changes in requirements for citizens during its workshop meeting Dec. 4. The discussion arose from a subject matter brought forth by Commissioner Robert Minning about how to select a candidate to serve on a board or a committee when there are more than one applicant.
The current standard is to nominate the first candidate who applies.
But after Minning raised the issue in the last City Commission meeting, Commissioner Ed Gayton noted an recent applicant to a board had a New Jersey contact number on his application. When Gayton tried to contact the applicant, Gayton learned he was living in Gulfport.
The subject was placed on the workshop agenda by Commissioner Phil Collins as a result. But after discussion, it turned out Collins was the lone proponent.
Collins suggested any candidate who applies for an opening on a committee or a board be registered to vote in Treasure Island. That way, Collins said, the chances of a conflict of interest are lessened.
But even at the last meeting Gayton seemed uncomfortable requiring such a standard because he felt it could dissuade candidates from applying.
The rest of the commission, with the exception of Collins, agreed.
“I figure, if we do anything we should (require) a candidate’s address on his or her driver’s license or ID be a Treasure Island address,” Commissioner Alan Bildz said after the workshop.
“The mayor brought up a good point: That even someone with a green card can pay (city) taxes and not be a registered voter.”
But like Gayton in the previous meeting, Bildz was concerned tightening restrictions may chase off prospective candidates.
“These days we are begging for volunteers,” Bildz said. “No one is volunteering for anything. We don’t have any outstanding applications for anything. To cut that down even further is ridiculous.”
Collins disagreed saying, “Over the past few years, we have not gone without people to fill a void on a board or a committee.”
Collins also did not agree with Mayor Mary Maloof’s example of a property owner and resident bearing only a green card can be a resident.
“So in order to be on a board or a committee you don’t have to be a fulltime resident, you only have to have a green card?”
Gulf Boulevard beautification
A few months ago, the city learned that some county officials wanted to proceed on a large project to beautify Gulf Boulevard from Pass-A-Grille north to Clearwater in an effort to keep the barrier islands attractive to vacationers, the lifeblood of the county’s economy.
This could be a very expensive project for communities.
Collins hopes that beach communities can find a compromise.
“Some cities cannot afford to spend that much from their own coffers,” Collins said. “Maybe we can work out an arrangement, maybe the communities will say they are not interested and have the county pay for it all. Maybe they will agree.”
“There was never a clear cut definition on how much the county would spend,” Bildz said. “But (50/50), that’s a very big bill. I don’t mind doing some beautification but come on, 50/50? That’s a lot of money.
“When Governor Crist said that cities and counties should not hold much money in reserve, well, cities don’t have that much but the county does. The county does have a lot of money (in reserves).”
County officials have been talking to city officials along the barrier islands about using $36 million in anticipated sales tax revenue for beautification along Gulf Boulevard. To date, no formal action has been taken and discussions continue.