Members of the Belleair Commission present a proclamation for Rotary Day to several members of the Belleair Rotary club. From left are Commissioner Kevin Piccarreto, Commissioner Michael Wilkinson, Mayor Gary Katica, Rotary President Ana Maria Schweitzer, Rotarian Lothar Erdtmann, Rotary president-elect Joyce Baskin, Rotarian Tom Caresse, Commissioner Tom Shelly and Vice-Mayor Stephen Fowler.
BELLEAIR – The Belleair Commission unanimously passed first reading of an ordinance making the town’s purchase of the Belleview Biltmore Golf Club official and legal. The ordinance was passed at the regular Commission meeting Feb. 19
Earlier this month the commissioners passed an emergency ordinance giving Town Manager Micah Maxwell the authority to conclude the $3.5 million dollar deal and to hire Green Golf Partners of Indianapolis as interim property managers until the commission decides what to do with the golf course.
The purchase was made primarily to eliminate development rights on the property. Once that move is made the golf course will remain what it is, parkland or just green space. Then the commission can decide to sell the property or continue to own it and run it as a golf course through a third party. Green Golf Partners has a six-month deal with the city.
Mayor Gary Katica told the commissioners that already he has heard from someone who is interested in buying the property.
“They are starting to come forward now,” he said. When asked if the town could sell the property at a profit, he said, “That’s the beauty of bids.”
Maxwell reported that all was going well with the transition of the course. He said the interim managers have done a good job in making the transition as seamless as possible especially for the employees.
“They stepped in and took charge,” he said. “I’ll know more next month when we have a little more time under our belts to see what the financial picture is.”
Osceola speed limit
Police Chief Tom Edwards reported to the commission that steps are under way to see if a change in the speed limit along Osceola Road is necessary.
Recently, several residents complained to the commission that the 30 mph limit on the road as it passes the Rec Center is too high because of the large number of children who are always in the area.
Edwards said his department has already done a four-day traffic count in the area and another one is under way. Then he said the results will be given to a traffic consultant.
“After that we will see if the speed limit should be 20 or 25 miles an hour,” he said.
Belleair wants pension disability reforms
Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution asking the Florida Legislature to change some aspect of the state’s police and firefighter pension plan disability provisions.
As things stand now a police officer or firefighter can claim, and will likely win, a case in which he or she claims certain disabilities were caused by job-related stress.
The Florida League of Cities in an effort to cut pension costs wants the Legislature to take into account an individual’s personal situation. For example the factors include whether that person is grossly overweight, a smoker, or genetically predisposed to that disability. It wants the Legislature to remove the presumption that a disability is job-related and to make that determination only after all the other factors are taken into account.
The Belleair resolution supports the Florida League of Cities approach to the Legislature on the matter.
Rotary Day in Belleair declared
February 23 has been proclaimed Rotary Day in the town. Mayor Gary Katica and the other commission members presented the proclamation to several members of the Belleair Rotary club at the Commission meeting.
The proclamation notes that Rotary International operates in 200 countries with 33,000 clubs and 1.2 million members. It was founded on Feb. 23, 1905, making it 108 years old.
The Belleair Club has 40 members and was founded in 1989. Members meet at 12:15 p.m. each Thursday at the Belleair Country Club.