INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – City residents most likely will be paying the same tax rate in fiscal year 2014 as they have paid for the past six years, 2 mills. Indian Rocks Beach Commissioners unanimously passed the ordinance at their regular meeting Sept. 4.
In previous discussions over the tax rate, commissioners heard that for the first time in seven years there will be an increase in revenue from property taxes, which helped them hold the line on the millage rate.
It takes just over $3 million to run the city for a year.
The action taken on Sept. 4 was first reading of the ordinance; the second and final reading will take place at the next Commission meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.
BP Claim status
City Manager Gregg Mims told the commissioners that the effort to get money from BP as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf back in 2010 continues.
“As you know BP dismissed all governmental claims, including our claim for $3.1 million,” he said. “As a result we have launched a lawsuit for that amount of money. A federal magistrate is expected to hear the case sometime early in 2014.”
Mims added that it is expected BP will settle the claim before it gets to court, in which case he said to expect something less than the $3.1 million.
He also noted that BP has made grants available to communities and he has begun exploring if Indian Rocks Beach might be eligible for those grants, which he said were being awarded for a variety of projects.
On another matter Mims said he was considering having a monthly get together with Community Deputy Noel Dunham at a local restaurant so residents could come and speak their mind.
“I’ve done this in other places and it has been successful,” he said. “It seems people are more comfortable in such a setting than in standing up here in front of an audience to say what is bothering them.”
The idea of the coffee klatch is to bring the community closer to the law enforcement personnel. Recently residents have been complaining about the attitude of local deputies. A public service day was held in Kolb Park two weeks ago to show-off the Sheriff’s amenities. That day was considered a success by the Commissioners. Mims says the relationship must be ongoing.
Commission opposes flood insurance reform act
Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, currently before Congress. If it passes it will mean flood insurance rates for most residents will rise considerably.
Commissioner Cookie Kennedy said it isn’t just Florida coastal residents who should be concerned.
“We have to push the fact that this is not just for Florida residents,” she said. “Other states will be affected as well and we need the support of congressmen and senators from all over the country.”
On Aug. 27, 200 people gathered at a public meeting in Treasure Island to oppose the bill. They were told insurance subsidies from homes and business built before 1974 would be eliminated and that would cause rates to soar according to opponents of the bill.
The legislation has already passed the House and the Senate is expected to take it up when it reconvenes this fall.
Commissioner Phil Hanna said it still wasn’t too late to voice objections.
“I’ve seen many instances where things have been reversed when there is an outcry from the citizens,” he said. “We should continue to urge Congress to re-think this legislation.”
Commissioner Terry Hamilton-Wollin said she would explore the possibility of having a public gathering in IRB to discuss the issue.
“I’ll talk to the Redingtons and Indian Shores and Belleair Beach about getting together to discuss it,” she said.