City Manager Bill Horne addresses the Rotary Club.
CLEARWATER – Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Clearwater on issues and initiatives going on in the city. Horne is also currently on the Board of Directors for the club.
As the city of Clearwater approaches its 100th anniversary in 2015, Horne asked the Rotary Club to recognize the city in some way. He also appealed to club members to get involved with the Clearwater City Council and consider running for elected office as a way of giving back to the community.
“We currently have a strong city council who does their homework on issues concerning the city, plus a dedicated and committed administration staff with a real sense of team,” Horne said.
Horne said that the city is financially strong. Its 1,685 employees make up 68 percent of the city’s budget, where some reductions in staff were necessary due to the lagging economy. The city lives within its means and its discipline, and its discipline through the years has enabled it to weather the storm in good shape, he said. He said that millage rates on property taxes have not been raised in four years and that union contracts have been negotiated through 2015.
Horne also named a number of new projects that are currently under way or going through the planning stage. The city is working with the Corp of Engineers on the Stevenson Creek Project; a new fire department building will be constructed on Court Street and Madison; the new city-owned Phillies training facility has been completed at Carpenter’s Field, north of Bright House Field. Also, coming soon will be Whole Foods at Westfield Mall, Countryside; BayCare’s new corporate offices are off of McMullen Booth Road and Drew Street; and the renovation of The Capitol Theatre in downtown is under way.
Horne was appointed by the city council to serve as city manager in 2001 and is responsible for all departments other than the city attorney’s office. He is only one of two employees who report directly to the council. He oversees a workforce of 1,685 employees and an annual operating budget of $385 million.