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Marine Max gives up quest for tax break
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CLEARWATER – Marine Max, a retailer of new and used recreational boats and yachts, is moving its corporate headquarters from 18167 U.S. 19 N. to 2600 McCormick Drive in Clearwater.

The company plans to spend $2 million on new furniture, fixtures and equipment and to add 30 new jobs over the next three years at an average annual salary above $65,000, which is 155 percent of the Pinellas County average.

Initially, the company applied for an Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption of 50 percent of tangible personal property taxes for the next five years. But it recently withdrew that application.

Denise Sanderson, the city’s assistant director of economic development and housing, explained that it is common for companies to apply for such an exemption when they expand into new quarters because the tax saving on the building and equipment can be substantial. But because Marine Max is moving into rented quarters, it would only qualify for a tax exemption on its furnishings and equipment, and not on the building. Therefore, she said, the move will still go through, but Marine Max executives have decided that the relatively small exemption isn’t worth the red tape needed to qualify for it.

City, SWFWMD split cost of drainage project

CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council on Feb. 20 unanimously approved an agreement whereby the city and the Southwest Florida Water Management District will split the cost of the construction and inspection of the Smallwood Circle Drainage Improvements Project. Each will contribute $750,000 to the project, which was awarded to Rowland, Inc., last November.

“The project consists of removal and replacement of approximately 3,000 linear feet of pipe, including 1,000 feet of undersize pipe between Highland Avenue to the west, Drew Street (SR 590) to the south, Hobart Avenue to the east and Walnut Street to the north,” a Feb. 20 staff memo to the council explains. “The replacement of the entire system will provide an opportunity to implement Best Management Practices within the drainage area.”

‘Wild Splash’ concert coming to Coachman Park

CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council unanimously voted on Feb. 20 to approve an event agreement that will allow CBS Radio Stations, Inc., to hold a “Wild Splash” outdoor concert in Coachman Park on Saturday, March 8.

“CBS Radio has partnered with the city on several successful concerts over the past years; most recently with the Wild Splash concerts,” a staff memo to the council explained. “Wild Splash is one of the Class 3A events (the) council approved in the annual special events agenda item on April 18, 2013. This Class 3A event is produced by the parks and recreation department with all costs being covered by revenues from the event.”

CBS Radio will cover all the costs of the concert, and the city will get to keep 100 percent of the revenue from the beer, wine and Coca Cola concessions. Those funds will be put in the city’s Special Events Fund so that other events, such as Celebrate America and Fun and Sun, can be conducted at little or no cost to the residents.
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