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Crash costs Clearwater taxpayers $90,000
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CLEARWATER – Without discussion at the April 17 Clearwater City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the payment of $90,000 to settle Victoria Kossaris’ claim against the city for injuries she suffered when the car in which she was riding was rear-ended by a Clearwater police car.

Five-digit payouts to people injured by carelessly driven city vehicles have become so common lately that Mayor George Cretekos recently said that something will have to be done if the trend continues.

Kossaris was a passenger in a southbound car that was turning right from the U.S. 19 access road onto Drew Street. A Clearwater police car with its lights and siren on was behind that car. Suddenly, the driver of the car in which Kossaris was riding spotted another Clearwater police car traveling west on Drew Street with its lights and sirens on. The driver braked hard to avoid hitting that cruiser and was rear-ended by the other police car.

Clearwater is self-insured, and state law caps its liability at $200,000 per plaintiff. But city officials felt a $90,000 settlement would be preferable to going to court and taking the risk that a jury would award Kossaris the entire $200,000.

City buys land to complete hiking trail

CLEARWATER – It’s not often that someone buys a piece of land that is 1,100 feet long but only 15 feet wide. But that’s what the City Council agreed to do last week when it approved the purchase of such a parcel from CSX Transportation, Inc.

The land, which adjoins the CSX railroad right-of-way between Lakeview Road and Woodlawn Street just west of Ross Norton Park, is needed to complete the city’s recreation trail at Ross Norton/Ed Wright Park. CSX presented an appraisal from McKeon and Menard Real Estate Advisory and Valuation Services, which valued the land at $71,555. Using a different method, James Millspaugh and Associates, Inc., an appraisal firm hired by the city, calculated its value at $28,200.

The council approved the expenditure of up to $78,000 to cover the purchase price of the land and any expenses associated with the transaction.

Pier 60 Park gets new concessionaire

CLEARWATER – On June 6, 2013, the city contracted for Ultimate Bounce, LLC, and Emerald Coast Bungee, Inc., to provide concessions at Pier 60 Park, but the Ultimate Bounce contract was terminated by mutual agreement on Dec. 17, 2013. On Feb. 17, the city put out requests for proposals from companies interested in replacing Ultimate Bounce.

All Around Amusements, LLC, was the winning applicant and on April 17, the Clearwater City Council approved a license agreement under which AAA will provide an inflatable bounce house, wet and dry slides and other inflatable amusements at the park and pay the city $52,500 a year for a license to do so.

“Staff is recommending a flat monthly license fee since the financial oversight and reporting of the percentage basis (that was formerly used) is difficult to manage, and this assures the city of a set amount of revenue that can be budgeted in the General Fund,” a staff memo to the council explained.
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