LARGO - The city of Largo will spend $817,000 more in property tax revenue in fiscal year 2015, which starts Oct. 1, as compared to the current year, funding an additional police officer, two school resource officers, additional IT personnel and other part-time positions.
The new police officer is one of two unfunded positions in the police department. During the first budget hearing Sept. 4, Commissioner Curtis Holmes proposed adding in the second unfunded position to the budget, at the cost of $75,000 for salary and benefits. The addition to the budget would bring the general fund’s available fund balance - essentially savings for citywide emergencies - to 9.8 percent of total expenditures, below the recommended 10 percent minimum.
“In my professional opinion, I would think that would be unacceptable,” said Amy Davis, manager for the city’s office of management and budget.
LARGO - Largo commissioners spoke in favor of a program Sept. 9 that would allow the city to forgive liens against a rundown or abandoned property after a new owner fixes it up.
The new program would mirror the city of St. Petersburg’s successful code lien release program. City administration would be allowed to work with the new owner to correct ongoing code enforcement violations and bring the property up to the city’s standards. In exchange, the city’s Code Enforcement Board would reduce the fines levied against the property in lieu of a $250 administrative fee.
The commissioners were in support of the idea, which they had proposed implementing in a previous work session.
LARGO - Brian Usher, director of Public Works for the city of Largo, was recently selected as president-elect of the American Public Works Association, or APWA, for the 2014-2015 year.
The association’s approximately 29,000 members elected Usher. He will lead with APWA’s new president, Larry Stevens; immediate past president, Edward A. Gottko and other public works professionals on the 17-member board of directors.
LARGO - The Kiwanis Club of Largo/Mid-Pinellas gave two donations - $500 to the Suncoast Voices For Children and $250 to the West Coast Players - during its meeting Sept. 5.
The Suncoast Voices for Children provides financial assistance and community resources for abused and neglected children in the foster care system of Pinellas and Pasco counties.
The organization provides beds, cribs, playpens, school supplies, clothing and more to help each child feel cared for and provide motivation to overcome the obstacles of foster care so they can succeed in life. For more information about the group, visit www.suncoastchildren.org.
LARGO - Summer may be ending, but the bikinis are here to stay year-round - and that’s because Ker’s WingHouse Bar & Grill is unveiling its 20th annual WingHouse Girls Swimsuit Calendar.
“We are incredibly excited about this year’s WingHouse Girls Swimsuit Calendar and think it’s one of the best we’ve produced to date,” said Crawford Ker CEO and founder of Ker’s WingHouse Bar & Grill. “It’s hard to believe we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary of both the calendar and the restaurant, but it makes this year’s calendar very special to me and our loyal customers.”
The calendar is now available at all 24 WingHouse locations throughout Florida, with the offering of a $5 dine-in coupon to purchasers.
LARGO - Virginia Jeffrey, 91, strolled out of the iPad class, at Royal Palms in Largo Sept. 2, with a pleased expression on her face.
“I learned more today than I usually do,” she said happily.
The pronouncement is an impressive one, considering how much she has learned since she received her first mini iPad from her son for her 90th birthday last year. The class, taught by technology instructor Polly Bateman, is Jeffrey’s third.
LARGO - The city of Largo is looking to expand its tuition reimbursement program offered to employees who are seeking to further their education.
Largo commissioners considered a resolution amending the city’s personnel regulations Sept. 2. The current provision has allowed 84 employees last year and 94 in the current year to use city funds to take college or university classes toward a new degree.
The expanded program would be renamed the “Educational Cost Reimbursement” benefit, reflecting the ability for employees to use the funds to pay for books and course-related fees. The finance department fields a lot of questions on what can and cannot be reimbursed every year, said management analyst Tyler Thompson.
LARGO - Largo commissioners delayed increasing their salaries until after residents vote on charter amendment that would allow their salaries to increase automatically.
Commissioners decided to add the charter amendment to the Nov. 4 ballot precisely to avoid the “awkward” discussion that again occurred during their meeting Sept. 2. Up for their consideration was the 3 percent salary increase granted to the rest of the non-union employees in the upcoming fiscal year, the budget for which will be approved this month. That would increase the mayor’s salary from $20,180 per year to $20,786 and the commissioners’ salaries from $13,454 to $13,857 annually.
Commissioners Michael Smith again voiced his dissent of the increase and vowed to donate back any salary increase he received to a city department.
LARGO - The city of Largo’s property tax rate and budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year will be considered in two public hearings set for Thursday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m., and Tuesday, Sept. 16, 6 p.m., in the commission chambers of Largo City Hall, 201 Highland Ave.
The Largo tax rate published in the property appraiser’s Truth in Millage, or TRIM, notice is 5.19 mills, or $5.19 per $1,000 in taxable property value. Commissioners could decide to further decrease the rate the final tax rate, but it can’t be increased.
The rate for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, is only a slight decrease from the current year’s rate of 5.2139 mills.
LARGO - Gabi Emery, daughter of Nathan and Lori Emery, departed Aug. 19 for the Missionary Training Center to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Like all Latter-day Saint missionaries, Emery will serve without pay from the church. Her financial support will come from funds she and her parents have saved for that purpose. She will be serving in the San Pablo, Philippines Tagalog-speaking mission for 18 months.
Clearwater Community Woman’s Club general meeting CLEARWATER – The public is invited to the Clearwater Community Woman’s Club general meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 11:30 a.m., at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N. Osceola Ave.
There will be a 30-minute presentation by Laurallyn Segur, the director of foster care licensing and recruitment with the Eckerd Foundation’s Community Alternatives Division.
Segur received her BSW from Florida State University and began her career at a residential facility for adolescent boys. Since then she has served for more than 30 years in multiple capacities and leadership positions in child welfare, including serving at the agency now known as the Department of Children and Families.
In her current position, she oversees 21 employees who are responsible for recruiting, training, supporting and licensing foster homes; as well as overseeing more than 350 of those foster homes. She is committed and passionate about children and families.
Ladies Travel Group September dinner CLEARWATER – The Ladies Travel Group will host its September dinner on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 6 p.m., at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, 2680 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. Men and couples are also welcome.
The program will be a presentation on river cruising. Two members will present pictures and information on their recent Ama Waterways River Cruise for Tulip Time in the Netherlands. The group’s Nov. 13 Ama River Cruise to Paris and Normandy also will be presented.
People can still sign up for a December trip to St. Augustine for the Christmas lights viewing.
Contact Kathy Pedreira at 542-4679 or 729-4025 to RSVP.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
Qi Gong meditation classes ST. PETE BEACH – Weekly Qi Gong moving meditation classes are held Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m., at the Warren Webster Center, 1500 Pass-A-Grille Way.
The cost is $10 per class.
Classes are lead by acupuncture physician Joyce Lockwood who studied Qi Gong in China and
is certified as a Qi Gong practice leader in the U.S. through the Institute of Integral Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates slow graceful movements, breathing techniques and deep relaxation.
Tampa Bay Women Speakers Toastmasters Club meeting
PALM HARBOR – The Tampa Bay Women Speakers Toastmasters Club 1427169 meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at The Centre of Palm Harbor, Room A, 1500 16th St., 7 to 8:30 p.m. The upcoming meetings are Dec. 3 and 17.
The group also has a social meeting every second and fourth Tuesday of the of the month at Sea Dogs Brewing Company, 26200 U.S. 19, Clearwater in a private room at 6:30 p.m. Come and mingle, socialize and eat dinner with fellow Toastmasters members and guests. The meeting is 7 to 8:30 p.m. The group will meet Dec. 10 only because the fourth Tuesday is Christmas Eve.
Thorn Collection Kids fundraiser BELLEAIR BLUFFS – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Thorn Collection Kids will be serving up refreshing lemonade for a donation to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 4 to 6 p.m., at 598 Indian Rocks Road N.
All proceeds will go to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. For information, visit www.marthathorn.com.
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.
The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.
Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.