LARGO - Building Official William Ondulich has resigned, following a complaint to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation that employees in Largo’s building division were approving construction plans without proper licenses.
The complaint, made by a city inspector who was put on administrative leave Sept. 22 for a reportedly unrelated issue, stated that Ondulich knew the city’s three plans examiners signed off plans they weren’t qualified to review. The Largo Leader has reviewed documentation that may back up the accusations.
The cost for lack of expertise perceived by local contractors who deal with the city on a regular basis is loss of time and money during tight construction schedules. In the cases of some larger projects - including the new Walmarts on Ulmerton Road and Missouri Avenue and Largo’s Wawa - portions of plumbing had to be removed and reinstalled in the middle of construction when it was found that the plans didn’t meet state building standards.
LARGO - The Largo Central Park Market is making a move for the upcoming season October through May. The new Largo Downtown Market will still be held the first and third Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but it will be held at Ulmer Park, at 301 West Bay Drive.
Vendors offer fresh produce and eggs, arts and crafts along with hot food and cold drinks. The market also accepts SNAP/EBT. Opening day is Saturday, Oct. 3, and will feature local musician David Lyon, who will be performing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking is free on all streets around Ulmer Park, and signs will be posted directing shoppers to additional parking lots within walking distance.
LARGO - While on the job, Largo Fire Rescue Chief Shelby Willis shows up to City Hall in a spotless uniform. At Highland Recreation Complex in Largo on Sept. 19, however, she was far from spotless.
But thanks to her son, Brody, she certainly wasn’t mad. For local families, Sept. 19 was a night filled with dancing and plenty of dirt during a pair of events held by the city.
Dads and daughters broke out the formal wear for the 38th annual Daddy Daughter Date Night at Largo Community Center. The dance, which had an Under the Sea theme this year, featured dinner, dessert and props for photos.
LARGO - It seems fitting that 158 Ridge Apartment Homes, a new residential development project in the West Bay Drive Community Redevelopment District, will be built on property that was once Stepping Stone apartments.
Fitting because city commissioners hope the project will be the next stepping-stone to bigger and better things for downtown Largo.
Downtown hasn’t had a new residential development project since 2000. For several years, city staff has worked to change that. Those efforts took another step forward recently, as the Largo City Commission, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, approved the use of an incentive program for a development.
LARGO - Ram Tool Construction Supply Company recently announced the acquisition of Jim & Slim’s Tool Supply of Largo.
Ram Tool is a construction supply company, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, that focuses on providing commercial contractors timely job site products and personal service throughout the lifecycle of their projects.
CLEARWATER - Largo resident and retired Raymond James Financial executive Lynn Pippenger added the Citizen of the Year award to her résumé during the 63rd annual Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce Meeting and Awards Breakfast on Sept. 8 in Sand Key.
But as a library assistant who knows what it takes to maintain an institution, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith has another word to describe Pippenger: “godsend.”
“She has done so much for our library foundation,” Smith said.
LARGO - Final pleas from Largo residents to reduce the proposed property tax increase weren’t enough to sway Largo City Commissioners on Sept. 15 during the second and final public hearing on the budget for the next fiscal year.
Commissioners voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve the hike to 5.37 mills, or $5.37 per $1,000 in taxable value, and voted 6-0 to approve the $147,687,500 budget, of which $67,593,700 is in the General Fund.
The increased millage rate, which equals the rollback rate plus 8.72 percent, is expected to net the city nearly $1.9 million more than last year. Some of that money is designed to pay for 3 percent merit raises as well as to better staff the Largo Police Department and Fire Rescue, which has battled understaffing that has led to nearly $1 million in overtime expenses.
TARPON SPRINGS - After falling behind 10-0 early, things were looking grim for Largo against Tarpon Springs on Sept. 11.
But someone failed to tell the Packers defense and running back John Clark that the game was over, because Largo scored 18 straight points to rally for a 18-10 victory at Tarpon Springs.
Clark ran for 123 yards and scored two touchdowns, while the Packers defense stiffened to shut out the Spongers the rest of the way for the victory.
Packers senior quarterback sealed the win in the final minutes of the fourth quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Dakarai Allen. Thomas finished the game 13-for-17 for 161 yards and one touchdown. He also tacked on 61 rushing yards to help carry Largo (2-1).
LARGO - After nearly two years, Largo Fire Rescue Engine 38 is now in service thanks to the hard work of Jerry Castellano, the Engine 38 build committee - Steve Brannen, Dan Waters, Gary Glenn - and all of the crews at Fire Station 38, the city of Largo annouced.
The first committee meeting took place in November 2013. The purchase of the engine was delayed several months because of contract negotiations with the county. Since then, the committee has spent hours researching tools, determining the layout of the compartments and mounting equipment. The engine comes equipped with a new computer, new mobile and new portable radios, a new thermal imager, new tools and a new 4-gas monitor.