SEMINOLE – The Seminole City Council approved the appointment of seven members to the Charter Review Committee – one for each council member – at its Jan. 28 meeting.
Mayor Leslie Waters nominated Susan Berkowitz, an industrial engineer to the committee, while Vice Mayor Barnhorn nominated St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus Provost Dr. James Olliver. Councilors Chris Burke, John Counts, Bob Matthews, Patricia Plantamura and Jim Quinn nominated Bob Castles, who has sat on the committee in the past; Ann Gardner of the Seminole Lake Country Club Estates Homeowners Association; Linda Cole, who sat on the committee previously; Chuck Oldanie of the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake; and Joe Haynes respectively.
“This is a very important committee,” Waters said. “It only convenes every five years and gives an overview, a look-see as to the relevance and appropriateness of our charter.”
Since 1999, Section 10.03 of the City Charter requires the council to appoint no less than five and no more than nine members to the committee every five years. The council should appoint at least one member who has previously sat on the committee.
Waters suggested that each council member nominate one person for the committee, but Plantamura argued that the council should nominate the maximum number of members to encourage “openness and citizen participation.”
“I think appointing the maximum number of interested parties to serve, that is the number nine, is in the city’s best interest in transparency and inclusiveness,” she said.
She pointed out that past Charter Review Committees have been composed of nine members.
Barnhorn, however, expressed concerns about how they’d select the remaining two members of the committee.
“If only a couple of people on the council know that eighth person, it’s not necessarily a vote of council,” he said. “It needs to be a vote of council as a whole.”
He added, “It’s also been my experience that the more people you put on a committee, the longer it takes them to make a decision on any one thing, including how to spell the word ‘the.’”
“I would give more confidence to the citizens of Seminole that there wouldn’t be confusion,” Plantamura said.
She suggested putting names of volunteers in a hat and pulling them out to fill the remaining spots on the committee.
Moving forward, the council will suggest areas for the committee to review and discuss prior to its first meeting, which has yet to be determined.
In other action items, the council:
• Approved the use of Capital Improvement Project funds for the rehabilitation of storm water conveyance piping adjacent to Pineapple Road, 72nd Terrace, 121st Street and 112th Street. The city set aside $195,000 in CIP funds for the project, which will rehabilitate the failing pipes identified by the city’s Public Works Department with a Cured in Place Pipe and minor joint repairs.
The pipe restoration will cost the city $177,076. The city was able to piggyback on a Pinellas County contract with Layne Inliner LLC.
“To my memory, we haven’t spent money on storm water pipe lines in at least five years,” Waters said.
City Manager Frank Edmunds said that only spot repairs have been made in recent years.
• Authorized the sale of beer and wine by the Rotary Club of Seminole at the Pow Wow Kick-off Party at City Park on Saturday, March 1. This is the first time this free kick-off event will be held at City Park.