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Seminole Beacon
Library agreement takes shape
New deal would continue cooperative past current 2013 expiration
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SEMINOLE – City leaders took the first step Sept. 25 toward a possible new inter-local agreement for the operation of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative by approving a draft proposal.

The next step will be for Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds to submit the 18-page document to Pinellas County leaders for feedback.

The purpose of the agreement is to allow the cooperative to continue offering library services throughout Pinellas County. The current agreement, which went into effect in 2001, expires on Sept. 30, 2013.

In addition to the Seminole Community Library, other members of the cooperative are the Clearwater Public Library System, Dunedin Public Library, East Lake Community Library, Gulf Beaches Public Library in Madeira Beach, Gulfport, Largo and Oldsmar public libraries; Palm Harbor Library, Pinellas County Talking Book Library, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Pete Beach and Tarpon Springs public libraries; and the St. Petersburg Public Library System.

“For the past year, the city managers of the consortium have been working on a revision allowing the co-op to continue after its current expiration,” said Edmunds. “Among the primary changes is a change in governance, whereby a city providing the service will have a greater representation on the governing board. It does slightly improve the definition of the funding formula whereby the county will be obligated to fund their share of the cost.”

Edmunds said 85 percent of the co-op’s expense is currently funded by municipalities and 15 percent by the county.

Under terms of the proposed agreement, the county would provide financial support equal to that of the co-op members, which would be calculated on a per capita basis.

Also, the maximum the county could levy for library services is .5 mill per year.

The co-op’s board of directors would be made up of nine directors and two non-voting ex officio members.

One of the nine directors would represent Seminole, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar and would serve a two-year term.

In other action:

• The City Council approved on final reading a fiscal 2013 tax millage rate of 2.4793, which is 4.09 percent decrease from the rolled back rate of 2.5849.

• Councilors unanimously adopted on second reading the fiscal 2013 general fund budget of $14.86 million, the special events fund budget of $89,150 and the tree/landscape mitigation fund budget of $50,000. The general fund figure represents an 8 percent decrease in spending from a year ago.

• Edmunds reported the Firefighters Pension Trust Fund lost $1.05 million for the quarter ending June 30. Total assets in the fund are $32.5 million. The total return from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2012 was 1.66 percent. The actuarial assumption is 7.75 percent, which means the city will have to make up the difference.

• Edmunds said The Kiwanis Club of Seminole has asked the city to use the property north of the former Seminole Chamber of Commerce building on 113th Street for its annual Christmas tree sale. This year’s sale will begin Monday, Nov. 12 and go through Friday, Dec. 21.

• Edmunds announced that St. Petersburg College would soon be erecting a sign for its proposed marine science center at Hurricane Hole, just east of Madeira Beach Elementary School. The college also plans a natural habitat trail that the city would be a partner in. No other details were released.

• Edmunds reported that five of 11 proposed Florida Constitution amendments would have impact on local government financing, according to information from Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov. Edmunds said if amendments 2, 4, 9, 10 and 11 pass, it would cause an estimated reduction in taxable values in Seminole of $16.5 million, which would result in an estimated $41,000 decrease in tax dollars for the city. “These are all constitutional amendments and we have to be very, very careful what we put onto a sacred document like the Florida Constitution,” said Vice Mayor Leslie Waters. “Putting unnecessary things that could perhaps be passed by the Legislature instead of amending the Constitution needs to be looked at.”

• Councilors passed a motion to retain Gulfport Vice Mayor Sam Henderson as the city’s rep on the Pinellas Planning Council. Henderson represents Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, South Pasadena and Seminole.
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