INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District is increasing assessments by $100 for single-family homes, apartments, condos and timeshares for the next fiscal year.
For months, district officials built their case to raise the assessment, noting that without more revenue or a reduction in services, their operations would be in an untenable financial situation by 2024. District voters approved the proposed increases in a March 12 referendum.
At a meeting Sept. 25, the district board of commissioners took the final step in the approval process for the increasing non-ad valorem assessments for fiscal year 2019. Under a resolution adopted unanimously by the commission that evening, the assessments for single-family homes, apartments, condos and timeshares will increase to $360.
Assessments for commercial units up to 500 square feet increase from $286 to $386; motel units, mobile home lots and recreational vehicle lots rise from $165 to $265; and all other categories are unchanged.
Nobody in the audience spoke in opposition to the resolution.
In other action that evening, the board voted 3-1 to appoint David Ardman, a project manager for the design firm of EXP, to fill a vacancy on the board of commissioners created by the resignation in June of Laura Martin. She moved out of Indian Rocks Beach, the area she represented.
Ardman said in an interview with the board of commissioners Aug. 27 that he has relative experience that can be applied to the position stemming from his early career in New York, where he served as a public information officer for the New York State Thruway Authority.
The vote to appoint Ardman angered John Pfanstiehl, a who attends the commission meetings and other local government meetings.
“What the hell is wrong with you guys?” said Pfanstiehl. “You picked somebody who has no experience.”
“That’s your opinion Mr. Pfanstiehl,” board Chairman Joseph Bruni replied.
There was no further discussion among commissioners regarding their votes.
Commissioner David Gardella cast his vote for Daniel Mynsberge, a retired firefighter/EMT, and a former facilities and logistics manager for the American Red Cross. Mark Moston, owner of Moston’s Business and Sporting Apparel in Belleair Bluffs, was the third applicant.
Ardman will serve until the November 2020 special election and will be sworn in at the next City Commission meeting.