BELLEAIR BLUFFS — A resident’s recent comment that the city is paying its code enforcement officer $12,000 a year and he’s not generating that much in fines drew a decisive response from the officer and city officials about the purpose and manner of his duties in the city.
Speaking at the Oct. 14 City Commission meeting, Code Enforcement Deputy Tony DeAngelo said “community policing is about linking with the community and trying to help people get their (code) problems resolved.”
“The people have been willing to work with me,” he said. “It’s about getting things done.”
DeAngelo had the backing of the mayor, City Commission members and the city’s top administrative official.
“We don’t want fines. We want a proactive approach to making sure there are no problems in the city,” said Mayor Chris Arbutine.
“You’re not a revenue source. You’re just solving problems,” Commissioner Suzy Sofer told the deputy.
City Administrator Debra Sullivan said a resident had called her recently to compliment DeAngelo “on his knowledge, patience, kindness and thoroughness on this issue.”
“We’re glad you do that without forcing fines,” Sullivan said.
“Walk your bike” signs get bicyclist reaction
In other news
• Signs on the Belleair Causeway Bridge telling bicyclists to walk rather than ride their bikes on the sidewalks are getting a lot of reaction, mostly negative, from the bicycle riders.
The signs, placed on both ends of the bridge, say, “No bicycle riding allowed on the sidewalk over bridge. Dismount and walk bicycle on sidewalk over bridge.”
The Pinellas County Parks Department installed the signs after several incidents where bicyclists riding on the sidewalk, rather than in the bicycle lane, struck and injured people who were walking over the bridge.
“We’re getting a lot of feedback on those signs, but we’re handling it,” Sullivan said. “Most of them say, ‘I can ride my bike wherever I want.’”
They can, Sullivan said, but “just be careful.”
“People are still riding (on the sidewalk), but they’re more cautious,” said Sofer.
“I haven’t been run over yet,” said Commissioner Taylour Shimkus.
• The Bluffs Plaza shopping center on Indian Rocks Road has been purchased by Erwin Scheuringer, owner of E&E Stakeout restaurant and his wife, Lucia. Scheuringer’s purchase ends the uncertainty over the property following the death of longtime Plaza owner David Berolzheimer in May.
Sullivan announced the change, saying, “We’re in a lot of discussions with them.”
Scheuringer wants to “keep the center exactly as it is and to maintain the neighborhood spirit,” she said.
He also wants to partner with the city on the Christmas holiday event.
The tenants are pleased that the property ownership has stayed within the family of businesses at the plaza, Sullivan said.
• Stephanie Watson, program manager of Recycling Outreach at Pinellas County Solid Waste Department, will speak on “proper recycling” at the commission meeting Monday, Oct. 21.
Recycling has become a hot topic since Waste Management, the city’s trash hauler, raised their rates, and many residents are requesting more information on the subject, Sullivan said.
• Each year a resident and a representative of the business community are chosen to light the Christmas tree at the city’s annual holiday celebration.
This year, the tree lighting will be shared by Cody’s co-owner Stan Sofer, his wife, Caroline, and resident Jeff Lawlor.