SEMINOLE — State and county leaders have each started to implement plans focusing on the recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic. But plenty of uncertainty still lies ahead.
Seminole leaders know that, which is why they examined the pandemic’s effect on the finances of the city and its businesses April 28.
Councilor Jim Olliver said he also wants the city to start thinking about recovery by joining an effort with St. Petersburg College and the Seminole Chamber of Commerce.
“I’ve been working with the college and the chamber and the county, and we’re looking at putting together … a Seminole recovery working group to focus on communication and looking at potential recovery initiatives,” he said.
He said the group would work on strategies to help the business community, but he wanted the city’s support in putting the message out that help is available.
Vice Mayor Chris Burke supported the idea and said the city needs to be a leader.
“We are an independent political subdivision in Seminole; we should have our own working group to get Seminole reopened and not just rely on what the county decides to tell us to do,” he said.
Councilors also focused on the city’s own finances.
City Manager Ann Toney-Deal said staff performed an analysis of where the city stands now and where it might be at the end of the fiscal year.
She said a decrease in revenue from recreation services and the Penny for Pinellas sales tax would deliver the biggest hits to the city.
“We’re looking at maybe worst-case scenario is $275,000, provided we do not have another spike in the COVID virus,” she said.
However, she said the city’s reserves should be more than enough to weather the storm.
“For right now, the city of Seminole is in an excellent financial position to address the COVID issue to not have to … recommend furloughs, layoffs or addressing program cuts at this time,” she said.
Councilor Jim Quinn wondered whether those measures should be further explored. Toney-Deal said she would advise against it.
“I would not recommend a dialogue of layoffs, freezing positions at this point, because, unlike many cities in the state, we are pretty bare bones to begin with,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of layers of employees and if we start doing that, we will start compromising our level of service.”
50th anniversary events
Councilors began the meeting by planning for better times ahead. The pandemic forced the city to cancel its yearlong slate of 50th anniversary events, which was to culminate in November with a birthday celebration.
Therefore, the city’s 50th Anniversary Committee recommended rescheduling all the events for 2021. The November birthday celebration is still scheduled to take place Nov. 15. The city had previously said it was also hoping to reschedule this year’s Pow Wow Festival & Parade, which was canceled, in November. Toney-Deal told Tampa Bay Newspapers on May 1 that won’t be happening after all, and the next Pow Wow will be held in March.
Here’s a lineup of next year’s events.
Feb. 6 – Family Night Out at Seminole City Park
April 4 – Seminole Historic Cemetery Tour
April 16 – Murder Mystery Dinner at Parkview Room
May 16 – Holloway Haven Garden Tour at Holloway Haven House
June 12 – Food Truck Rally at Seminole Recreation Center
July 17 – Seminole Scavenger Hunt (begins at Seminole Recreation Center)
Sept. 13 – A Taste of Seminole at Parkview Room