County commissioners focus on airport business

Starting Nov. 25, Pinellas County residents will be able to fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, aka PIE.

LARGO — Starting Nov. 25, Pinellas County residents will be able to fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, aka PIE.

Pinellas County Commissioners gave unanimous approval to an airline operating and use agreement with Sun Country Airlines Oct. 12 for the new flight. The five-year agreement for fiscal years 2022-2026 will provide PIE with direct revenues of about $652,971.

Sun County Airlines is an American ultra-low-cost passenger and cargo airline. It is the 11th largest in the United States by passengers carried. The plane traveling to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul has a seating capacity of 186.

Commissioners also approved bids for rental car concession services at the airport with four firms: Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida, doing business as Alamo Rent a Car; Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida, doing business as Enterprise Rent a Car; Enterprise Leasing Company, doing business as National Car; and Avis Budget Car Rental, doing business as Avis and Budget.

Estimated revenue from the contract, which is effective through Sept. 30, 2024, is $11,789,135.

Commissioners said yes to a bid from Eveland Brothers Inc. to replace the airport’s portal gates 7-11.

Three bids were submitted and staff recommended Eveland as the lowest responsive and responsible bidder with an amount of $854,298. All work is to be completed within 120 days from notice to proceed.

The last bit of business involving the airport has more to do with its leadership. Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution designating the airport director position within the Senior Management Service Class of the Florida Retirement System.

In other business, the commission approved recommendations from the Tourist Development Council for funding of elite events including a waiver of requirements for St. Pete Bikefest, which will receive up to $75,000, instead of $25,000 as originally awarded. The consensus was to monitor the event to see how it adhered to program guidelines.

Commissioners OK’d funding of $275,000 to the National Forensic Science Technology Center at Florida International University for the purchase and installation of a shared Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, aka Multi-use SCIF.

Commissioners said yes to a grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the First Responders Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant. The four-year grant provides $499,999 per year to expand the first responders Naloxone program through increased training and distribution. It also is designed to increase connections to community substance use treatment services among overdose patients.

Commissioners also approved:

• A resolution adopting the county’s comprehensive emergency management plan.

• An agreement with 211 Tampa Bay Cares for administration of the Adult Emergency Financial Assistance Program.

• Provider agreements with several hospitals to provide health program and health care for the homeless.

Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at sporter@tbnweekly.com.