Ballots headed for the mail

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has tentatively scheduled ballot mailings for the Nov. 8 general election for eligible Pinellas County registered voters with mail ballot requests on file.

Mail ballots are set to go out on Sept. 24 to absent military and overseas voters who have requested ballots to date. State law requires ballots for absent military and overseas voters to be mailed at least 45 days prior to an election.

Mail ballots to domestic voters who have requested ballots to date are set to go out on Oct. 6. State law requires domestic ballots to be mailed between 40 and 33 days prior to an election.

Absent military and overseas voters include all active-duty military, their spouses and dependents currently absent from their Pinellas County places of residence, and civilians who are U.S. citizens residing outside the United States. Domestic voters are legal residents of Pinellas County, including civilian voters and active-duty military members who vote in Pinellas County.

Additional mail ballot requests will be fulfilled as received. To request a mail ballot, visit VotePinellas.gov, call 727-464-VOTE (8683), or email MailBallot@VotePinellas.gov. The deadline to request that a ballot be mailed is Saturday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m. 

Mail ballots must be received at one of the Supervisor of Elections Offices by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8. Voters are advised to allow at least one week for their ballot to be returned by mail to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Voted mail ballots cannot be accepted at polling places on Election Day, though voters can surrender them to a poll worker and vote in person.

 

Hike in disposal rates coming

The Pinellas County Department of Solid Waste’s disposal rate for municipal solid waste, commercial and yard waste will increase by an average of 6.8% beginning Oct. 1. The increase is the first of a three-year rate increase plan approved by the County Commission in 2022. 

The approved disposal rate for municipal, commercial and yard waste will increase from $44.70 to $47.75 per ton.

In addition, the surcharge for out-of-county municipal solid waste, commercial waste and yard waste is proposed to increase from $44.70 to $47.75 per ton, which is in addition to the per ton disposal fee of $47.75. The second proposed fee is for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits.

The Department of Solid Waste also is updating the PPE policy and will require closed-toed shoes in all areas of the Solid Waste Disposal Complex. At the Waste-to-Energy facility, landfill, and mulch/tire processing area, eye protection, safety helmet and high-visibility shirt or vest will also be required. Customers can use their own PPE, but a kit will be offered for sale at a $20 fee to assist customers who may not have the required equipment upon entry to the complex.  

The proposed fees will be considered by the BCC during the second public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget on Sept. 22 beginning at 6 p.m.

The flat rate for passenger vehicles, unmodified pickup trucks and vans, special handling services fee, contractor surcharge, the special rate for Christmas trees and the tire fee remain unchanged. 

The additional revenue generated from the disposal rate increase will offset future lost revenue, as the current 30-year power purchase agreement with Duke Energy will expire Dec. 31, 2024. The revenues are necessary to fund operations and maintenance expenses for the Waste-to-Energy facility, landfill and several solid waste programs.

The Waste-to-Energy facility processes an average of 2,800 tons of solid waste per day while generating 75 megawatt hours of renewable electrical energy. In 2021, the facility reduced nearly 1.2 billion pounds of waste by 90 percent of its volume and generated enough electricity to power the equivalent of 45,000 single family homes per day while recovering and recycling the equivalent amount of metal in approximately 19,000 automobiles from the incineration process.

For more information about Pinellas County Department of Solid Waste and the Waste-to-Energy facility, visit www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste

 

Tourist board has openings

Pinellas County is accepting applications for three appointments to the Tourist Development Council for a term of four years beginning Nov. 1. 

The TDC is an advisory council comprised of 12 members appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to make recommendations as to the effective use and expenditures of tourist development tax revenues.

The BCC chair, or any other county commissioner designated by the chair, shall serve as the chair of the council. Four members of the council shall be elected municipal officials, one of whom shall be from the most populous municipality; one from the municipality in which the greatest percentage of tourist development tax revenue is generated; one from among the cities of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, St. Pete Beach, and Treasure Island; and one from a city that is not specifically named in this section.

Seven members of the council shall be persons who are involved in the tourist industry and who have demonstrated an interest in tourist development, of which no less than three or more than four members shall be owners or operators of motels, hotels, recreational vehicle parks, or other tourist accommodations in the county and subject to the bed tax. 

All members of the council shall be electors of the county. The members of the council shall serve for staggered terms of four years. All members of the TDC must be registered to vote in Pinellas.

There are currently three positions open for a TDC appointment — two appointees from the tourism-related category, and one from the hotel/motel category.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. The application can be found at www.pinellascounty.org/boards.

Please Note: All materials submitted to Pinellas County government are subject to the public records law of the state of Florida.