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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Cut county commissioners' aides, save the environment?



Tarpon Springs Mayor Beverley Billiris wants the Pinellas County Commission to spare the Brooker Creek Preserve's education center from mothball-style budget cuts.

Billiris, who also happens to be running to unseat County Commissioner Susan Latvala in this year's GOP primary, offered this alternative in a letter (Brooker Creek Preserve Env. Education Center) to Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel:

"As you are looking at your overall budget, have you discussed looking at the County Commissioner's (sic) own budget? It is my understanding that each Commissioner has a secretary at a cost of $40K plus benefits a year. Have you considered cutting some of that cost by having a secretary for the Commission Chair and one secretary to cover the needs of the rest of the board or any reduction to save costs? This would be a savings of $200,000 plus."

Billiris's letter also says even temporarily closing Brooker would be "devastating" and cutting the commissioners' spending would send a "powerful message" that the board is willing to sacrifice to keep parks and preserves open.

The county is trying to cut $60 million for the 2011 budget, which still leaves $20 million to cut for 2012.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:27pm]


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