Late Night with the Pinellas Commission
CLEARWATER -- The Pinellas County Commission, passing 12:30 a.m., is on its second-to-last item on from a meeting agenda that began at 3 p.m.
The late night action has included:
-- Higher utility rates. A divided board agreed to raise the typical household bill by $1.78 a month, and $1 more if the residence has reclaimed water service. Commissioners Norm Roche strongly opposed the measures, along with critics Nancy Bostock and Neil Brickfield. They balked at including a four-year plan for more increases automatically in the approval, although the commission will review rates annually, too. A few people complained.
-- Repealed gun regulations. Thanks to state law, the county must repeal firearm restrictions. The vote was 5-2 because Roche and Commissioner Ken Welch opposed the state legislation, which threatens to remove them from office if they don't follow it. Roche asked fellow commissioners to complain to the county's legislative delegation.
-- Redistricting. Subtle changes to three of the four single-member districts were made, essentially shifting more of Lealman into Welch's District 7 and moving part of west Bardmoor into John Morroni's District 6 from Karen Seel's District 5. Unlike other area counties, Pinellas lost population over the past decade. No one spoke at the 12:36 a.m. public hearing. This School Board is supposed to mirror the districts.