TARPON SPRINGS — City officials expressed grave disappointment Tuesday about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's refusal to establish an extended slow-speed, minimum-wake zone along the Anclote River.
"We disagree with some of their assessments," said Tarpon Springs police Chief Robert Kochen. "I'm not very confident that they're going to approve anything in this area. One of the things they really want are documented accidents, serious accidents."
In an Aug. 29 letter, state officials said Tarpon Springs and Pasco County did not provide sufficient evidence to support local ordinances for a minimum-wake zone.
"It's pretty tough to swallow that," said Tarpon Springs Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos, citing the 2010 boating death of former City Commissioner Michael Billiris. "I mean, we lost a life there. It can't get any worse than that."
The city plans to research further options for pursuing boating restrictions. Until then, Kochen said, the city must rely on state officers to enforce safety along the Anclote River.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, city commissioners agreed to contribute $7,500 this year to the Sponge Exchange for the maintenance of public restrooms for Sponge Docks visitors. The city will no longer help pay the water bill for the restrooms.