Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Dunedin commissioners wary as they start 2014 budget planning

DUNEDIN — Statewide growth in population, jobs, building permits and home sales isn't yet at high enough levels to spur significant jumps in revenue in Dunedin, city officials said Tuesday.

Finance director Karen Feeney said Penny for Pinellas revenues remain below projections — roughly $2.8 million versus the annual $3.4 million projected when voters approved the 1-cent sales tax program years ago.

However, she said, Penny revenues last year fared better than expected. And she anticipates a slight increase by the end of this fiscal year and next, which would be in line with county and state projections.

Nonetheless, as Dunedin city commissioners start discussions about the 2014 city budget, they remain cautious, given the slow recovery of the economy.

Penny for Pinellas, approved in 1990, distributes the sales tax revenues among cities and the county to reduce reliance on property taxes to pay for capital improvements like roads, bridges and parks.

"We're short really every year throughout the rest of the Penny," which ends in 2020, Mayor Dave Eggers said during a Tuesday morning workshop. "So let's not keep reaching into the Penny for magical solutions. We don't have the money, according to this. In fact, we not only don't have the money, but we have to come up with some other ways to make this balance."

That balance so far, Feeney said, has included taking one project — an $860,000 Patricia Avenue realignment — off the table for now and decreasing the cost of a few other capital projects.

For example, the city will push on with reconstructing San Christopher Drive and Michigan Boulevard, extending the roads' useful life 15 to 20 years. However, public works staff on Tuesday recommended shaving $1 million or more from the cost of each road by foregoing the addition of modern features like curbs, gutters, bike lanes or sidewalks.

Citing a countywide push for pedestrian-friendly communities, Eggers asked staff to research the cost of adding bike lanes.

He also wants to review how savings from the months-old citywide recycling program might affect trash rates, while Commissioner Julie Scales wants to explore the possibility of rolling out varying trash bin sizes.

Other items commissioners asked staffers to try to find money for include:

• 2 percent employee raises, which officials hope will increase morale.

• Professional development training and travel funds for employees. Commissioners believe the move would increase employee retention.

• An increase in commissioners' personal budgets from $750 to $2,000 annually to help fund training. According to Scales, commissioners' budgets have been cut over the years by 80 percent and the proposed amount is still half of what commissioners previously received.

The next budget year starts Oct. 1. Dunedin has a budget workshop set for May and three in July. Commissioners will adopt a final budget following public hearings in September.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 11 hours ago