Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Four North Pinellas mayors discuss ways to share resources

Mayors of four North Pinellas cities are talking about sharing resources, and at least one of the topics they've broached is provocative.

Related News/Archive

The mayors of Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar have met twice so far. And Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold said the group discussed the possibility of placing their fire departments under one leadership team.

Each department would remain intact, he said, but possibly with a single chief and fire marshal.

"There is a potential for putting our forces together and sharing some of our upper management," Steingold said.

The other mayors shared their impressions of the meetings with the St. Petersburg Times, but were reluctant to comment much about that controversial fire department topic.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers emphasized that there was no interest in doing away with his city's fire department and that it would be premature to comment on the subject.

"I certainly wouldn't be comfortable exploring that unless our entire commission said, 'Let's explore that,' " he said.

Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie said discussions were preliminary at best. The issues are "too numerous and complicated" to say the group had any serious discussions on the topic, he said.

And Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker avoided the subject entirely.

He and the other mayors stressed that their conversations were in their infancy and that they were just lone members of elected boards.

"We don't want to step on our fellow commissioners' or council members' toes," said Ronecker, who told fellow leaders about the talks at Tuesday's Oldsmar City Council meeting.

The mayors got together in September and October, both times in Oldsmar — the first time at Panera Bread, the second time at Daddy's Grill, Ronecker said. They asked their city managers to join them at the second meeting.

"We were very careful to say we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," Eggers said. "We're just one person on each of our commissions."

Elected city leaders on the same board, such as two city commissioners, generally can't get together and talk about city business without public notice. That would be a violation of the state's Sunshine Law. But the mayors aren't breaking the law because they cannot make binding decisions together.

The city leaders also talked about the possibility of working together to create a medical clinic for their employees, similar to the one Clearwater started in May 2010.

"You'd have a healthier workforce and the potential for reducing the cost of health care is great," Steingold said.

Since last year, Dunedin has been exploring partnering with Clearwater to provide a clinic for its employees, Eggers said.

The Times recently reported that the city managers of the four cities were talking about a potential recreation partnership. They would, for example, honor one another's resident rates for certain recreational facilities and classes. The mayors said that idea developed from their meetings and would expand on the partnership adopted by Safety Harbor and Oldsmar in 2008.

The north county city leaders plan to meet again in January.

All of the mayors said that ultimately, they're trying to join forces to save the cities and taxpayers money. They're also exploring their common ground, with the realization they have more power as a group than alone.

The population of each of the four cities ranges from just under 13,600 residents to just over 35,000. But together, they represent nearly 90,000 people.

"We all have some common interests, being somewhat smaller cities in Pinellas County," Archie said. "Sometimes we get left out of the big picture."

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

City populations

Dunedin: 35,321

Tarpon Springs: 23,484

Safety Harbor: 16,884

Oldsmar: 13,591

>>fast facts

City populations

Dunedin35,321
Tarpon Springs23,484
Safety Harbor16,884
Oldsmar13,591

Four North Pinellas mayors discuss ways to share resources 11/05/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 5, 2011 1:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Recipe for Chicken Wings with Coconut Sweet Potato Puree

    Cooking

    This dish is an homage to one of my favorite Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dishes: Grilled Beef Skewer With Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree from the Patagonia kiosk. A boniato is a sweet potato with whiter flesh and a typically sweeter flavor. I use standard sweet potatoes in this recipe, plus a little …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  2. Rubio attacked for not attacking 'Antifa'

    Blogs

    The far right is angry with Sen. Marco Rubio for condemning white nationalist groups in Charlottesville -- and faulting President Trump for not doing some more clearly – while not …

  3. Prosecutors tried to delay a trial because of the eclipse. Florida judge cited 'Star Trek' in ruling

    Criminal

    The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but they cannot be stopped by Monday's total eclipse, a judge has ruled.

    Schweta Kulkarni, from left, Rhea Kulkarni and Saanvi Kulkarni, from Seattle, try out their eclipse glasses on the sun at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem, Ore., early Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) ORDR102
  4. Top 5 at Noon: Mayoral race affects ballpark decision; stream the eclipse live

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

    Looking east at Tropicana Field and downtown St. Petersburg.  SCOTT KEELER    |    Times

  5. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

    Blogs

    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …