Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo candidate Robert Hunsicker criticizes city spending, but some question his claims

LARGO — With many national and state campaigns falling into a morass of mudslinging, candidates for Largo's two City Commission seats have been mostly cordial — so much so that on their websites and printed material, the most prominent displays are credentials, not specific attacks.

While nearly every candidate has come out against "spending" in its various incarnations (reckless, unnecessary, excessive), one candidate, Robert Hunsicker, points to specific city pro- jects he views as particularly wasteful in a mailer sent to city voters.

One claim in Hunsicker's "Did you know your tax dollars support … " mailer says the city spends $9,000 per week supporting the Largo Cultural Center. That's true, Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert acknowledges.

But two others — palm tree planting along medians and community center trips to the Hard Rock Casino — are misleading, some say.

Former City Commissioner Gay Gentry takes issue with the claim that the city spent "$5,200 per palm tree from Arizona."

"What they don't say is that the tax dollars we're talking about aren't Largo city tax dollars. Those trees were purchased through Department of Transportation funds," Gentry said. "I find that wording misleading. … I just found it distasteful."

Although Gentry isn't an unbiased observer — she contributed to Hunsicker's rival, incumbent Harriet Crozier — her claim is mostly true, city officials say.

Schubert said the money for the palm trees imported from Arizona that line some city medians came from a Florida Department of Transportation grant. If the city didn't accept and spend the money, it would have gone to another municipality, he said.

Hunsicker said while it is true most of the trees were paid for with grant money, others, such as those planted in Largo Central Park, were paid for with city funds.

Another claim by Hunsicker is that the city pays for trips to the casino and Ellenton mall for senior residents who participate in a community center program.

Schubert said the city does offer trips to those locations through one of its senior programs, but the trips are funded by fees paid by the participants and are cost-neutral — the type of things cities should do to enrich residents' lives.

Hunsicker disagrees with the explanation.

"They may be hiding some of the overhead," he said.

Dominick Tao can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 580-2951.

Largo candidate Robert Hunsicker criticizes city spending, but some question his claims 10/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FBI: Florida man sympathized with IS, wanted to bomb mall


    MIAMI (AP) — A Florida man who described himself as a sympathizer of the Islamic State extremist group faces terrorism-related charges stemming from a purported plot to bomb a Miami-area shopping mall, according to court documents filed Monday.

    An undated file image posted on an extremist website on Jan. 14, 2014, shows fighters from the Islamic State group marching in Raqqa, Syria. The group champions a hyper-religious lifestyle grounded in a self-proclaimed caliphate, but most recruits have a superficial understanding of religion and are largely ignorant in the laws of Islam. [Militant photo, via Associated Press]
  2. Frog Pond restaurant opens new location in downtown St. Petersburg


    There's a new option for breakfast and lunch in downtown St. Petersburg.

    Frog Pond's original location, seen here in 2006, has been open in North Redington Beach for 35 years. A new Frog Pond restaurant opened in St. Petersburg this week.
  3. Estuary wins pier design contest for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway extension

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — And the winner is… Estuary.

    Voters overwhelmingly supported a pier design called Estuary for the $200-million extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa.
[Courtesy of AECOM]
  4. What to watch and listen to this week: Halloween offerings, best spooky podcasts


    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    The Halloween kids classic The Nightmare Before Christmas airs this week on Freeform.
  5. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]