Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo, county may avoid court battle

LARGO — A dispute between the city and Pinellas County over the county's "pre-emption ordinance" may not result in a court battle after all.

On Monday, the county plans to send City Attorney Alan Zimmet a proposed interlocal agreement between the two governments, according to City Manager Mac Craig.

The agreement could resolve a debate prompted by the county's controversial decision to pass a law that usurps certain city powers.

The debate started in September, when the County Commission discussed creating an ordinance that would give the county regulatory control over its properties of "countywide significance" in any of Pinellas' 24 cities.

The ordinance was written after Pinellas officials learned the county would have to pay Largo about $205,000 more in permitting fees for its $81 million public safety complex than it would pay if the complex were built in the unincorporated county.

The County Commission adopted the ordinance in October, over the outcry of officials from some cities. The ordinance gives the county power over county-owned parks, emergency service facilities, courts and public safety facilities, among others, inside city boundaries. And in Largo, the county will not be subject to inspections of the public safety complex by city building officials — it can do its own inspections.

Zimmet told Largo commissioners in September that the county had misinterpreted its own charter and overstepped its powers in passing the ordinance. And until last week, Zimmet recommended pursuing legal action against the county to resolve the dispute.

Then the city manager got a letter from County Administrator Bob LaSala.

The letter, which offered to split the permitting work with the city in a way that kept the costs down, prompted Zimmet to speak more positively to the commission about the possibility of avoiding legal action. (Largo had previously offered to cut its permitting fees for the public safety complex in an effort to prevent the county from passing the ordinance, but that offer was rejected, according to Zimmet).

"I think this is wonderful," Mayor Pat Gerard told Zimmet last Tuesday after hearing that legal action was no longer inevitable.

"I'm thrilled to see this," echoed Commissioner Curtis Holmes.

The proposed agreement would just apply to the public safety complex. Craig had hoped for an agreement that set permitting rules going forward for any county property in the city limits.

"They're going to be doing a lot of interlocal agreements, I guess, if they want to build anything," Craig said.

Zimmet said he would update the City Commission on negotiations during one of its December meetings.

Both the City Commission and County Commission need to approve an interlocal agreement before the county can move forward with the public safety complex, which has a groundbreaking tentatively scheduled for February or March 2012.

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Largo, county may avoid court battle 11/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]