Property tax rate going up in 2014
As expected, Dunedin city commissioners on Thursday night approved the 2014 city budget and a property tax rate increase by a 3-1 vote. Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski voted no and Mayor Dave Eggers was absent due to a death in his family.
The $72.5 million budget includes a 10 percent increase in the city property tax rate, from 3.3817 mills to 3.7345. A resident who paid $338 this year will pay $373 next year.
Patricia Emrick of Patricia Avenue was the only resident who spoke during Thursday's public hearing. She said the city's ability to set aside excess risk safety fund reserves for "non-essential" expenditures like an expansion at the Dunedin Fine Art Center made her question the need for the tax rate jump.
Commissioners Ron Barnette, Julie Scales and Heather Gracy said the increase was necessary to maintain the city's level of public services.
Bujalski and Eggers have said they wanted to hold off at least a year to give the economy time to improve and the city's new finance director time to study alternatives.
Group honors city manager for his work
The Florida Association of Museums has named Dunedin City Manager Rob DiSpirito its 2013 Outstanding Public Official.
The honor is awarded annually to a public official whose work is a model of government support of the museum field. DiSpirito was nominated by the Dunedin Historical Museum, which lauded his commitment to Dunedin's culture and history as demonstrated by his:
• Ongoing donations of historical items from his personal collection for museum displays.
• Quest to preserve waterfront land now known as Weaver Park and the former Fenway Hotel and other buildings that have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
• Support of the city's citizen-led Arts & Culture Committee.
• Push for city funding of "quality of life" expansion projects at the museum and the Dunedin Fine Art Center.
DiSpirito was recognized Thursday night by the City Commission while his wife, son and daughter looked on. He said the award truly belongs to the commissioners, city staffers and residents who supported the measures.
College and Career Fair is Wednesday
Countryside High School, 3000 State Road 580 in Clearwater, will hold its fifth annual College and Career Fair from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The event is free and open to the public.
The school is inviting representatives from colleges, universities, vocational and technical schools and the military to disseminate information about their programs and institutions. Attendees will get details on how to apply to colleges, how to research scholarship opportunities, the financial aid application process and interview tips. Call (727) 588-6000 for information.
Time to get geared up for the Box Car Rally
Register by Friday for Achieva Credit Union's fourth annual Box Car Rally, to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Cleveland Street District of downtown Clearwater.
The family-friendly event will feature food, drinks, music, children's games, face painting, balloons, raffles, merchant tables and awards.
Organizers expect about 60 box car drivers and more than 1,200 spectators. There are five race classes: pee-wee (ages 7-12), teen (ages 13-17), adult (ages 18 and over), corporate and high school. Each race class will feature two box car divisions — homemade (the shell is built from scratch, but the axle may be purchased) and All-American Soap Box Derby style.
Proceeds support Pinellas County classrooms through the Pinellas Education Foundation's grant program..
For additional information about the Box Car Rally, visit achievacu.com.
Services agency board has spots
The Pinellas County Commission is accepting applications for four vacancies on the board of the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency Inc. The nonprofit corporation manages and provides oversight for the Palm Harbor and East Lake Community libraries and Palm Harbor recreation programs.
Each appointee will serve a two-year term. Applicants must be registered voters and reside within the boundaries of either the Palm Harbor Community Services District or the East Lake Library Services District.
Interested parties should submit an application along with a brief biography or resume outlining their eligibility to serve. Applications should include education, work experience, civic or community organization memberships and positions, any professional licenses or memberships, and an explanation of how the applicant's background applies to the responsibilities of the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency.
County commissioners will review applications and make their selections at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
All applications must be received by the close of business on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Applications are available online and may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered by mail or in person to: Board of County Commissioners, Pinellas County Courthouse, fifth floor, 315 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.
Library cooperative taking applications
The Pinellas County Commission is accepting applications for two appointments to the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Inc., a nonprofit corporation responsible for providing library services to the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County and to those municipalities that do not have library services and improving library services. Each appointee will serve a three-year term.
The cooperative's functions include receiving and disbursing funds from federal, state and local sources and maintaining a shared library automation system.
Applicants must be registered voters and cannot be an employee or member of any governing body of a Pinellas County library.
Interested parties should submit an application and a brief biography or resume outlining their eligibility. Applications should include education, work experience, organization memberships and positions, an explanation as to how the applicant's background applies to the responsibilities of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative and more.
Email applications to email@example.com or deliver them by mail or in person to: Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, Pinellas County Courthouse, fifth floor, 315 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.