Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Palm Harbor Library decries budget woes

Cutbacks in staff and operating hours, an inability to purchase new books, and limiting special programs are three examples of struggles that Palm Harbor Library director Gene Coppola has reckoned with in recent years.

With its main source of support coming from Pinellas County, the library has seen budget cuts for five years in a row. For the upcoming fiscal year of 2013, officials have already let it be known that it won't be any different.

"The county has already told us the 2013 budget would need to be decreased by 4 percent,'' Coppola said. "It's not that I don't understand the economic difficulties, but frankly, as you continue to do more with less, anybody, in any job, whether it's in the public or the private sector, will begin to feel the stress."

And that is why next Thursday, when Coppola attends a work session with the Pinellas County Commission to discuss his 2013 budget, he'll request that the local property tax rate go back to its original one-half mill for library and recreation services in Palm Harbor.

"This would mean about $93,000 a year would come into the library, and another $93,000 to the recreation department,'' Coppola said.

In 1985, residents of unincorporated Palm Harbor voted to tax themselves so they could receive library and recreation services. An appointed board of residents, called the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency, was set up to govern the two departments. At that time, voters agreed to a tax of one-quarter mill for library services and one-quarter mill for parks and recreation.

One-quarter mill raises 25 cents in tax on every $1,000 of taxable property value. Under that rate, a resident with a home with a taxable value of $100,000 after all exemptions would pay $25 for library services and $25 for recreation services each year.

However, in 2007, the county commission lowered the total millage rate from .50 to .4378.

Do the county commissioners have the authority to increase it once again?

They can, according to Barry Lupiani, one of the Pinellas County budget managers. "It was lowered when the Florida Legislature issued a mandate for rollbacks,'' he said. "And yes, the commission does have the power to do that.''

Erica Lynford, who took her post as director of Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation one year ago, also plans to attend the work session. She will join Coppola in making the request.

"Nobody likes to hear about higher taxes, but I don't think taxpayers ever have really understood what receiving the full millage rate would mean. It would mean that for $1 to $2 each month, residents would receive the benefits they deserve,'' she said. "And I am one of the taxpayers I'm talking about because I live here in Palm Harbor.''

Piper Castillo is reachable at pcastillo@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4163.

Palm Harbor Library decries budget woes 05/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  3. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum

    Hurricanes

    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  5. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar

    Blogs

    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.