Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

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 [email protected] or (727) 445-4163.

Comments
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves he’s up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership.Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, of Pompan...
Updated: 3 hours ago