Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Park officials decry plan that may end water district

PINELLAS PARK — Council members ripped into state representatives over their 9-2 vote to introduce a bill that would let residents decide to eliminate Pinellas Park Water Management District.

Council member Rick Butler took the first jab at the end of Thursday's City Council meeting, complaining about not getting a chance to speak at a meeting of the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation that morning.

"I was kind of taken aback as a representative of the city … (I) was not recognized and able to speak on the bill, and neither was anybody else," Butler said.

The water district was created in the mid 1970s to solve flooding issues in the area surrounding Pinellas Park. It's still completing at least one project on its original work plan, but has assumed other projects over the years. It collects about $6-million in property taxes from residents in areas of Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Kenneth City, unincorporated Lealman, and the unincorporated area that includes the Wagon Wheel Flea Market and the Bayou Club.

During the past few years, residents in those unincorporated areas have become increasingly vocal about the property taxes they pay to the district. They say they have paid for 35 years but have received no benefit. In some cases, they say they have actually been harmed by district projects. They have asked to be released from the district.

State Rep. Janet Long, D-Seminole, took up their cause when she was elected to the state House two years ago. A state study concluded that the district was about to finish its original mandate and should be dissolved. Long has since filed the bill that would force a referendum of taxpayers, asking them whether the water district should terminate in 2012.

The district itself and Pinellas Park, spearheaded by Butler, have been vocal about their opposition to the bill. They say eliminating the district will leave the city with the cost of upkeep.

And, Butler maintained that not having been able to speak at Thursday's meeting meant that legislators had not heard his concerns. However, the water management district has a lobbyist representing it, and Butler has contacted legislators to discuss the issue. And, as Mayor Bill Mischler said, "We're going to see the governor in two weeks."

Butler said that council members would be heading up to Tallahassee to lobby for getting rid of the bill.

"We're all working folks here and we have to take the time out and go up there and bang our heads against the wall of government just like you," Butler said Thursday.

Pinellas Park officials decry plan that may end water district 01/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 24, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.