Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas sheriff revises savings for Clearwater to $10.8 million

CLEARWATER — Sheriff Jim Coats recently said he could save Clearwater $8.2 million a year by taking over law enforcement in the city.

Now he has an update.

Make that $10.8 million, he says. That's how much he says Clearwater would save next year if it disbands its Police Department and contracts with the Sheriff's Office instead.

Meanwhile, Clearwater officials, who are facing a $7.6 million budget shortfall next year because of declining property values, have a lot of questions about the sheriff's offer. They're asking for more details before the City Council tackles the issue.

This new wrinkle raises the stakes on what was already shaping up to be a big decision.

At the city's request, the sheriff has given Clearwater a breakdown of what it would cost for his agency to replace the Police Department, keeping the same number of patrol officers and detectives on duty in the city.

Coats previously said this would cost about $29.2 million a year compared to the Clearwater Police Department's $37.4 million budget. But now he says it would only cost $26.6 million.

Why the cheaper rate?

The sheriff says his earlier offer was based on conservative estimates of his expenses, and that his updated proposal uses new data for his employees' health insurance and pension costs.

To save the city money, Coats would eliminate some police supervisors and other staffers whose jobs he says are duplicated at the Sheriff's Office.

However, Clearwater police officials have questions about this scenario.

Police Chief Tony Holloway, who took over the department in February, sent the sheriff a number of questions. They include things like:

• Would the Clearwater officers and detectives be assigned solely to work cases in Clearwater, or would they be used to supplement the sheriff's work force throughout the county?

• How much would the sheriff charge for extra officers for special events like Jazz Holiday, Ironman and Turkey Trot?

• How would the sheriff handle the cost of maintaining police headquarters as well as insurance, computers and phones, among other expenses?

Once they know more, Clearwater staffers plan to bring this issue to the City Council at its May 17 work session and its May 20 public meeting.

However, city officials have started to get e-mails and phone calls from Clearwater residents asking them to keep the Police Department.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

Pinellas sheriff revises savings for Clearwater to $10.8 million 04/29/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 7:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Man taken into custody after live streaming drive along Clearwater Beach sand

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Clearwater Police took a man into custody Thursday afternoon after, they said, he drove his car over beach chairs and umbrellas along Clearwater Beach and streamed it on Facebook.

  2. Once trapped and wounded, manatee and calf return to the wild

    Wildlife

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The small crowd readied cameras and craned their necks, peering over heads and through bodies to try and catch a glimpse. Brittany Pharel, 10, wanted to see the hulking manatees, a mother and her calf, laid out on blue tarps Thursday along the edge of the Pithlachascotee River.

    Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo's associate veterinarian Lauren Smith, 33, examines the heart rate of a manatee calf named Cottee just before it was released into the waters of the Pithlachascotee River on Thursday. 
Cottee's mother Pascow was released at the same time in New Port Richey. 
The pair became stranded in May and the mother was found wounded. They needed to be rehabilitated before they could be released into open waters. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  3. Gov. candidate Chris King: Climate change is biggest threat to Florida's economy

    Blogs

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King today made his case for how economic growth and fighting climate change go hand in hand. His rivals for the Democratic nomination, Gwen Graham, …

    Winter Park businessman Chris King and his family
  4. Editorial: Buckhorn's proposed tax increase is too high for Tampa

    Editorials

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. With debt payments looming and another fire station opening in fast-growing north Tampa, the City Council needs to consider raising property taxes, especially with the prospect of another homestead exemption around the …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s proposed city budget for 2018 confronts some hard realities of the times. But it seems overly ambitious, and the City Council should be cautious about raising taxes too much in a single swoop.
  5. The next step in a sex abuse survivor's recovery: Erasing her tattoo

    Health

    TAMPA — Even after 20 years, Sufiyah can't escape the memories of being sexually exploited by gang members as a teenager.

    The tattoo makes it impossible.