Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs commissioners show interest in starting a land preservation fund

TARPON SPRINGS — Recent land sales and rejection of a pricey property purchase put City Commissioner Jeff Larsen into planning mode.

Known as an environmentalist, Larsen recently pitched the idea of creating a land preservation fund to the City Commission. The proposal: Through an annual budget allocation or with proceeds from property sales, the city could set aside money for future purchases of land for conservation or recreation.

"I think we've got an opportunity here to do something very good for the city, to do the right thing for the environment, and I think we're doing it in a very proactive way," Larsen told the other commissioners.

A draft of the ordinance was discussed at a previous City Commission meeting. Officials largely supported the concept — "a worthy cause," Commissioner Townsend Tarapani called it — but some balked at carving money from the city's general operating fund to put toward the land preservation fund.

"Obviously, we just went through the budget and things are tight," said Commissioner Susan Slattery.

The draft suggested the city put $10,000 yearly into the fund, plus half of the profits from any city property sales. But officials said the contributions could be more flexible: For example, if the city sold a property, it could put a chunk of the proceeds in the land preservation fund to cover the year's $10,000 commitment.

"I know that right now is not our best time as far as dollars are concerned," said Mayor David Archie. "But we definitely want to continue to make sure that the fund is built up over a period of time."

The land preservation fund could also grow through sales of donated properties.

Still, it could take years, Larsen said, to build up the fund. Much of it depends on how many properties — if any — the city is able to sell.

The drafted ordinance draws from a similar procedure in Collier County, home to wildlife refuges and parts of the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve. It targets environmentally sensitive lands, but Tarpon commissioners are interested in broadening their ordinance to include recreational properties.

"Perhaps," Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos said during the discussion, "we can get a boat ramp someday, who knows?"

In 2011, the City Commission explored the 20-acre former Linger Longer mobile home park as a possible site for a boat ramp on the Anclote River. But commissioners twice decided against moving forward.

With an initial price tag of $4 million, buying the land would have consumed the city's funds for capital projects, officials said.

That outcome also sparked the idea of a land preservation fund, Larsen said, so the city could have accessible funds if similar opportunities arise.

Potential land purchases of more than $250,000 would still have to be approved by city voters in a referendum.

Though nothing has been scheduled yet, the commission may consider a revised ordinance soon. Larsen said he hopes to return to the issue before the 2012-2013 budget is approved this fall.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or swang@tampabay.com. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Tarpon Springs commissioners show interest in starting a land preservation fund 08/04/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 4, 2012 12:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  2. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs

    Crime

    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  3. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  5. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]