Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County may ask you to do some chores

CLEARWATER — Utility bills could go up. Fees to enter parks and beaches could be added. And mowing right-of-way near roads could become the job of nearby homeowners instead of Pinellas County.

Officials are debating increasing fees and chores for residents to help balance the 2010 budget.

The County Commission could begin considering the changes in June to close an $85 million shortfall.

County Administrator Robert LaSala did not release details at a public work session Wednesday night, but the board likely would be asked to approve a law requiring the mowing and up to $5 entrance fees to Fort De Soto Park.

Higher permit costs for buildings and development could raise $600,000. That's in addition to a business occupational tax LaSala's aides are debating. That all could come with a decrease in county services, which officials say people would notice.

"The level of frustration in dealing with us will grow," LaSala said.

The county still needs to find $19.4 million in cuts, despite plans that would eliminate 746 jobs. A blanaced budget must be approved in September.

One target for debate: Sheriff Jim Coats offered to spend $32.8 million less next year, culling 265 jobs. But LaSala's staff said the sheriff is $17.7 million short of the requested cut to reach a goal of a 20 percent reduction.

The board itself has met off-camera twice recently to debate a 10 percent cut of $150,000 to its budget, voting to cut members' and staff pay 4 percent.

Commissioner John Morroni said Tuesday that he hasn't talked to anyone who thinks the board should cut aides; Commissioner Susan Latvala dissented.

"How can you look Bob (LaSala) and the rest of the department heads in the face after what they've had to do?" Latvala asked.

LaSala this week pared his office budget by a fifth, cutting four posts, including assistant county administrator Liz Warren's $162,400 a year job.

David DeCamp can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4167.

County may ask you to do some chores 05/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 21, 2009 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Florida has fourth-most competitive tax code


    Florida's tax code is the fourth most competitive in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by nonprofit group Tax Foundation.

    Florida has the fourth-most competitive tax code, a study by the Tax Foundation said. Pictured is  Riley Holmes, III, H&R Block tax specialist, helping a client with their tax return in April. | [SCOTT KEELER, Times]
  2. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American


    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.

  3. Fred Ridley on the Road to Augusta


    Last week, I sat down with Fred Ridley, the new chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters. Ridley, a lawyer who has resided in Tampa since 1981, was the 1975 U.S. Amateur champion and is the only Chairman to have played in the Masters. I wrote a long story on Ridley, but here are some of the other …

    Fred Ridley, looks on during the Green Jacket Ceremony during the final round of the 2017 Masters Tournament in April at Augusta National Golf Club.
  4. Tampa police link two shootings, tell Seminole Heights residents to avoid walking alone


    TAMPA — One was a 22-year-old African American man. The other was a 32-year-old white woman.

    "There are no clear connections between our two victims," Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said at a hastily called news conference Tuesday. "However our investigation leads us to believe the cases are related." [Photo from video]
  5. Pinellas Sheriff deputies T. Festa, left, and J. Short, righ,t arrest suspect Christopher Parsells, Pinellas Park, early Tuesday as part of a joint roundup of unlicensed contractors. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]