Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas County sheriff: Homeless shelter must be funded

To keep running the homeless shelter he set up nearly two years ago, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri dipped into his budget this year, made cuts elsewhere, and came up with $1.6 million.

But the process was painful, and one he would prefer not to repeat in 2014, he said Tuesday in a presentation to the Pinellas County Commission. A year from now, Gualtieri said he hopes to have enough private and grant funding for Safe Harbor to pull back on his agency's contribution.

Opened in January 2011 in a building near the county jail in Largo, Safe Harbor has its share of skeptics, but many city and county officials have come to view it as essential. Without it, Gualtieri and others argue, about 400 homeless people would be on the streets or in jail for minor offenses.

But who will pay for Safe Harbor, and how much Pinellas' 24 cities should contribute, is an ongoing debate. Beyond September 2013, the 400-bed shelter's funding is again an open question.

"I would prefer not to put that $1.6 million in again, or all of it," Gualtieri said. "But the reality is, if we can't find funding this year, I'm going to put it in the 2014 budget."

Without the shelter, Gualtieri said he would need to open two housing units at the jail to house the homeless who had previously lived at Safe Harbor. He said that could cost $4.5 million.

In the past, 16 of the county's 24 cities have contributed to Safe Harbor. And some, such as Clearwater, which sends more people to the shelter than any other city, plan to increase their contributions. But at most, Gualtieri said he anticipates receiving about $300,000 from the cities.

"I would expect the cities to ante up and help the county to fund this going forward," Commissioner Ken Welch said Tuesday. "I think the cities have been on board with that, but we need to see the checks."

Comments
Passenger out of jail after street-racing crash that killed mother on Bayshore Boulevard

Passenger out of jail after street-racing crash that killed mother on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — One of the two brothers accused in the street racing death of a 24-year-old Ohio woman was released on bail early Thursday morning while police continue to investigate the crash along Bayshore Boulevard.Tristan Christopher Herrin, 20, a passe...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — The two cars raced each other along Bayshore Boulevard just before noon, witnesses told police. One was a black 2018 Mustang. The other a gold Nissan. They sped side-by-side, trading the lead, police said, despite the traffic and pedest...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from Tampa cruise

The Coast Guard announced Wednesday night that it has suspended the search for a man who was reported to have gone overboard from a cruise ship that left Tampa.Officials aboard the Carnival Paradise told the Coast Guard on Tuesday morning that Brian ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Sinkhole opens up near Bayfront Health’s Brooksville hospital

BROOKSVILLE — A large sinkhole opened up by Bayfront Health Brooksville hospital in a water retention pond between State Road 50 and the hospital’s parking lot, according to a hospital spokeswoman.The sinkhole poses no threat to hospital buildings, e...
Published: 05/23/18
Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

CLEARWATER — A months-long probe into abuse of sick leave within the fire department concluded this week with the resignation of a deputy chief and the release of an internal review.The city paid $93,816 in unearned or unauthorized sick time, benefit...
Published: 05/23/18
Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

Wrong-way driver, 87, dies in head-on collision, FHP says

BROOKSVILLE— An 87-year-old wrong-way driver died Tuesday night when she collided head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 8:50 p.m. on Sunshine Grove Road near Webster Street.Patri...
Published: 05/23/18
FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

FDLE: Victim in $480,000 scam is heiress to Wrigley gum fortune

A woman state authorities say was scammed out of $480,000 by two of her employees is an heiress to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Tuesday that the victim in the case is Helen Rich, 69, formerly Hel...
Published: 05/23/18
Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

Carlton: Lowering the American flag for the newly dead at school — again

In a scene repeated at public buildings across the country, the American flag in front of the library outside my office window was lowered to half-staff this week.This time for 10 dead in Texas.In February, the American flag was similarly half-staff ...
Published: 05/23/18