DUNEDIN -- The city passed an audit of its new utility billing system with flying colors.
Last year, the city hired Water Company of America to review new guidelines established after the 2009 discovery that Dunedin had undercharged commercial users of stormwater, water and sewer lines, costing the city $2.2 million over seven years.
WCA general manager Steve Hooper told elected leaders this month that his firm's audit showed Dunedin has a good meter maintenance program and communication between its permitting and utility departments....
10/21/14 Real Estate
BELLEAIR — A single wing of the historic Belleview Biltmore will escape the wrecking ball and find new life as a renovated boutique hotel under a plan unveiled by the developer.
The revamped project comes months after St. Petersburg developer Mike Cheezem of JMC Communities announced that he intended to buy the long-shuttered resort from its South Florida owners for $6.6 million and redevelop the property with condos, townhomes and a small replica inn....
State House | District 65
The race to represent this northern Pinellas County district pits Republican political newcomer Chris Sprowls against Democratic one-term incumbent Carl Zimmermann. By Keyonna Summers, Times staff writer
Carl Zimmermann, 63, state representative Chris Sprowls, 30, assistant state attorney Party Democrat Republican Experience Zimmerman, a native New Yorker, has lived in Tampa Bay since 1984. A long career in advertising for companies then a small newspaper gave way to teaching television production, broadcast journalism and film program at Clearwater's Countryside High School. A bout with cancer sparked Zimmerman's political aspirations, which included an unsuccessful bid for state House in 1992. In 2004, the former Republican, feeling the party changed, switched to Democrat. He said he remains a fiscal conservative and moderate on social issues. Born in New York, Sprowls has lived in the Tampa Bay area since age 3. After surviving cancer during high school, Sprowls became a coordinator for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, among other volunteer work. The former national chair of the American Bar Association's student division has worked as a legislative intern for Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. Mike Bilirakis. Most of Sprowl's legal career is with the 6th Judicial Circuit Court, where he is a special prosecutor in the gang unit and director of the Veterans Treatment Court. Education Buffalo State College, master's and bachelor's degrees in education and English. University of South Florida, bachelor's degree in political science; Stetson University College of Law. Priorities Continuing to gain bipartisan support for a bill that eliminates the unjust taking of privately owned condos by investors. Delaying the use of unreliable Common Core tests in public schools. Eliminating the Duke Energy nuclear recovery tax and forcing Duke to return $3.2 billion already collected. Pursuing appointment to the insurance and banking committee in a bid to change how companies cover homeowners insurance. Jobs, education and veteran services. His top priority will be ensuring a robust economy that yields high-paying jobs for the community. "In order to achieve that goal, we must be able to provide parents with the opportunity to give their children a world-class education, with a special focus on math and science." Greenlight Pinellas Personally opposes because it wouldn't significantly benefit North Pinellas. He prefers a free bus system that circles through all downtowns. If Greenlight passes, he vows to file a bill to nix the tax authority it would replace, work with cities and PSTA on local free busing, and urge the state to help where needed. Personally opposes, but says the issue is best decided by voters. "I would like to see when the county revisits the Penny for Pinellas that transportation decisions can be better incorporated into existing revenue streams without creating new ones." Medical marijuana Supports. His sister, who died two years ago from breast cancer, was in great pain and unable to eat during her final six months. Marijuana significantly improved her quality of life. "I didn't want to see this as an amendment, but the Legislature might not act for decades and life doesn't wait." Opposes the current ballot language. "As the language is written, it is not just for those who are truly medically needy; it is marijuana on demand, for anyone, at any time, for anything, including children." Financial disclosure Assets: Home, land, car dealership, retirement accounts. Liabilities: Mortgage, business line of credit, credit card debt. Income: Teacher and state representative salaries. Assets: Savings and checking accounts, CD, retirement account, stocks, timeshare, household goods. Liabilities: Car loan, student debt. Income: Prosecutor's office salary. Fundraising $129,690 $289,482 Personal Married with two adult children, lives in Palm Harbor Single, lives in Palm Harbor Contact carlzimmermann.com; email@example.com chrissprowls.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Voters in this race will decide between two longtime city commissioners who often disagree on policy issues. Julie Scales, on the panel since 2003, is touting her experience and track record while Julie Ward Bujalski, elected in 2006, is pushing her deep community roots. The victor will lead a new commission majority elected automatically in June because of a lack of opposition. By Keyonna Summers, Times staff writer...
First the good news: Tomorrow through Monday, JC's Boutique is hosting a super awesome sale -- we're talking discounts of up to 75 percent off and even one day featuring a buffet-style all you can fit in your bag -- at its South Tampa location.
Which means by now that you've probably guessed the very bad news: The 1541 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. store is closing.
The bittersweet deets? Owner Cat Whitwell and her husband are moving up north for a sweet new work gig....
DUNEDIN| The city will train firefighters ahead of buying its first fire boat next year, but not before researching ways it can help improve the countywide response protocol for water emergencies.
Fire Chief Jeff Parks and City Manager Rob DiSpirito said fire crews have been pushing for the boat purchase for years. They said their months-long research was hastened by a September houseboat blaze which raged 35 minutes before a Clearwater vessel arrived with additional firefighting equipment and rescued people trapped on the marina dock....
10/09/14 Local Government
SAFETY HARBOR — City commissioners are working as fast as they can to protect trees.
Elected leaders told city staffers Monday to start drafting language for a moratorium on tree removal while they finish work on an ordinance that strengthens existing tree protection rules. The moratorium would expire April 1 unless the new tree ordinance is passed sooner.
The proposed ban comes amid protests over last month's removal of 14 trees by the privately owned Safety Harbor Resort and Spa to make way for a parking lot....
BELLEAIR — A town advisory board recommended via a 5-1 vote Tuesday that town commissioners approve a developer’s push to tear down the former Belleview Biltmore hotel and redevelop the property into a replica inn, condos and townhomes.
For nearly six hours, Belleair’s Historic Preservation Board heard testimony from witnesses for developer JMC Communities; Friends of the Belleview Biltmore, a preservation advocacy group that opposes redevelopment; and residents who spoke both for and against JMC’s application....
SAFETY HARBOR| The city has called an emergency meeting for 6 p.m. Monday to consider a possible moratorium on tree removal while commissioners finish work on an ordinance that strengthens its existing tree protection law.
The meeting, to be held at City Hall, comes amid protests over last week's removal of about a dozen trees by the privately-owned Safety Harbor Resort and Spa to make way for an improved parking lot....
Anyone who knows me can be sure of two things: I love both September (the entire 30 days of which I claim for my month-long birthday celebration) and autumn (Florida sunshine mixed with a break from the unrelenting summer heat).
So of course you know I just HAD to bring in the first day of fall in style.
Today's shoutout goes to the Ann Taylor Outlet store in Ellenton, which I visited for the first time on Labor Day....
A stationary front that dumped a glut of rain on the Tampa Bay region since Friday has left in its wake flooded roads, a sewer line break, collapsed roofs and at least one submerged car.
First the bad news: Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay said the wet stuff will hang around for at least a couple more days.
The good news? This pattern, typical for Florida's rainy season, might break as Saturday nears and potentially brings with it the usual cold fronts and drier air associated with autumn....
CLEARWATER — A drunken driver speeding down rain-slicked U.S. 19 in the Countryside area struck a vehicle which burst into flames Saturday night, shutting down a mile-and-a-half stretch of the road for several hours, authorities said.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the crash happened about 9:20 p.m.
Officials say Robert Nelligan, 36, of Tampa was speeding north on U.S. 19 when the southbound Temitope Babalola, 35, of St. Petersburg made a U-turn in front of him near Estancia Boulevard....
DUNEDIN| The public is invited to submit questions for city and county commission candidates who will participate in a forum Wednesday at the Hale Center, 330 Douglas Ave.
The forum — hosted by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce — will include:
• Dunedin mayoral candidates Julie Ward Bujalski and Julie Scales.
• County Commission District 2 candidates Pat Gerard and Ed Hooper.
• County Commission District 4 candidates Dave Eggers, Carl Folkman, Marcus Harrison and Mark Weinkrantz....
This lass recently got new glasses and, despite there being what appeared to be an awesome and totally Diva-like BOGO Free deal, I ended up shelling out nearly $500.
You already know. The Deal Diva in me complained about the cost. I denounced the lack of selection, which meant I ended up with one frame I wasn't the most fond of. I used all kinds of words unbecoming a family publication.
But alas! A coworker heard my (foul-mouthed) plea....