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Water projects priority in Dunedin

Water, sewer and drainage projects should take top priority this year when the city spends $1-million from the countywide 1-cent sales tax addition, commissioners agreed Thursday. With that in mind, Commissioner Tom Anderson asked that more money be allocated to replace leaky, corroded water pipes and replace an undersized water line to Honeymoon Island.

"We've had water problems for years," he said. "If water has to run through rusty pipes, the water coming out of the tap is not the way it should be."

County voters approved a penny tax increase last November. Officials said the city's share from the 10-year life of the tax should total $23-million.

Projects suggested by two city advisory committees include redesigning parking spaces on Main Street and buying five acres for a trash recycling facility site.

Commissioners will vote on the projects at a future meeting. But the idea of spending $300,000 for land to build a trash recycling facility didn't get much support Thursday.

Public Works and Utilities Director Bob Brotherton said building a facility would mean the city wouldn't have to haul trash to St. Petersburg. Other cities nearby also might want to recycle in Dunedin, he said.

"I strongly support the recycling effort, but I certainly don't want us to be known as the recycling capital of the world," Commissioner Mary Melton said. "I don't think it comes before water and drainage."

Anderson agreed.

"It's for a dump," he said. "I have trouble supporting that."

At their meeting following the workshop, commissioners decided to evaluate City Manager John Lawrence twice a year. Anderson also suggested commissioners determine whether to give Lawrence a merit raise partly depending on how well he is able to reduce the budget by a specific amount.

"The goals and objectives are in the city's budget every year," Melton said. Commissioners decided to encourage Lawrence to trim as much as he can.

In other business, commissioners were presented with a piece of the Berlin Wall by Thomas Watt, a member of the city's cable TV committee.

"The citizens who often complain about government here once in a while might remember that it could be worse," he said.

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