Two years ago, the voters of East Lake rejected proposals to tax themselves to pay for a new library and recreation programs. On Tuesday, the two proposals will come up again, and supporters hope the results will be different this time. The growing, affluent area east of Lake Tarpon has no library to call its own, and the Upper Pinellas Youth Sports Complex on Old Keystone Road is run by volunteers and financed with donations.
If the voters who live in what is officially designated the East Lake Tarpon Fire Control District approve the two referendum items on the ballot, that will change.
If the two taxes pass, the task of administering the money they raise would fall to an 11-member board to be appointed by the County Commission. Opponents of the taxes have criticized that arrangement because it would put tax money under the control of people who have not been elected.
There also have been questions about how quickly the library tax could raise enough money to pay for an East Lake library. But supporters have been negotiating with school officials to convert the library at East Lake High School into one the community can use.
Some people have asked whether East Lake property owners would have to pay the new taxes in addition to the tax that supports Pinellas County's countywide library cooperative. According to County Attorney Susan Churuti, the two new taxes would replace the cooperative tax for East Lake property owners.
Yet East Lake's more than 16,000 residents still would be part of the countywide cooperative if the library tax passes, said Bernadette Storck, administrator of the cooperative system.
_ CRAIG PITTMAN