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Tarpon says yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

Survey says . . . Yes.

Voters, who showed up at the polls in slightly larger numbers than expected, supported all five referendum questions put to them Tuesday.

"The citizens have spoken," said Mayor Anita Protos, decked out in her red, white and blue election socks for the occasion.

"The city will go forward with the blessing of the citizens," she said.

The most narrowly approved item was one that gives the city permission to buy a residential lot in the Trentwood Manor subdivision for not more than $100,000 and turn it into a minipark for children.

Voters approved the purchase 946 votes to 755. Protos said she thought some residents might have balked at the price.

But currently, the city's mobile recreation van has to close off one of Trentwood's streets so the kids have a place to play.

"It shows we're a community that raises its children, that loves its children, that provides for young people," Protos said of the vote.

Other items approved:

The city can allow exceptions to a charter section requiring certain employees to live in the city limits. The referendum allows department heads to be exempted for one-year periods from the residency requirement in cases of hardship.

The city can donate property in the Union Academy neighborhood to a non-profit agency for the development of low- to moderate-income housing. The referendum allows the city to give any of the seven lots it owns in the historically black neighborhood to Habitat for Humanity or any other housing organization for development.

The Tarpon Springs charter allows only five-year contracts, but voters agreed to let the city enter a 10-year contract with Variable Life Insurance Co. to administer the pension plan for city employees and another 10-year franchise agreement with GTE to provide cable service.

Of the 14,567 registered voters in Tarpon Springs, 1,733, or 11.9 percent, cast ballots Tuesday.

City Clerk Kathy Alesafis had hoped for at least a 10 percent turnout. The last special referendum in December, which dealt with property purchase and fireworks issues, attracted 9.8 percent of the voters.

"Everything was smooth," said Alesafis, who spent the day running between precincts with Deputy Clerk Dorothy Pappas. "We got a better turnout than I expected."


ITEM NO. 1: Amendment to charter on residency requirements for city employees. Yes: 1,057. No: 649.

ITEM NO. 2. Purchase of a lot in Trentwood Manor for a minipark. Yes: 946. No: 755.

ITEM NO. 3. Conveyance of lots in Union Academy neighborhood for low- or moderate-income housing. Yes: 1,126. No: 564.

ITEM NO. 5. Approval of a contract extension with Variable Life Insurance Co. to administer pension plan. Yes: 1,134. No: 541.

ITEM NO. 6. Approval of a 10-year franchise agreement with GTE Media Ventures for cable TV service. Yes: 1,223. No: 443.